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Sword-wielding Indian granny keeps ancient martial art alive

'Kalari' fighting skills attract a new generation over social media

At 79 years old, Meenakshi Amma, right, remains a feisty proponent and practitioner of Kalaripayattu, an ancient Indian martial art. She is pictured here at her training center in the southern Indian state of Kerala. (Photo by Adithya Govind)

VADAKARA, Kerala -- Seated in her mud and tiled-roof training center filled with swords, shields, daggers and spears hanging on the walls, Meenakshi Amma, a grandmother and master swordswoman, is a picture of poise and equanimity. In a corner of the spacious, high-ceilinged room with slit windows, a few students -- mainly young women -- are practicing martial art moves with wooden staffs.

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