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Thang-ta or huyen lallong is a weapon-based Indian martial art created by the Meitei of Manipur. In the Manipuri language, thang means sword and ta means spear. As its name implies, the sword and spear are the primary weapons in thang-ta. The spear can be used in its non-missile form while in close or thrown from afar. Other weapons used include the shield and axe.
Because of Manipur's cultural similarity, geographic proximity and ethnic ties with Myanmar, thang-ta is closely related to banshay. Both can be practiced in three different ways: ritual, demonstration and combat. The first way is related to the tantric practices and is entirely ritualistic in nature. The second way consists of a spectacular performance involving sword and spear dances. These dances can be converted into actual fighting practices. The third way is the true combat application.
The earliest record of thang-ta and its sibling Sarit Sarak dates back from the early 17th century. Warriors would arrange to fight one-on-one as a way of settling feuds or disputes. The day before a duel, fighters might eat dinner together. While thang-ta involves using weapons against one or more opponents, Sarit Sarak is the art of fighting empty-handed against armed or unarmed opponents, but on many occasions there is a combined approach to the training of these two systems. They were used with great success by the Manipuri kings to fight against the European colonists. Martial arts were banned during the British occupation of the region,since it was used to train the freedom fighter to fight against the Britishers, but the 1950s saw a resurgence of the traditional fighting forms. Today thang-ta is the most popular of Meitei martial arts, practiced by both men and women. It is most often seen through demonstrations in cultural programs.
In the recent years this art has been promoted as a sport all over India and also as a self defence tactical subject. Every year Thang-Ta competitions are held at school, district, state and national level. The promotion of Thang-ta as a sport helped in the cause of its promotion and spread from Manipur to the Whole of India, particularly Jammu&Kaskmir. Today Manipur and Jammu&Kashmir are the two Strong contenders at the National level. In 2009, Gurumayum Gourakishor Sharma, a leading exponent and teacher of thang-ta, received the high Padma Shri honor award from the Indian Government for his contributions to the preservation and advancement of the art.
See also 
- ^ a b  Manipur Page
- ^ Manipur martial art guru gets Padmashri, 2009-01-28, retrieved 2009-07-24, "... Gurumayum Gourakishore Sharma, who is well-known for his invaluable contribution in the field of thang-ta, the traditional martial art, has been conferred the prestigious Padmashri award ..."
- ^ "Guru G. Gourakishor, the master of Manipuri martial art form", AndhraNews.net, 2009-04-24, "... Guru G. Gourakishor Sharma was recently conferred the coveted Padamshree award for 2008-2009 to honour his lifetime contribution to Manipuri Martial Art, Thang-Ta ..."
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