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ANGAMPORA – a revitalized martial art form

Hailing from the sunny island of Sri lanka, an ancient, almost forgotten martial art known as Angampora still exists. It uses self-defence, combat techniques, sport, exercise and meditation as part of its practice. Angampora is distinct and known for permanently paralyzing and inflicting pain through the use of pressure point attacks. Use of weapons is discretionary and in most cases the boundaries of the fight are predefined before combat begins.

Sri Lankan folklore traces Angampora as far back as 3,000 years ago, with the Yaksha tribe, one of the ancient tribes that inhabited the island, as the originators of this art form.

During times of war in ancient times, elite warriors were equipped with sophisticated body armors that gave them protection from lethal weapons such as arrows, swords, and spears. Heavier, more complex types of armor were reserved for the most senior of fighters, and regular soldiers were clad in lighter armor.

This collection highlights some of the body armor used during combat.

  1. Kathi Hangale 

This is a special vestment with several layers of specially treated cloth to withstand whacks and piercing lunges of the sharpest sword. Over it is worn a water seasoned leather jacket that can stop a jabbing arrow. As you can see this armor is forged with multiple minerals – leather, gold, silver, and jewels in the crown. Only selected elite warriors were given the right to wear such armor in battle.

The uncommon sword, known as ‘Angam-ketta,’ was also  used to attack both people as well as defend and attack Elephants to keep them at bay.

Creator

Name: Reza Akram

Story:

A professional documentary photographer and TV film producer, Reza’s breakout work – ‘Angampora.’ was crafted as a statement project. It was initially created to ‘light the spark’ in raising the cultural awareness towards the lost martial art form in Sri Lanka. However, what happened next was that it was heralded by some of the most recognized Sri Lankan Academics as an anthropology piece – made visual. His work was then picked up by the Huffington Post and gained international traction and is translated into 35+ different languages. Today, it is being catalogued by UNESCO as both oral and visual historical records for validated visual history in the art of Angampora.

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