Huyen Langlon is an Indian martial art form; it comprises of two parts: Thang Ta (armed combat) and Sarit Sarak (unarmed combat). ‘Thang’ means sword, while ‘Ta’ means spear – the two main weapons of the form. Practitioners also used axes and shields sometimes. Thang Ta can be practiced in tantric (ritualistic), dance and combat ways.
Following a challenge, a day is selected for the combat; in the meanwhile, warriors will prepare their weapons. Allowing your opponent to shoot the first bow or spear is a sign of immense courage. After the battle, it was customary to take the loser’s head as a trophy. Opponents who ran, begged for mercy or cried in fear were usually spared by the victor.
When the British went to northeast India, they prohibited martial arts, duels to the death and other violent customs of the region. This ban was hard to enforce as the area was pretty inaccessible. It was only with the adoption of Christianity that the local people left their more violent customs behind.