Parichhamuttumkali (shield-hitting dance) is another dance which is performed by both the Hindus and the Muslims. The dancers hold a stick and a shield in their hands. Most probably in earlier days dancers used sticks in the dance instead of swords. The training of this dance is much similar to that of the Kalaripayettu. The dance is similar to Kolkali, but the songs are different and are sung to the rhythm provided only by the cymbals. The performers strike stick against stick or stick against shield. The deep bends and body extension required in the performance, as also the leaps and turns, have great similarity with those of Kalaripayettu.
It is interesting to note that not only Hindus, but Muslims and Christians also learn and perform Kalaripayettu as well as some of the dances mentioned above. For instance, the Kolkali dance is performed by both Hindus and Muslims. It is a vigorous dance in which dancers wield two feet long sticks and move in circular formation attacking and defending with the sticks. While dancing they sing particular songs in a lusty folk style. The songs are called Bhadarmuni Pattukal, ie. Sword fighting Songs. Generally, middle aged men, who have perfected the techniques participate in the dance. The group consists of twelve to twenty dancers. Small cymbals and smaller kind of Chenda, the drum provide the percussion music for the dance.
In Kerala the basic martial art is called Kalaripayettu. The influence and elements of this martial tradition are found in many dances and theater forms of Kerala. In some forms of dance and theater the elements of Kalaripayettu is obvious, in others though not so evident, it is not also totally transformed. Kerala had a very long and rich martial tradition. The heroic warrior displayed prowess, heroism, courage and other traits display the ethos that shaped Kalaripayettu and it became a dominant aspect of medieval Kerala culture. The main aspects of this martial art are: (a) A distinctive kind of oil massage of the whole body to make it supple and extremely pliable. (b) Typical exercises to make the body stronger and pliable. (c) Practicing some yoga – like postures named after animals like horse, cat, elephants etc (d) Wielding of weapons like sword, shield, spear, etc, together with the techniques of attack and defense with appropriate stepping, jump, turn etc.
These aspects, either all of them or partly, are found in several forms of dance and theatre including Kathakali, the classical theatre form of Kerala. Some of the main dances that evolved out of Kalaripayettu are : Kolkali, Parichhamuttumkali, Velakali, Oachirakali and Yatrakali.
The frame drum dance of Kerala, called Tappumelakkali is performed by communities, such as, Vettuvar, Ezhava, Parayan, and Cherumakkal. In this dance two kinds of drums are played : Tappu, the flame drum , and Chenda, a cylindrical drum with two faces but played on one face with lean sticks by slinging it vertically from the neck. Generally, the number of Tappus is three times that of the Chendas. Usually, the group consists of four Chendas and twelve Tappus. The frame drum is played with a short but thick stick.
At some places in the district of Malappuram, Poothamkali is performed, especially by the dancers belonging to the Mannan community. The Mannans are basically washer men, but they do also practice indigenous medicine. Three dancers are required to present Poothamkali. They wear wooden masks made out of the wood of Pala and Muruku trees. These masks are also highly stylized and colorful. The dancers wear a right fitting sash and tie jingle bells (ghungroo) on their ankles. The dancer who represent Pootham has to undergo some austerities for seven days. It has also elements of theatre.