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Components of Varma Kalai are used in traditional massage, medicine and Tamil martial art1 in which the body's pressure points (varma or marma) are manipulated heal or harm. Usually it is taught as an advanced aspect of unarmed Tamil martial arts like Kai silambam, Malla-yuddha and Kusthi,2 strikes are targeted at the nerves, veins, tendons, organs and bone joints.3
One of the stages of training in Southern Kalaripayattu is marma (pressure points).4
Medical treatment in Varma Kalai and Southern Kalaripayattu is identified with the siddha,5 the traditional Dravidian system of medicine distinct from north Indian ayurveda. The Siddha medical system, otherwise known as siddha vaidyam, is also attributed to Agastya.
Folklore traces Varma Kalai to the god Shiva who is said to have taught it to his son Murugan. While disguised as an old man, Murugan passed the knowledge of the varmam to the sage Agastya6 who then recorded it and disseminated the skill among his students.
- "Tamilnadu - Varma Kalai". Tamilnadu.com. 26 December 2012.
- Stevens, B; From Lee to Li, HarperCollins 2009 ISBN 9780007347414
- Master Murugan, Chillayah (20 October 2012). "Silambam and Varma Kalai Art". Silambam. Retrieved 31 May 2013.
- Luijendijk, D.H. (2005). Kalarippayat: India's Ancient Martial Art. Paladin Press. ISBN 1-58160-480-7.
- Zarrilli 1992
- Luijendijk, D.H. (2005) Kalarippayat: India's Ancient Martial Art, Paladin Press