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Kuttu Varisai: a Dravidian Martial Art

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Kuttu Varisai: a Dravidian Martial Art
by drunklords MAY 11, 2009

Another Dravidian Martial Art, which has painfully little to describe itself in the internet, though this art is still performed in various parts of Tamil Nadu. Documentation of this fighting style still needs to touch the new age. This Martial Art was first documented in the Tamil Sangam Literature. It is an integral part of Silambam and is usually practised with Varma Kalai.
Both Varma Kalai and Kuttu Varisai combined make up a deadly fighting art. Varma Kalai, also known as Marma Adi in Kerala, is the art of dealing with vital pressure points in the human body. The Chinese arts of Tai Chi and Dim Mak are very close to Varma Cuttiram (healing touch and remedies) and Varma Kalai. In Varma Kalai one can heal, maim or even kill someone depending on what part of the body is hit and how much pressure is applied.
In Kuttu Varisai, gymnastic, stretching (yoga), and breathing exercises are conducted before training. In combat, almost every part of the body is used such as the fists, elbow, feet, knees, etc. Various different animal styles such as the tiger, elephant, snake, eagle and monkey are used. All these styles include posture, grappling, throws, hits and locks.
There are a huge variety of weapons used in this fighting system, which can easily be seen in many Chola bronze statues of various deities. Weapons include the trident, sticks (kali or kaji), swords and shield, double swords, daggers, knuckle dusters and whips with several flexible abd metallic blades.
The art of Kutthu Varisai is an advanced form of barehanded techniques, which is said to be developed by the Siddhars, who gave this art to the people to protect themselves from their enemies. This form of art is developed on the basis of foot and hand movements. The Kutthu Varisai teaches Nelaygal that is, standing positions or poses for several hours, this makes the practiser gain strength, it is a form of Yoga. The Nelaygal gives one a strong base and grip, it also helps the practitioner understand the body better.
Kuttu Varisai aims in understanding and implementing various animal movements and behaviours, for the use of self-defence and creation of fighting styles. Kutthu is commonly known as a ‘Punch’. Varisai is known as ‘sequence’ or ‘in order’. The words literally means, using Punches in sequential order.
Exercises in Kutthu Varisai
Thattu padom : This set of exercises is alone, or practiced with others
Adi-Varesa├» : The series of these exercises are to be practiced alone
Kutthu-Varesa├» : The series of these exercises are to be practiced in pairs, then with more people (from the simplest to the most complex, codified at the beginning, and progressing to more and more free movements, the counter-attacks linked together endlessly, in perpetual movement).
Pede-Varisai : Locking of bone joints, muscles and nerves.
Nelaygal: Standing position in one particular style for hours like an idol
Kuttu Varisai is very similar to Kung Fu, yet the documentation of this art is minimal. It is rather fascinating and interesting to get insights into the Indian Martial Arts Scenario. Though, I would be looking forward to unravelling more on this art.

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