Thang-ta is an ancient form of martial arts that originated in Manipur. It originated because of the war atmosphere that prevailed in Manipur during the olden days. This form of martial art came into being for safeguarding the people’s lives and rights during wartime. The term “Thang-ta” means the “art of the sword and spear”. The term Thang-ta is formed of two terms, thang meaning “sword” and ta meaning “spear”. Thang-ta symbolizes the great heroism that has been prevailing in Manipur since the olden times. Thang-ta is the perfect blend of breathing methods, meditation, and rituals.
The unarmed component of Thang-ta is Sarit Sarak. It is generally taught after a person gains expertise over sword and spear fighting. Sarit Sarak teaches the footwork and handwork required for performing Thang-ta in the most proper way. This art form is performed on special occasions or under special situations. For instance, there is a spear performance that is performed during funerals. The most popular one is the ritual spear dance performed by King Bhagyachandra during his exile when there was an invasion by the Burmese. It is believed that the spear performance drove the Burmese out of the borders of Manipur.
Thang-ta has played an important role in developing a binding force among the Manipuris. It gave them the strength and courage to fight for their rights and preserve their integrity and rich culture. Today, Thang-ta has gained a lot of popularity in Manipur and there are many institutes providing training for the same. It has yet to gain popularity in the whole of India.