Simhalan Madhava Panicker was a well known South Asian martial artist and actor of film and theater. Born into a family of plantation farmers in Kerala in 1930, he left home at the young age of 8 and traveled to all corners of India. He found his passion in the martial arts and acting. He was an expert and authority in Marma Kalari, a variation of the ancient martial art of Kalarippayattu.
The martial art of Marma Kalari involves attacks to an opponent by striking at specific vital points of the body to cause maximum injury or, conversely, revival of the same. These vital points are junction points or nerve nodes which, when struck from a specific angle and with a particular speed, can result in temporary paralysis, extreme pain, loss of consciousness, or even immediate or delayed death. Only experts in the art can execute this efficiently after decades of training.
Simbhalan Panicker learned the Northern and Southern styles of Kalarippayattu during 18 years of training under many teachers, and specialized in Varma Kalari, which he learned from Balan Gurukkal. From then on, he practiced the art, improvising and developing his own version of it.