Grand Master (Aasan), Performer, International Referee and Coach Born in 1976, Jothi Senthil Kannan originates from Pondicherry, South India, where he has practised Silambam and Kuthuvarisai since the age of five. Initiated into these ancient Tamil martial arts by his paternal grandfather, Jothi has established himself as one of the most accomplished disciples of Silambam in India, and indeed the world, by pursuing a rigorous training routine and disciplined lifestyle. Based in Pondicherry, he frequently visits East Asia and Europe, where Silambam has become more appreciated. In 2004 and 2005 he performed at the prestigious International Festival of Martial Arts, Bercy, Paris, the only Indian national to do so. Jothi is the President and Founder of the International Silambam and Kuthuvarisai Federation; a national coach and referee of Silambam for Pondicherry State, the Indian Silambam Federation, and the Pondicherry Pankration Athlima Association.
In addition to teaching and performing martial arts, Jothi is a medical practitioner of the ancient Indian art of Siddha healing. He is registered with the Indian Board of Alternative Medicines, which is recognised by The United Nations University for Peace and The Open International University. Jothi now divides his time between his home in Pondicherry, and Singapore, where he also teaches, performs, and practises Siddha
Silambam and Kuthuvarisai are among the most ancient forms of martial art originating from Tamil Nadu, South East India. Archaeological research in the region has confirmed the use of weapons of war for this martial art from earliest times. Silambam formed the basis of the art of Kung Fu, carried overseas by Buddhist monks who travelled frequently between India and China. Tamil literature indicates that the ancient Greeks made excursions to this region of India in order to purchase weapons used for Silambam.
Silambam remains a deeply traditional art form of Tamil Nadu. It is passed down from master to student through years of rigorous daily practice. Today, young disciples remain under the constant guidance of their guru, as they practise to achieve physical balance and the perfect mastery of body and space. Among many of the techniques learnt are the natural mimicry of animal movements, namely, the cat, cock, monkey, snake
and tiger. Ancient weapons of war have evolved into weapons of display, with skilled exponents of the art employing swords, knives, animal horns, fire and bamboo sticks to dazzling effect. Silambam also incorporates elements of folk dance whereby sinuous movement is combined with determined rhythmic cycles. Percussion instruments such as the ‘Pombai’ and ‘Udukkai’ are often played to accompany demonstrations of this ancient martial art.