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The Art of Angam Fighting

Angam Poraya was a dual fighting system which practiced in the days of ancient kings in our country. This can be recognized as a war-related entertaining game that was demonstrated before the king. In this dual fight or game, two persons fight each other till one get injured or died. However, in present day, the art of Angam fight has been institutionalized in the society. This fighting system which exhibits cultural and historical values is a good evidence for traditional skills in relation to fighting. This art was nurtured and cultured in the society through different schools. (Gurukula)

In ancient times, the Angampora or Angam game was trained by two different parties. They were namely “Maruwalliya” and “Sudhaliya’’. The trainees of the two schools fought each other. The leaders of these two schools were popular as Maruwalliya Muhandiram Nilame and Sudhalaye Muhandiram Nilame. In a poetry titled ‘’Salakuna’’ published in the first half of the 17th century, a description on Angampora, held at Pallewala in Senkadagala has been given. The description is as follows.

  • Gambim pinisa avidin eka rasiyata
  • Nam gam kiya kiya ununun wega kota
  • Angampora haritha pera sebalun evata
  • Angam madilen eli basu wee sathuta

In some cases, Angam pora were held in deep holes. (wells)

As stated in the ancient astrological writings in the country, leaving for Angam pora was made at auspicious time. However, it is believed that the fatel Angampora later became a normal item of art. There was a religious and royal background in the performance of Angampora in the past. For example, wooden sculpture at Embekke Devalaya and Angam related clothes at Hanguranketha Devalaya can be cited. There are historical evidences in relation to Angampora in the paintings and sculpture at Gadaladeniya Rajamaha Viharaya, Sri Dalada Maligawa, Saman Devalaya at Ratnapure and Lankathilaka Rajamaha Viharaya.

According to the evidences in folktales, sculpture, and paintings in the past, Angampora is to be believed as a fighting system that has been evolved culturally from the past. Therefore, the Ministry of Cultural Affairs and the Arts, which is mandatory for preserving the traditional arts, has already taken measures to conserve Angampora fighting methods. Under the direction of Mr. T.B.Ekanayake, Hon. Minister of Cultural Affairs and the Arts and the supervision of Mr.Wimal Rubasinghe, Secretary of the Ministry, a public show on Angampora was held at the Janakala Kendraya, Battaramulla on 26th August 2011. This kind of performing art is timely important. The Siv Hela Jathika Angam Shilpa Kala Sammelanaya (National Level Organization on Angampora) has contributed for this event and it is an appreciable trend with respect to preservation of traditional art of Angampora for future generations.


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