Short Essay on Indian Martial Art- 'Thoda' (350 Words)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

'Thoda' is martial art form of Himachal Pradesh, India relies on one's talent with the bow and arrow. The name 'Thoda' is derived from the round piece of wood fixed to the head of the arrow. Its history is traced back to the days of Mahabharata when bows and arrows were used in the epic battles between the Pandavas and the Kauravas while residing in the beautiful valleys of Kulu and Manali. Thus, this martial art has its origins in Kulu. The equipment required for this game are bows and arrows.

In Himachal Pradesh, in the olden days, the game of Thoda was organized in a very interesting way. A handful of village folks would go to another village and throw tree leaves into the village well before sunrise. They would then hide in the bushes nearby, just outside the village. As soon as the villagers came to draw water the youths would shout and challenge them for a fight.

Held on Baisakhi Day, the competition is a mixture of martial art, cultural event and sport. Community prayers are organized to invoke the blessings of the Gods. The archers are divided into teams called Saathi and Pashi. The archers in this game have to aim at the leg region, below the knee.

On reaching the village fairground, both the teams dance on either side of the ground. Both the opponents face each other at a distance of about 10 meters and prepare to attack. Very quick and easy movements are the only methods of defence. The whole competition is conducted to the lively rhythm of war dance with one side furiosly sidestepping, legs kicking in all directions, and other side doing its best to place an arrow on the target . There are minus points for a strike on the wrong parts of the leg.

Presently, the game is played in a marked court, which ensures that a certain degree of discipline is maintained in Thoda- a happy blend of culture and sport. 
 

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