What is Angampora
“Angampora” is a unique martial art formed in ancient Sri Lanka thousand years ago which believe king Rawana practiced it 5000 years ago and some believe its older more. However it’s hard to find the exact origin time of Angampora. Sri Lankan Sinhala tele drama “Dhadubasnamanaya” by Jayantha Chandrasiri is shown the fightS between two Angam clans.
Ancient documents, Wargapurnikawa and Pancha Rakkawalliya describe the history of Angampora. According to many historic documents, carvings and drawings, fighters who were trained and expert in Angampora used in wars by the Sri Lankan kings. As per Mahawansya Script, king Dutugemunu had an army of Angam fighters in the war against King Elara. Olden Sri Lanka had two main clans which practiced Angampora, The Sudhaliya and Maruwalliya. Maruwalliya was responsible to protect Sacred Tree of Buddha from various threats, Specialy in the era of king Elara in Anuradhapura.
The traditional hand to hand combat is practiced in a specially designed place called “Angam Maduwa”. As a tradition Angampora rehearsal is done in the places where used to practice it by ancient clans.
Pic credit -https://roar.media/
British ban on Angam
Though in the British colonial period, the traditional Sinhalese martial art ran into a dark and almost lost as English Governor Robert Brownrigg imposed extreme rules to ban the practice of Angampora. In 1817 and 1818 in the great liberation war against English government, Angam warriors were one of the major challenges against English army. English army started hunting down the Angam Gurus (teachers) and imprisoning and burnt the Angam Madu and Ola written. However Ceylonese decamped in jungles to secretly practice the art till 1948.
This Sinhalese martial art combines Meditation, practice and exercise. Sinhalese practiced Angampora as a self-defense technique too which divided into three main disciplines, Nerve point attack (Maru Kala), Locks and Grips ( Gataputtu ) and Strikes and Block (Pora Haraba). This unique art uses indigenous armaments such as knife, sword, ethunu kaduwa, and staves for its combat and martial art techniques. According to The experts more than fifty weapons used in Angampora.
Related to Angampora practices it covered main six areas, the Angampora (unarmed combat), Ilangampora (armed combat), Maya Angam (Black and White majic), Herbal medicine and astrology, Drumming and Dancing.
To protect Angampora for the future generation many associations and training schools were formed in late 1900 with and without government sponsorship. STIMA – Sri Lankan Traditional Indigenous Martial Art Association by Guru Piumal Edirisinghe in Athurugiriya is a place where collaboration of gurus from various clans.
Pic credits – https://www.dailymirror.lk/