Jon Burtt

Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - ECU Access Only


Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Master of Arts (Creative Arts)


Faculty of Education and Arts


Mallakhamb is the name given to a little known style of physical culture practiced in India. It is mix of wrestling strength training and yoga postures practiced in pole and rope forms. Mallakhamb originally developed in the state of Maharashtra in India and was practiced to develop strength, agility and flexibility. Mallakhamb has now developed into a sport with championships held annually at district state and national levels.

This thesis has four main goals: 1) to present a detailed analysis of the training elements of mallakhamb - the apparati, the training methods, techniques and where it is practiced in India; 2) to examine the intersections between and the convergence of different influences which have led to the development of contemporary mallakhamb; 3) to investigate mallakhamb’s current position as a sport and its emerging relationship to contemporary arts practice in India, and its relationship to my own work; and 4) to present a possible future of mallakhamb.

Research material has been sourced from my own notes and video documentation on location in India, from web based video documentation, and historical references to the main influences that have led to the development of mallakhamb.

I will conclude that through these influences mallakhamb has emerged as a hybrid physical practice - an embodiment of ancient Indian wrestling forms, which have merged with yoga and then been heavily influenced by British colonial competitive sports. I will argue that contemporary mallakhamb exhibits a hybridity that continues to evolve today.

LCSH Subject Headings

Edith Cowan University. Faculty of Education and Arts. Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts -- Dissertations

Dance -- India



Paper Location