Varma Kalai (Tamil: வர்மக்கலை) is a martial art and esoteric healing art originating from ancient Tamil Nadu in South India. The name literally translate as "The Art of Vital Points". It is an element of the Tamil martial art Kuttu varisai.

Knowing the arts of Uyir Nadi in human body is termed as Varmakalai. Prana Shakthi (Cosmic energy) is spreaded all over the body from universe this prana is known as Uyir Sakthi (Life energy) where ever making centres in the human body is called Varmakalai.

Though this art is taught by god to siddhas, this scientific at is gifted by these siddhas to the world through their knowledge. Five types of energies called Pancha Bhuthangal ( Five Elements) namely earth, water, sky fire Air) are directing this world. The people who can control these five elements and create rare records through their meditional power are called siddhargal. These siddhargal invented lot and lot of rare scientific arts which cannot be easily understance by the normal human beings. Among these various scientific arts varmakali is the art which can give the sound knowledge in our own human body system.

Among all the siddhas following 18 siddhas are popularly known and important siddhas

The philosophy Human anatomy and physiology created by these siddhas are divided in to five types they are

  1. Gnana Kaviyam- explaing yogasana and breathing exercise.
  2. Vadha Kvaiyam – explaining minerals, metals, Pashanams
  3. Vaidhiya Kaviyam – explaining medicines
  4. Jodhida Kaviyam – Explaing nine planets astrology
Among these five philosophies the 3rd part Vaidhya Kaviam explains the human body's Uyir Nadddi called varmam. Agashtiyar and Bohar are notable persons who explained this vaidhiya Kaviyam. After the some other siddhas also improved this part Vaidhiya Kaviyam.

Agashthiyar came from Northern part of the India. The two students of Agasthiyar are Pulasthiyar and Theriyar.

In southern part India Bohar is primary scientist of all the modern scientists. Bohar important students are Pulipani, Karuvurar, and Konganar. All of these siddhas are the parents of this varmakalai is growing spreading all over the world.

Prana which is acting in the body is known as varmam the method of prana acting in the body is called nadigal. There are 10 major naadhies in the body these 10 naadhies are called thasa nadigal.

These 10 naadhies spread all over the body and divided in to 7200 nadhiess. In some of the body these 72000 are meeting each other. These meeting points are known as Varma stanangal important varma stanangal are making 108 vital points in the human body.

In these points the most important Uyir Stanangal (Life Vital centres) are divided in to
Padu Varmam: 12
Thodu Varmam: 96
The method of protection of these vital points is called varmakalai.

These method further divided in to Vaidhaya muraigal (expaling medical values of vital points) Tharkappu muraigal ( explaining defence values of vital points)

In the Human body there are 108 points of Varmam ( Vital points) they are
From head to neck- 25 points
From neck to navel- 45 points
From navel to arm- 9 points
In arms- 14 points
In legs- 15 points
Total- 108 points
According to Vaidhiya murai (Sidha medicine) the points explained as
Vadha Varmangal- 64
Pitta Varmangal- 24
Kaba Varmangal- 6
Ul Varmam- 6
Thattu Varmam- 8
According to Tharkaapu Murai (Self defence& Martial Arts) there are 36 vital points in human body they are
Head- 3
Face- 5
Neck- 4
Shoulder- 2
Back- 3
Chest- 8
Stomach- 1
Hip- 3
Arm- 7
Leg- 3

Varma kalai has 2 sides in it as a coin has sides. One is called varma kalaithat deals with self defence and the other called the varma therapy which deals with are some of the most important structured features of human body, ligaments, nerves, bones, blood vessels, joints and nerve-centres etc. They meet combine and coordinate so as to enable the body of function biologically.

The nerves and bones and muscles form part of the entire body. The bone and joints are hard structures. At many points the nerves and nerve centres are closely in interviewed. Even a slight damage to these nerve center and joints some times may nerve critically harmful. (eg. where the nerve is in contact with the bone). The damage may be extensive too. They may even affect the blood vessels passing through area causing improper blood supply to that area. This leads to pain and unconsciousness.

Hence such nerve centers are called vunerable sites.

1. These vulnerable points are not visible, as they lie beneath the skin. The word marmam means that which is hidden.
2. The points at which these structures lie interviewed are not visible and are located only at a few points.
3. These spots are so finely placed that all cannot because and identify them. 4. Injury to these varmas, causes severe pain and affects the normal functioning of the body.
5. The how and why of the various symptoms that result have remained a mystery. Hence the name "marmam" which is varmam in Tamil.

According to those sources the point through which an arrow pierces the body and kills the person,is taken for a vulnerable point/spot/area/ (marmam).A varma terms the body in which it originates and with it abides. Hence it is called a varmam, an enemy with in "varma" is the term used in most of the texts.

Varma is the seat of wind, breath or sources/seat of life. when the flow of this life-fOrce is disturbed the body becomes insensitive. If the injury is of very servious kind it moves . If the injury or damage intensity and it is not yet too late for treatment recovery is possible.


Legend has it that Lord Siva taught this art form to his son Lord Murugan and Lord Murugan taught this art to the sageAgastya, foremost of the Siddhar's, during the times of Sangam Literature.[citation needed] He transferred the knowledge of this art to other Siddhar's and he also wrote treatises on this art in Tamil. The presence of shrines to Agathiar inCourtallam suggests that he researched the art there.
Though Varma Kalai has its own form of katas and procedures, it was closely assorted with Kuttu varisai and Kalaripayattu. Knowledge of Varma Kalai was considered vital in both arts to become a Grand Master.[citation needed] The teachers were called as Aasan (Tamil: ஆசான்) and the grand masters were called as Periyaasan (Tamil: பெரியாசன்) or Iyan (Tamil: ஐயன்).
Historically, Varma Kalai has been one of the arts taught to those of royal blood.[citation needed] However, even royalty were required to pass the stringent requirements for discipleship. The schools received nivandhanams (donation with high respect) from the Kings of Tamil Kingdom (CheraCholaPandya and Pallava. Aasan and Periyaasan of Varma Kalai were highly respected.[citation needed]
The art was taught only to selected individuals, but due to the strict requirements for new students it never gained large numbers of adherents. Due to its secretive nature, Varma Kalai remained largely unknown even in India until the release of the movie Indian, in which Kamal Haasan played the role of a Varma Kalai expert. The film's popularity generated a resurgence of interest in the art.[citation needed]
Currently Varma Kalai is practised in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, usually as part of Kuttu varisai and Kalari training.

The art of Varma Kalai have been in existence on the Indian sub-continent for thousands of years practiced by ancient Tamils of Tamil Nadu, Tamil Eelam (Northeast Sri Lanka), Kerala, and the Southern portion of present day Andhra Pradesh. Varma Kalai is one of the deadliest form of martial art in history. The tamil word “Varma" means "vital points" and "Kalai” means "art"hence it is translated as the “the art of vital points”. Varma Kalai is also known by following names: Varma Kalai, Varmak Kalai, Varma adi, Marma Adi, Varma Sastra, Varma Vidya, Marma Vidya, Marma kalai, Varma Kalari, Kalari Varma etc.
The art of Varma Kalai originally evolved from the Tamil science of SIddha medicine into a martial art and is called the art of healing and killing. It was developed by gurus and experts of siddha during the Pandyan dynasty and nourished and promoted by the Cholas. Legend has it that during the development period of Varma Kalai, experiments were done on slaves and captured warriors to discover the weakness in the human body. Thousands of captive warriors and slaves gave their lives on the process of discovering all vital points of the human body for the purpose of gaining the rich knowledge contained in art of Varma Kalai.
slave prisoner torture
Pressure Point experimentation on slaves and war prisoners to formulate Varma Kalai
The Pandyas, along with Chola and Chera, were the three ancient kingdoms which ruled the Tamil country until the end of the 15th century. The Pandyan kingdom of southern India was founded around 500 BC and was considered by historians as the richest kingdom in the world. Pandyas were fierce warriors. The early Pandyan dynasty was revived under Kadungon in the early 6th century, but again went into decline with the rise of the Cholas in the 9th century and were in constant conflict with them. The Pandyas revived again during the late 13th century by alliying themselves with the Sinhalese and the Cheras and expanded the empire into Telugu country and conquered the northern half of Sri Lanka. The Pandyan Kingdom finally became extinct after the establishment of the Madurai Sultanate in the 16th century.
dr yuree in Kanchipuram
Grand Master Dr. Yuree standing in front of the PALLAVA dynasty’s last piece of structure at Kanchipuram, the birth place of Bodhidharma.
At the turn of the 6th century A.D., martial arts spread from Southern India to China by a Tamil prince turned monk named Daruma Bodhidarma, the third prince of King Sugandha in Kanchipuram province, the then capital of the Southern Indian kingdom of Pallava. Bodhidharma had his childhood in Kanchipuram and became one of the most brilliant students of the Vedas, Siddha medicine, meditation and philosophy and as a prince he was taught by different masters and experts the deadly art of Varma Kalai along with other arts. Bodhidharma later played a pioneer role in the root and history of formalized Martial Arts. Daruma Bodhidharma became the 28th patriarch and founder of Chan or Zen doctrine and went to China to spread Buddism according to the wishes of his master Prajnatara. Bodhidharma settled in the Shaolin Temple of Henan province but found that the Chinese monks under him were frail and weak. He formulated a physical fitness and martial arts training guideline for the monks from his knowledge of Yoga, Varma Kalai, Vajramushti. His teaching to monks later evolved into different Chinese martial arts which can be seen to contain the advance component of Dim Mak (or dim hsueh) containing the same 108 varma points which originated from his knowledge of Varma Kalai. Thereafter, different variations and specialization of martial arts took place from China and spread to Korea & Japan having a continued deep influence of pressure point knowledge originating from art of Varma Kalai.
Dr. Yuree inside Shaolin temple beside a statue of Bodhidharma in Hunan, China.
The art of varma kalai travelled from India to China through Bodhidharma and later to other areas, but the complete authentic knowledge remained back in India which slowly decreased in existence due to lack of patronization and use due to end of the war eras and introduction of firearms and advanced warfare weapons. The deadly unarmed art of Varma Kalai only remained in the minds of some Great Assans and some written in some palm leaf manuscripts kept in secret. Gradually some of those palm were revealed to public over the years, but still most remain secret. The ancient tradition of transmission of knowledge of Varma Kalai went underground and was only passed through family lineage and rarely to very dedicated disciples, and this number became very few due to its use in war decreased.
Over the years, the knowledge being passed to some criminals and miscreants made the Assans (Masters) of Varma Kalai even more protective of this deadly ancient wisdom and the transmission of knowledge has decreased so much its going from obscurity to extinction. Some experts fear that some of the only few living masters maybe the last generation of the authentic masters of Varma Kalai who, with their passing, will end the passing of authentic knowledge of this great combat art.
Another reason for decreasing the study and practice of Varma Kalai is that it is a highly comprehensive and knowledge rich martial art and takes considerable amount of time to learn the healing and combat aspect which has stymied the popularity of this martial art with the youth who choose to study less time-consuming martial arts. So much severe and incredible are the effects of application of Varma Kalai and that much, even more, are the quality, patience and character required to maintain, preserve and handle such an Art. Today this extremely powerful art is losing much of its heritage and is slowly fading away due to lack of transmission of knowledge and deceasing of authentic masters.
Dr Yuree with Legendary Grand Master Vaskaran
Dr Yuree with Legendary Varma Kalai Grand Master,
Assan Vaskaran, Tamil Nadu.
Now, Grand Master Dr. Yuree, an expert on Varma Kalai who has rigorously researched on this subject and trained under many great Assans including the legendary Assan Varkaran, who has learnt the art from 18 original masters of Varma Kalai. Dr. Yuree has founded the art of Combat Varma Kalai trying to revive this highly rich art. Combat Varma Kalai tries only to contain effective and applicable methods from Varma Kalai to impart knowledge quicker than traditional Varma Kalai and gain back popularity of this lost art. Today Dr. Yuree is only one to stand distinguished in world of martial art to represent the great treasures of Indian systems of self defense with a special international activity and recognition. Combat Varma Kalai continues to work to revive the fading art of Varma Kalai and being is being adopted by military and Special Forces.
Some of the suitable aspects of Varma Kalai is also included in the Butthan Martial Art, the Noble Art of Stopping-Fight and Enlightenment. For more information click here


Varma Kalai teachers are highly selective in their choice of students. Disciples must meet a number of criteria; beyond martial arts competence they are required to have an understanding of biology, mathematics, political science, astronomy, physics, chemistry, Saamuthriga Lakshanam, Yoga, military tactics, horsmanship, elephant riding, charioteering and Hindu philosophy (SaivaVaisnavaSakthaKoumaraBouthaSamana) etc. The Varma Kalai martial artist is not allowed to teach the art to others until he receives Deeksha from his Aasan or Periyaasan as in recognition of him as an Aasan.
Hearsays are that the rules were followed sincerely without exception, everyone who wished to learn the art were not qualified to learn. It was taught only to selected individuals who qualified but again all who learned does not qualify to become an Aasan. Also the Aasans and Periyaasans did not pass on few techniques as they never met qualified diciple. It is being said that causes such led to the loss of many great techniques, few Aasans who spoke to media deny that thought. There is also a belief that the art was kept hidden for centuries for various reasons, it seems that Aasans agree to that but there is no sound record on what facts set the art hidden.


Varma Kalai is classified into 4 types:
  • Thodu Varmam
96 Vital Points triggered by a touch. Not deadly, but will affect the victim by disabling the body, organ movements and function.
  • Padu Varmam
12 Vital Points that are fatal, causing immediate, severe effects upon the victim.
  • Thattu Varmam
Decisive Vital points that are used by the master. These are kept confidential until the master pass on the knowledge to the selected disciple
  • Nooku Varmam (also known as) Meitheenda Kalai
Triggering vital points by focusing/ concentrating on the target. It takes several years of practice for one to become an expert in Nooku Varmam.

In human body there are 108 Varmam's (Vital points) they are:

Vital PointsPart of Human body
25From head to neck
45From neck to navel
9From navel to arm
According to Vaidhiya murai (Healing therapy under Siddha medicine) the vital points are explained as:
Vital PointsFunctions
64Vadha Varmam
24Pitha Varmam
6Kaba Varmam
6Ul Varmam
8Thattu Varmam


Below listed are some of the Varma Kalai manuscripts:
  • Agasthiyar Varma Thiravukol
  • Agasthiyar Varma Kandi
  • Agasthiyar Oosi Murai Varmam
  • Agasthiyar Vasi Varmam
  • Varma Odivu Murivu
  • Agasthiyar Varma Kannadi
  • Varma Varisai
  • Agasthiyar Mei Theendakalai
India is a land of various arts, most of them have been disappeared over time. Varmakkalai the mother of all martial arts which originated in Tamil Nadu is one among them which is slowly disappearing. All the other martial arts are direct or indirect descendants of varmakkalai. Tamil Sage Agasthiar is the founder of varmakkalai who lived in the south-pothigai mountains (Kutralam) which is in the southern part of Tamil Nadu ruled by Pandiya kings. His period is said to be before "Sangam Literature". This art existed in the spoken-form and he formulated and gave a written-form by writing in the palm leaves (manuscripts). Only after him other sages (siddhar) like Theraiyar, Pogar, Pulipani etc have written other manuscripts. Following song is one of the evidence stating the origin.

"Then pothigai nathan thunaiyaal
padi vaithaen murai nanramae".

Some of the varmakkalai manuscripts written by Agasthiyar are follows,

Agasthiyar varma thiravukol
Agasthiyar varma kandi
Agasthiyar oosi murai varmam
Agasthiyar vasi varmam
Varma odivu murivu
Agasthiyar varma kannadi
Varma varisai
Agasthiyar mei theendakalai

Jatavarman Pandiyan (or) Sadaiyavarman who learnt varmakkalai was a very brave and ambitious warrior king who has won several wars. Though varmakkalai was founded in Pandiya kingdom and slowly disappeared here, it was developed by Chola kings and then this art went to Sri-Lanka, China and other foreign countries. Buddhist monk named Bodhidharma (A.D 520) went to China from Kanchipuram (in Tamil Nadu) to spread buddhism, he stayed at the Shaolin Monastry and preached buddhist ideologies. Bodhidharma is the founder of Shaolin Temple, who taught varmakkalai to the chinese monks. He trained them in exercises designed to strengthen the body and thus their endurance. Still we could find the stone carvings in the Shaolin Temple portraying Bodhidharma as founder of the Shaolin Kung-fu.

On one of the Shaolin Temple walls, a fresco can be seen, showing dark-skinned (Indian) monk, teaching lighter-skinned (Chinese) monks the art of bare-handed fighting skills.” Under this painting, the words “Tenjiku Naranokaku” are inscribed in Chinese, which translates in English to “The fighting techniques to train the body from India”, supporting the view that Bodhidharma's exercises were in fact the reflection of the ancient Indian martial arts. Therefore, religious preaching of the Buddhist monks linked the systematic art of Self defense to the world by crossing the borders of the Indian sub-continent.
As a Chinese Ambassador to USA, Hu Shih once said “India conquered and dominated China culturally for 20 centuries without ever having to send a single soldier across her border.”.
Reason for the disappearance of Varmakklai in IndiaIndian sub-continent, lacking patronization, gradually began losing its such rich heritage of Martial arts. Centuries of Colonial rule have paralyzed the growth of Martial Art just like many other treasure-worthy Indian knowledge systems and put them close to the level of dysfunctional. Again in more recent history, in 1793 the British East India Company fearing the inspirations of Youth revolutions, officially banned and the practice of mother of the world’s martial arts and it actually came to a point of almost extinction.
Practical form of Varmakkalai is the complete form

As most of the varmakkalai masters (Asan or Guru) claim that they have learnt only therapeutic form of varmakkalai and only teach those methods. Those were learnt by reading some books, manuscripts etc... One who can't simulate the symptoms of varmam can't be good master, one should learn the practical form of varmakkalai and then treat the victim affected by varmam. Following song which was written by sage Agasthiyar in one of his manuscripts clearly says that we should learn the practical form and then the therapeutic form to treat the victim.

"Appanae varmathil adi pidi vettu kuthu
katru pin varisayudan pin varma elakku seyyae"

varma elakku --- Remedying or curing method.

But most of them have reversed (vice versa) and say that they have learnt the therapeutic form first. "Action speak louder than words", master Rajendran who is the founder of this "Manja Varmakkalai" trains the student through the practical form which can only be learnt with the help of a guru or asan or master.

Indian Physical landscape divides two huge mountain ranges, namely eastern ghats and western ghats. The western ghats is also known as the Sahyadri Mountains, is a mountain range along the western side of India. It runs north to south along the western edge of the Deccan Plateau, and separates the plateau from a narrow coastal plain along the Arabian Sea. The Western Ghats block rainfall to the Deccan Plateau. The range starts near the border of Gujarat and Maharashtra, south of the River Tapti, and runs approximately 1600 km through the states of Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala ending at Kanyakumari, at the southern tip of India

The western ghats in south fertile hectares of land in both district.Papansam and Kothayar are the two sides of the hill hocks and to orginate the river called Thamiraparani.

In two of the hilhocks ,sathus lived there and they have the knowledge of Varma Kalai and another set of group which is speciallity in Siddha medicine(Numerous Medicinal herbs find at the hills).

Varma kalai was performed by the Sadhus who settled in Kanyakumari District and they have the knowledge to treate many disease through their skills.

There are four types of varma 

1. padu varmam (hit) 

2. thodu varmam (touch) 

3. nokku varmam (look)

Varma Kalai, also known as Marma Adi, is one of the oldest and deadliest forms of martial art in history developed in South Indian region, more precisely from Tamil Nadu. The tamil word “Varma Kalai” literally means “The Art of Vital Points”. Varma Kalai uses pressure and precise strikes to vulnerable pressure points on the human body to heal, maim or even kill someone depending on what part of the body is hit and how much pressure is applied based on periodic energy flows (time-dependent) streaming through the body along meridians

This is still exists in Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu and is called the southern style of kalarippayattu. Its a unique Neuro Martial Art in warfare practised by the Royal Thiruppad Nadans to defeat/kill the enemy without any external injuries are called Varmam. Varma Kalai is the master of all arts, royal to its name, practised by Asaans ( masters). An Asaan of special rank is a master over 108 Kalaries. These Asaans were the real kingmakers and known as Gramavadins or Gramanis, a term applied to communities like Nadars and Devars. They were the very ancient rulers of South India. Varmam or Marmam When one is affected by Varmam, it stimulates or blocks one or more of the 10 Vayus (air) governing the life centers of the body, which in turn acts on the Sapta Dhathu (Seven Vitals) of the body namely Ninam, Kapham, Majjai, Suklam, Moothiram Pethi and Viyarvai (blood, lipid, marrow, semen, urine, stools, sweat) respectively, and makes the desired effect to the enemy and causes his death or unconsciousness. Sidha Grandhas This Art is the one mentioned in the 300000 Grandhas (Books) of the early Sidhas. More than 75% of the original Sastras have been either lost, sold out or destroyed due to negligence and also through the over conservative character of the people who handled this Art. Yet, there are sufficient quantity of these rare Grandhas, in the form of Palm-Leaf Texts in Southern India. The Asaans of Kanyakumari, Kollam and Trivandrum Districts, although getting weaker at present, are still alive to the standard of these rare records. In order to learn this Art, it was necessary to work with an Asaan for a minimum period of 12 years in those days. This Art was not taught to anyone who came forward.

Varmakkalai can be either used for self-defence and also can cure various diseases. Whatever varmam's we have mentioned in this site are practically proven ones, you wouldn't have heard about most of them. Exercises for varmakkalai are simple and any age group can practice this art, the benefits can not be be measured. You wouldn't have seen these exercises before and they are easy to do.

We will detail the various defensive varmakkalai techniques, the mudras to use while striking and the impact it would have on the human body. You should not think that by knowing the locations you can use the technique, it is mandatory that you should do the exercises regularly in order to get the accuracy while using the same. As we can re-emphasize the fact with the following idiom "A little learning is a dangerous thing". By doing these exercises you can make your nerves more stronger, as you know the root cause of most of diseases are nerves, blood circulation and prana shakthi or oxygen (vital life power).

What do you mean by "Manja"

It indicates a style whose meaning has been kept as a secret, one who knows this style of Varmakkalai will be able to spare with any style of martial art. Only who knows this style of art can compete with them.

Who will be able to learn this art ?

As per a stanza from a song written by Siddhar Agasthiyar which indicates who will be able to learn this art.

"karma vinaigal avamirunthu vandhu koodi vitta kurai thotta kurai ena vizhambalachae"

Types of varmam

Thodu Varmam  (96)
Padu Varmam     (12)
Thattu Varmam  (8)
Nokku Varmam (or) Meitheenda Kalai

Techniques applied to cure Ailments

• Marukaalam
• Thirumal Murai
• Adangal Murai
• Thiravukol Murai
• Thadaval Murai
• Marunthu Murai
• Vayu Nilai Amarthal
• Kattu Murai

Books on Varma Kalai

Few known books on Varma Kalai are listed below
• Varma Suthram
• Varma Beerangi
• Naalu Maathirai
• Naramparai
• Narambu Suthram 100
• Narambu Suthram 400
• Varma Odivu Murivu Sara Suthram 1500
• Panchakarnapinnal
• Alavunool Piramaanam
• Varma Odivu Murivu Kandasaari 300
• Varma Thoondamani
• Aksakkural Venba 300

Live Demonstration of Nokkuvarmam & Meitheendakkalai on ZEE (Tamil) TV
For the first time in history we demonstrated Meitheendakkalai in ZEE TV (Tamil) on 18/12/2011 and telecasted between 30/01/2012 to 2/02/2012. More details are available in "Nokkuvarmam" tab.
Documentary Film about Master Rajendran

He performed in the documentary film named "VARMAKKALAI A WONDERFUL ART" along with 20 students. It was shot at 12/9/2001 and telecasted on 48 countries at 01/04/2003. More details are available in "Master" tab.

Released the Iron-Lock with herbs

An article published on 04-07-1991 by "Paakia" weekly with the title "Irumbai ilakkum mooligai". We won't disclose the details of any herbs, since it would reach the anti-social elements.

Saved the life of the person in a martial art competition

In a knock-out (Full-Contact) competition in Tirusoor (Kerala) , a karate student from other school was wounded in the head. He fainted and the karate master of the student was not able cure him. Master Rajendran treated and cured by striking him at a varmam, who was in the competition.