Martial Arts & Bullwhips: The Land Between
In films, we've seen the bullwhip used a weapon, but I recently saw something that dropped my jaw.
It's a long sword made of flexible steel: the Urumi, usually made from steel or brass, 48–66 inches(122-168 cm) long. It originated in 12th Century India as part of the Kalarippayattu martial art form. Essentially, it is a metal whip. Most of the Urumi moves I see in videos are the "swashbuckling" type.
Contests are noisy affairs, with steel bands blasting into steel shields and bucklers. By swinging the Urumi in circles and spinning, the user creates a zone around himself that extends to the end of the whip/sword, which makes it an ideal weapon in a melee.
Even in close quarters, the banded blade is sharp and can be wielded lethally. It can be single- or multi-bladed (I read that some variants have as many as 30 blades).
When not used in combat, the Urumi can be worn as a belt, coiled around the warrior's waist (I use a short snakewhip as a hatband, myself).
The martial art use of bullwhips has a strong past (which can share foundations in physics and spirituality), and a dazzling future, if the burgeoning interest in the combination of the two is any indication.
Enjoy the videos (they are also posted at www.bullwhip.net):