Dhanurveda, science of fighting and war, is one of the Upavedas connected to Yajur Veda. It is mentioned also in Rig Veda 6.75.2 as Dhanav Vidya concerning bow and arrows, which are symbols of all weapons and missiles. All these weapons are to be used if absolutely necessary when all other peaceful and righteous methods have failed; to defend those who follow the varnashrama system when evil persons create obstructions in the spread of Vedic knowledge.
Dhanurveda was revealed by the Lord to sages Vishvamitra and Bhrigu, its original teachers. Another famous Dhanurveda teachers in Vedic times were Parashurama and Drona. They are prominent characters in classical epic Mahabharata, story of conflict among various kshatriya (warrior) lineages. Dhanurveda is considered the origin of Vajramushti, an empty-handed Indian martial art. Among ancient versions of Vedic martial arts derived from Dhanurveda belong Thang-ta (in Manipur, East India) and Kalaripayat, or Kalaripayattu (in Kerala, South India).
“Ranganiketan performances give samples of the music, dance, and martial arts of northeastern India. Thang-ta is a weapons-oriented form of martial arts that dates from the time of the Mahabharata. Both men and women learn these arts from an early age. With precision and strength, Ranganiketan artists demonstrate the various forms of Thang-ta, using swords, shields, scimitars, and occasionally their bare hands.”