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Marma Adi, Bothati, Angampora

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Indian of Martial Arts

Marma Adi

Marma adi is a traditional Indian boxing school that relies on the principles of striking the “marma” (secret vital energy) points, similar to those shared in the Chinese art of dim mak, otherwise known as “the death touch.”

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The art is based around the theory that a number of vulnerable points exist on the human body. Depending on periodic energy flows through the body on lines known as meridians, strikes centered powerfully at key areas can cause damage that is disproportionate to the amount of power issued from the actual physical strike.

A number of body parts are used, including the foot, knuckles, ridge part of the hand, the palm, fingertips, elbows, insteps, and even the big toe. As is usually the case with southern styles of kung fu in China, southern styles of marma adi rarely make use of kicks above the waist.

Medicine and massage

As with many Oriental martial arts, a common training tool used by practitioners of this art form is the use of set forms, or “katas”, whereby players fight a series of imaginary opponents using predetermined techniques. Ayurvedic medicine, along with massage and folk remedies, are also commonly taught in the system and practitioners believe strongly in the motto: “what can cure can kill, and what can kill can cure.”


Although its origins are unclear, this ancient martial art focuses on cavalry disciplines such as the fighting techniques employed with the use of the long spear while riding on horseback.

Competitors race toward each other on their steeds and seek to dismount one another. There are similarities in this art to jousting, which was popular in most parts of medieval Europe.


A Sri Lankan grappling and submission martial art, angampora includes a number of physical combat techniques and strength-building techniques aimed at enhancing the efficiency of combatants. It was traditionally practiced by Sinhala warriors.

Practitioners were noted for their courage and physical prowess. They often found employment in the gathering of rock bee honey or the noosing of elephants—both pursuits that require great agility, physical strength, and courage.

Lethal weapon

The most common martial arts weapon used is the “velayudaya,” which is a whip-like weapon that has four long, double-edged, flexible, metal strips attached to a handle and is devastatingly lethal. It cuts and thrashes opponents, is effective in battle against opponents armed with swords or long staffs, and is difficult to block because there are four instruments attacking at any one moment.

The basic footwork that informs the system is called “mulla panina” and it is often learned and practiced to the beat of traditional Indian drums. It is believed that the rhythm of the drums helps a fighter understand the spirit of a caged tiger, a spirit he may employ when fighting opponents of greater strength. The envisaging of oneself in another form, most often an aggressive animal, is a common psychological tactic integral to many martial arts.

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1 Comments For This Post

  1. John Says:

    Brilliant article. I was wondering if anyone knew of any cool websites where I could join a club for sports or something. I’ve heard of, any others? Thanks guys. JB

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