Beginners are first taught footwork (kaaladi) which they must master before learning spinning techniques and patterns, and methods to change the spins without stopping the motion of
the stick. There are sixteen of them among which four are very important. Footwork patterns are the key aspects of silambam. Traditionally, the masters first teach kaaladi for a long
time before proceeding to kuttu varisai or unarmed combat. Training in kuttu varisai allows the practitioner to get a feel of silambam stick movements using their bare hands, that
is, fighters have a preliminary training with bare hands before going to the stick.
Gradually, fighters study footwork to move precisely in conjunction with the stick movements.