Today I’ll be introducing you to a new kind of whip sword which, unlike the ninja blade whip I blogged about earlier, is actually much, much closer to a real whip in it’s design. This is a weapon of the Indian martial art Kalarippayattu, which is said by some to be one of the oldest. However our interest for today is not the etymology of Kalarippayattu, but rather a very unique weapon used in the art. Say hi to the wicked Urumi/Chuttuval:
This ultra-flexible sword is called the Urumi in the Northern System of Kalarippayattu and Chuttuval in the Southern System. It is little more than a long strip of flexible steel, usually about four or five feet long, and between three quarters of an inch to an inch thick. As you can see, this sword could easily qualify for bull whip duty, and being made of steel, would probably be a good sight more lethal too. As if that weren’t enough, there are varieties of this weapon that incorporate multiple blades, like a cat-o’-nine-tails, for added lethality.
Now my admittedly calculated guess would be that this is probably a very difficult weapon to learn to use correctly (read safely but effectively), likely many times more so than a whip. I suppose it goes without saying that mistakes with this weapon could be very costly to, for instance, a practitioners calves, eyes, ears, nose or other valuable extremities.
Practicing with two multi-bladed Urumi
To my untrained eye, it looks to me like the guy in the little movie above seems a little scared of his own Urumi. 🙂 But apparently even seasoned professionals still have to be very careful with it. Me personally, I would constantly be worried about the blade fatiguing at the point where it is attached to the handle, as that would most likely be the area that would experience the most frequent of high angle flexing during daily use. Nonetheless, it doesn’t take much to see that a seasoned Kalarippayattu practitioner equipped with a pair of multi-bladed urumi would make a formidable opponent, even against multiple opponents. Unless they all also had urumi. Then it might suck to be you.
But I’m sure it’s disadvantages become moot once you’ve mastered it and can swing it around effortlessly like an evil steel bull whip of death… Add to that the fact that it can be coiled and worn like a belt, and its like the ultimate stealth weapon!! You know, the kind of weapon that would elicit an aghast “What the…” from an unfortunate would-be opponent as you slowly uncoiled it from your waist, swinging it to the side with an ominous pinging “WHAP” to straighten it out…