Kottayam: Switzerland native Natalie Nicholas's love for Kalari crossed beyond countries and reached Kerala.
Being a Kalarippayattu exponent, Natalie has started a Kalari (traditional school to teach Kalarippayattu) at Mannanam near Neendoor in Kerala's Kottayam.
The first batch would be initiated into the martial art form at 6 am on the auspicious day of Vijayadashami on October 26. The training is for women and girls.
The building has been constructed in the model of traditional Kuzhi Kalari (pit arena).
Natalie is the wife of Neendoor native CP Rajesh. Natalie suffered from back pain and asthma right from her childhood days. Interestingly, doctors in Switzerland suggested Kalari treatment. Natali reached CVN Kalari at Kaduthuruthy in 2005. It is here that she got acquainted with Rajesh, who was a student at the CVN Kalari.
They got married in 2007 and settled down in Switzerland. Natalie, who trained along with Rajesh, started a Kalari centre in Switzerland. She is now in Neendoor and practices Kalari regularly.
Rajesh will continue to be in Switzerland to manage the centre there.
Natalie returned to Kottayam along with her four-year-old son Adithyan two months ago. Natalie's father Dr Heins Nicholas is also planning to reach Kottayam soon. Her mother Maria is no more.
Natalie says that practising Kalari is good for women to increase immunity and fitness. “I am most proficient in using Ottakol. This is more dangerous than any sharp weapon. When other armed forms have just 12 techniques (adavu), Ottakol has 18 techniques,” she explained.