The urumi (Malayalam: ഉറുമി, urumi; Tamil: உறுமி, urumi, Sinhalese: එතුණු කඩුව ethunu kaduwa; Hindi: āra) is a sword with a flexible, whip-like blade, originating from the Indian subcontinent in modern-day Kerala and Sri Lanka. It is thought to have existed from as early as the Sangam period.
A pair of multi-bladed urumi
|Place of origin||Indian subcontinent|
|Length||approx. 122–168 cm (48–66 in)|
|Part of a series on|
|Indian martial arts|
It is treated as a steel whip and therefore requires prior knowledge of that weapon as well as the sword. For this reason, the urumi is always taught last in Indian martial arts such as Kalaripayattu.
The word urumi is of Indian origin. In Kerala, it is more commonly called a chuttuval, from the Malayalam words for "coiling," or "spinning,"(chuttu) and, "sword" (val). Alternative Tamil names for the weapon are surul katti (curling sword) surul val (curling blade) and surul pattakatti (சுருள் பட்டாக்கத்தி).
The urumi hilt is constructed from iron or brass and is identical to that of the talwar, complete with a crossguard and frequently a slender knucklebow. The typical handle is termed a "disc hilt" from the prominent disc-shaped flange surrounding the pommel. The pommel often has a short decorative spike-like protrusion projecting from its centre. The blade is fashioned from flexible edged steel measuring three-quarters to one inch in width. Ideally, the length of the blade should be the same as the wielder's armspan, usually between 4 feet to 5.5 feet. Multiple blades are often attached to a single handle. The Sri Lankan variation can have up to 32 blades and is typically dual-wielded, with one in each hand.
The urumi is handled like a flail arm but requires less strength since the blade combined with centrifugal force is sufficient to inflict injury. As with other "soft" weapons, urumi wielders learn to follow and control the momentum of the blade with each swing, thus techniques include spins and agile manoeuvres. These long-reaching spins make the weapon particularly well suited to fighting against multiple opponents. When not in use, the urumi is worn coiled around the waist like a belt, with the handle at the wearer's side like a conventional sword.
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