A vengeful and powerful goddess that embodies the dark and destructive side of the female. Kali is often portrayed sticking out her tongue, which shows aggression. She is also often portrayed kicking some serious butt. It is important to remember that she is not a villain. Kali could send avatars out of her forehead to kill her enemies and drink their blood.

This destructive quality is part and parcel of the essence of feminity; the creator/mother is the destroyer. It's all cyclical. This feminine power is called shakti, and male gods were nothing without it, which is why they either have pronounced feminine aspects (Siva) or a constant female companion, or both.

Kali was probably the basis for the (ridiculously inaccurate - but it's just a movie, yah?) goddess religion in Indiana Jones in the The Temple of Doom. Whatever that may imply.

The flipside of ideath's description is that Kali is only a dark, single form of Parvati--Shiva's constant consort. In Hindu polytheism, all goddesses are in fact manifestations of Devi--The Great Goddess, despite their varying powers and characters. While shakti is essential for a male Hindu god to act, it is important to remember that the goddess relinquishes all of her power to the male god when she unites with him. Also, it deserves note that single goddesses often must use their powers to serve the gods. In one myth, Durga--an alternate form of Kali, was created by the gods in order to defeat Mahishusura the buffalo demon, so that they could resume their control over the universe.

Kali is however, a central figure in Tantrism; a strain of Hinduism which involves the subversion of its religious norms.

(Hinduism, Sanskrit)
  1. one of the names of Satyavati who was also called Matsyagandhi, Yojanagandhi, Gandhavati, and Vasavi; and

  2. Durga.

Kali is a multiplayer gaming service for DOS and Windows. It was written in 1995 by Jay Cotton and Scott Coleman.

Kali works by emulating an IPX network over a TCP/IP connection. The service bears a great resemblance to Kahn, but was much larger at its peak than Kahn ever was. This was mostly due to the earlier release of Kali compared to Kahn. At its peak, Kali was the largest multiplayer service in the world, offering service for basically every game in existence and hundreds of servers to play on. Kahn offered a faster connection (in general) but failed to surpass Kali due to Kali's larger playerbase (in other words, Kahn had fewer players because Kali had more players, if you follow me), larger coverage in the gaming media, and slightly easier to use software.

Currently, Kali is free to use. During its heyday, however, Kali cost a one-time fee of $20, which was a very good deal during that age of pay-per-hour multiplayer services (remember TEN? Mplayer? HEAT.net?). I am fuzzy on the details, but the company behind Kali was either bought out or went bankrupt. The service is now run without a real possibility of a new version by its co-creator Jay Cotton. In this respect, Kali is very much like Kahn, with the major difference that Kali actually works on modern versions of Windows.

The game Warcraft II (and possibly others) included a copy of Kali on the game CD. Indeed, Blizzard even released a special version of the Warcraft 2 executable (WAR2KALI.EXE) which optimized the game for use over Kali. This is actually very odd, as recently Blizzard was criticized for shutting down a project called Bnetd, essentially a third-party implementation of Blizzard's Battle.net service, on the nominal grounds that it allowed players to play pirated versions of Blizzard's software online, bypassing Blizzard's CD-key security system. Kali, of course, would allow this sort of thing just as easily. And Blizzard was involved with them in the past, so it's not like they're ignorant of its existence. Go figure.

The Kali website can be found at http://www.kali.net.


Time passes, things change...

Kali is back. Jay Cotton has reacquired the rights to the Kali name and source, and has relaunched the service, both in its old capacity as an IPX wrapper, but also as a more modern TCP/IP matchmaking service (kind of like GameSpy, only without those aspects of GameSpy that are so completely annoying). It is still free to download and use, but a one-time $20 fee is required to gain access to certain important features (such as the ability to host a game).

As an added bonus, registration keys from Kali's first phase of life are still valid on the relaunched service (they meant it when they said "lifetime registration"), so its users from days past can jump right in and play, assuming they still have their registration number.

The one-time king of multiplayer gaming is making a bid for the crown again. Judging by the stability, usability, and elegance of the GameSpy client, the only thing stopping Kali is GameSpy's sheer size. Piece of cake.

Kali ("Black" or "the Black One") is the Hindu goddess of death, destruction, chaos and time. The name Kali derives from the Sanskrit root word Kal which means 'time'. She is the wife/Shakti of Shiva and is said to have more than one origin: in one myth, Kali is a form of Durga. When Durga was fighting demons, she lost her composure and her brow grew dark, and when her forehead split Kali emerged whole and fully grown, similarly to the myth of Athena's birth. In another, a demon who could only be killed my a woman challenged the god Shiva. Parvati, his loving wife, dove into his mouth to remake herself in the poison of his throat. When she emerged, she was transformed into the goddess Kali.

Kali is fearsome in appearance. She is said to be black as ash, and many armed: some iconography show her with anywhere from 4-40(?) arms. Most often, she is four-armed, bearing a knife in one hand and a severed head in another. One hand is lowered to confer boons and the other raised in a gesture of fearlessness. She is gaunt, with baleful red eyes and a protuding tounge, usually dripping blood. She wears a girdle of severed arms and a necklace of severed heads, and from her ears dangle the corspes of children. Her hair is long, streaming and black. Her favorite haunts are cremation grounds, where she is accompanied by preta (ghosts and/or demons).

Kali's most famous myth is her near destruction of the world. When the demon Ratabika ("Drop of Blood") was laying waste, Kali came to defeat him. You see, Ratabika had the uncanny ability of reproducing himself through each drop of blood shed on the ground. Kali solved the problem by killing each reproduction and drinking the blood before it hit the ground. Then, when she found Ratabika, she sucked him dry and he was defeated. But Kali grew bloodfrenzied and went on a killing rampage, slaying the people she had previously been defending. Greatly afraid, Shiva threw himself at her feet to stop her, and she trampled him to death. Shocked, she stopped, but somehow he was restored to life and Kali was calmed.

Kali Ma (as she is sometimes called, meaning "Black Mother") is also attributed as a destroyer of ignorance and a keeper of the Divine Order. In Kali's position of destroyer, she represents the things inherent in life the purity minded Hindu society normally don't wish to acknowledge: uncontrolable women, violent death, massive destruction and life outside of the dharma. She not only represents the forces that are often unacceptable to Hindu society, but also offers a way of understanding it through devotion (bhakti, in a sense) to her.

I've been studying the Phillipino martial art Kali for about 6 months now, in combination with western boxing, Thai kickboxing, and grappling - all as part of jeet kune do, which was created by Bruce Lee in the '60s.

I'm far from being any sort of authority on this, but the information available on the web is pretty limited, so I thought I'd add my 2p-worth.

The word "kali" is an amalgam of two Phillipino words meaning "the study of body movement". It encompasses weapons-based fighting as well as "empty hand". The weapons I've used so far have predominantly been the rattan stick, either single or double, and the knife, and combinations thereof. I've also tried some staff fighting. The staff comes under the 7th (or 8th?) area of Kali. I'm not sure of the areas, but I presume the stick and knife stuff is in the early areas. Later areas also include using an oar, swords, and throwing weapons. Kali can also be referred to as arnis, eskrima, or Pencak Silat, although I suspect there are clear distinctions here that I'm unaware of.

My teacher uses the stick training to augment body movement, and so far this is where I have found it most useful. If you take the stick out of your hand and try the stick drills empty-handed, you realise that you're actually doing jab, hook, uppercut and back-fist punches, more or less. Other teachers have a different focus, with some concentrating on hwo to actually fight with sticks. While this may have some bearing in some societies, and of course in competition, I still find the stick most useful to train myself into using correct footwork, and getting used to right or left hand lead stances.

Kali employs what is known as "triangular footwork". This basically means that you stand at the base or point of an imaginary triagle on the floor. If your feet are together, you are standing at a point - if you step forward and outward with your right foot, for example, you can imagine that your left foot stays on point 1, and your right foot is now on point 2. If you move your right foot back to meet your left, then step out and forward on the left foot, your left foot is now on the 3rd point of the triangle. If you start with your feet apart, they are on 2 points of the triangle already. The triangle can be pointing forwards (called "male triangle") or backwards (called "female triangle"). This all sounds overly complex, but in practice it's very simple. Any boxer will be familiar with this footwork, it's just a naming convention.

Working right lead and left lead is a part of Kali I find quite tricky. Normal boxing stance is left hand and leg forward, for a right-handed person. Kali requires you to train "southpaw" as well as in conventional stance, i.e. with your right hand and right leg forward, if you are right-handed.

This use of both conventional and southpaw stance helps you to understand another of Kali's concepts: angles of attack. A left handed person throwing a jab, or a right handed person throwing a cross will land on your chin from eactly the same angle. Kali teaches you that you can respond in eactly the same way to these two apparently different punches - in theory anyway. Of course, a cross is usually very hard, and a jab usually very fast, so in practice, some of the evasions/blocks/etc are more useful than others. This is my experience: your mileage may vary of course.

Another ethos my teachers have stressed is that in Kali you attack the weapon, not the man. I'm not sure how true this is outside of stick fighting. Stick fighting, in my understanding, grew as a result of secret sword training during Spanish occupation, when carrying of swords was banned. Stick is taught at three ranges: largo (long - you can hit the stick and the opponent's hand); medio (medium - you can hit your opponent's stick, and pretty much anywhere on their body); and corto (short - this is grappling and trapping range, and punches, headbutts etc come into play). Consequently, a stick fighter will look to stay at long range, and strike the opponent's hand to make them drop the stick. This is attacking the weapon - my teacher sees this as a humane alternative to getting in close and striking the head - and of course you hopefully avoid the danger yourself.

In the empty-hand style, attacking the weapon becomes far more unpleasant. The use of elbows to block an opponent's punch means that they should end up with broken knuckles. At mid-range (i.e. boxing range), Kali can be used to perform wrenches on arms, and some punches are delivered into sensitive parts of the arm, hopefully to render it far less effective. I've been taught never to go looking for a limb destruction, but to consider them "incidental or accidental" to a fight. Ditto for trapping. I like this attitude, it seems very realistic to me. Limb destruction and trapping don't seem like useful techniques in isolation, but they can definitely augment an effective boxer's repertoire.

Attacking the weapon in knife-based Kali is of course far more potent. As your opponent slashes at you, you can influence the path of their hand (if you're damn quick), avoid the strike, slice into their arm, and potentially disarm them in the process. (Possible nonsense: I suspect that the crazy knife fight in The Bourne Identity involved a lot of Kali choreography. Matt Damon stabs his assailant in the arms repeatedly with a biro.) Kali is quite surgical here - stab or slice a forearm muscle and it can't contract, leading to your opponent hopefully dropping the knife.

There are a few similarities that I have noticed between Bruce Lee's teachings, and some elements of Kali. "attacking the weapon" seems to me to be similar to "cutting the tool" - this is an incidental strike to a limb during a punch. Imagine your opponent throws a straight cross - you slip it to the outside, and punch over their arm into their chin. Your forearm will "cut into" their bicep. My interpretation here may be quite naive, though. Also, Bruce Lee notoriously trained southpaw, to put his most effective weapons closest to his opponent. Kali's emphasis on using both leads equally seems to me to be a similar notion, but it makes both sides of your body effective, rather than admitting one side is better than the other.

Kali footwork also involves what is known as "sectoring" or "zoning". This, very simply, means stepping to the side of your opponent, or into their stance (i.e. between their legs), standing on their foot, or getting behind them. The footwork that puts you into these positions is, for me, tricky to get exactly right during sparring. However it is extremely effective for take-downs, and unbalancing your opponent. Sectoring could be seen as simply "getting out of the way", but Kali uses it both for evasion, and aggressively, to shove an attacker to the floor. It's very difficult to do this during training, since the falls can be very awkward. They are always followed up with limb destruction (e.g. a stamp on the knee/leg/ankle) or a strike to the head/body.

Recently, I attended a seminar by Dan Inosanto, one of Bruce Lee's training partners. This man's depth of knowledge is truly formidable. He told stories of how Phillipinos of his father's age enjoyed entering boxing contests staged by USA troops in the Phillipines. From their point of view, western boxing is almost "easy" compared to Kali - no tripping, no kicking, no backfist punching, no headbutts, no elbows... My teacher often refers to Kali as "boxing with all the dirty tricks kept in" - a very accurate description.

My teachers use elements of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and vale tudo for take-downs and grappling. Aspects of original jeet kune do grappling are also taught, although the pervading opinion seems to be that recent innovations in martial arts have improved on these.

Although the iconography of Kali is usually fearsome, especially to non-Hindu eyes, she is not an evil goddess of death in the Western sense. Because Hindu theology regards God as the Ultimate Reality which comprises both what humans call "good" and "evil," Kali's grotesque appearance is the face of God as much as are the smiling features of Krishna. Most worshipers of Kali, of course, regard her as the supreme deity, not just the mythological manifestation of a concept. Nevertheless, she is benevolent and protective of her followers. The literature I have read portrays her almost as a mother bear who will address all threats.

Kali's role as destroyer of demons is both mythological and psychological. In Hindu myths, she mercilessly destoys the foes of order and revels in the bloodbath. On a spiritual level, Kali represents the release from attachment, which is a necessary step in spiritual growth. Kali's fearsome appearance and warlike nature destroy our demons, sometimes external ones, like addiction, but more importantly our internal ones, like our idea that the continuation of this existence or manifestation is valuable in any real sense. When the worshiper faces Kali and loves her as a mother, earthly terrors are no longer so frightening.

Wrestling with the ultimate truths of existence can be a scary, difficult business. Having a deity who combines a terrifying visage and a bloodthirsty nature with a caring, maternal side can make them seem a little more accessible.

Ka"li (?), n. [Skr. kali.] Hind. Cosmog.

The last and worst of the four ages of the world; considered to have begun 3102 BC, and to last 432,000 years.

 

© Webster 1913.


Ka"li, n. [Skr. kali.] Hind. Myth.

The black, destroying goddess; -- called also Doorga, Anna Purna.

 

© Webster 1913.


Ka"li (?), n. [Ar. qali. See Alkali.] Bot.

The glasswort (Salsola Kali).

 

© Webster 1913.

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