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Nata is a martial art form in which finger movements, taken from an ancient Indian dance, are used alongside yogic movements.Although little is known about the art today, it is quite likely that it included finger - and wristlocking manoevresand weapons disarms based on joint locks and pain-compliance techniques.

The practitionersof ancient Indian dance possessed a good understanding of the physiological make-up of the joints, in particular the arms, hands, and fingers as these types of movements were stressed in ancient Indian dance. It is likely that the arts were included in other ancient Indian martiak arts such as weapon forms and grappling sports. In the 3rd century BCE, the autho Patanjali wrote the Yoga Sutras, the ancient foundational text of Yoga.

These yogic elements, as well as finger movements in the Nata dances were incorporated into various martial arts. Futhermore, there are several references in early historical Buddhist texts such as the Lotus Sutra, written in the 1st centuryCE, which refer to Indian martial arts of boxing and, in particular, techniques of joint locking, fist strikes, grapples and throws.

Although the subject of speculation among historians, it is possible that these elements describe the evolution of hand movements and locking techniques from the early Nata dances into later martial-art forms.

The depiction of Shiva, one of the principle deities of Hinduism, as Nataraja ("Lord Of The Dance") is the inspiration for Nata.




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