“Indian knowledge of vital points” is the literal translation of a South Asian combat form known as Varma Kalai. This “hybrid” martial art form is said to have originated from South India, and basically involves manipulation body pressure points so as to inflict pain on the opponent. Furthermore, this combat form is also commonly referred to as “Varma adi or Marma adi” which literally means “pressure point striking”. In addition, in this martial art style the fighter mainly targets the nerves, veins, tendons, and bone joints.

a. History/origin of the Varma Kalai:

According to a popular folklore, it was Lord Shiva who is supposed to have first taught this combat form to his son Murugan. Furthermore, it was in the guise of an old man that Murugan transferred the knowledge he possessed pertaining this combat form to sage Agastya. It was then Agastya who passed on this knowledge related to this combat form on to his students. And so in this way “Varma Kalai” as a combat form has over the centuries been passed from one generation to another mainly in the southern region of India.

b. Weapon used in the Varma Kalai:

The weapon used in this form of combat may either be the “hands” of the fighter or a blunt instrument such as a stick or a staff.

c. Technique involved in the Varma Kalai and training availability:

In terms of technique, the “Varma Kalai” is based on the concept which lays emphasis on “pressure point striking”. Furthermore, the vital points located on the body that are usually targeted by the fighter include nerve, tendons, veins, and bone joints. As for training centers/schools, there are a few available in South of India for those interested in learning this “hybrid” martial art form.

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