Il faut cultiver notre jardin. (Translation: We must cultivate our garden)
At KalariLab HQ, on Koh Phangan island (Thailand), we (Adam, pi) train daily.
Thailand has however responded vigourously to the CoViD19 outbreak, laying out a set of groundrules. While these strict measures are laudable, one of them prohibits the use of public training spaces, which includes the Yoga shala we have been using.
On Monday we arrived to see a government notice pinned to the door threatening a fine of B100k (~$3k) for any violation.
What to do?
Sitting on the Veranda, looking out to the garden, Adam envisioned a Kalari pit in the shade between two trees, backing onto the garden wall.
We have both trained together in the KKA (Kannur Kalarippayatt Academy) pit in India. Here it is:
Instantly it made sense.
The ground was on a slope with leaves banked against the far wall, but we figured we could terraform it with a few hours of digging (our landlady offered us a bladed pickaxe).
The big question was the quality of the soil: would it be suitable? The surface was a stony rubble, and offered little promise. However digging down a few inches we were delighted to strike a clay-rich substrate.
Insipred by this finding, we made a start that evening, going at it hammer and tongs. Within an hour we were both puffed and blistered and were forced to called it a day.
The next day we bought in a couple of Burmese workers, who toiled for four hours. They did a fine job, flattening, de-stoning and raking the ground. They each asked only B120 (£3) an hour, which we happily doubled, throwing in a couple of bottles of chilled coca-cola to boot for their efforts.
And here’s the result:
There was still just about enough light to christen our new Kalari by live-streaming an evening training on Facebook, which was watched live by 250 viewers. You can watch it yourself here
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Thailand’s first Kalari pit: an innovative response to CoViD19 restrictions