Thursday, April 13, 2006

Varma Kalai

Varma Kalai (also spelled Varmakalai or Varmakkalai) is an ancient martial art which has it's origins in the southern part of India, more specifically, around Tamil Nadu state.
The art itself was practiced by Indian monks who combined Yoga, Ayurveda (the Indian science of Medicine) and disciplined combat into one martial art.
The attacks in Varma Kalai are meant for self defence and though they target the vital points throughout the human body, the emphasis is on stopping an attacker without actually damaging him permanently. Even in the most extreme situations there is an emphasis on using as little violence as possible.
Varma Kalai teaches one to attack with or without weapons. The effect of Varma Kalai based offences is effective yet rarely damaging a human being.
One who teaches and masters this art is called aasaan (Tamil for 'master').
According to legends, the art itself was learned by wrongdoers and this upset the masters who trusted in the characters of their disciples. This led to a code of secrecy in which a master never teaches all of what he knows to one man. A few secrets on how to counter the misuse of the act are always safe with a chosen few who excel in the art and have unimpeachable moral values.

The Practitoners
Though it is still taught at Tamil Nadu the art is not popular with the youth who choose to study less time-consuming martial arts. Worth mentioning is the fact that it would take about 10 years for a student to learn about 75% of Varma Kalai his master knows.

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