The Surul Pattai is a long sword made of flexible thin steel blades, sharp enough to cut into flesh, but flexible enough to be rolled into a tight coil. It is three-quarters to one inch in width, and is usually about four or five and a half feet in length. The Surul Pattai has a small handle with a cover. It can also be considered like a steel whip.
Another name for this weapon in Tamil is Surul Val. It was used and still can be found in south India. This weapon is used in the martial arts of Varma Kalai and Kuttu Varisai. It is also used in the martial art of Kerala known as Kalarippayattu. In the Malayalam it is called the Urumi as per the Northern Kerala System of Kalaripayattu and Chuttuval in the Southern Kerala System. The word Chuttuval is derived from the Malayalam words Chuttu (turn/spin) and Val (sword) and means 'Spinning Sword', which is the description of the way the sword is maneuvered by the swordsman in combat.
Flexibility and skill are more important to master the weapon than strength or aggression. Twirling and controlling the surul pattai is a difficult and dangerous art. Improper handling of the Surul Pattai could result in permanent injuries to the user. Therefore, great concentration is required during use even from experts. The Surul Pattai is most useful to a warrior when he is alone and has to fight multiple opponents. It can be worn like a waist belt and therefore can be carried inconspicuously and without great inconvenience.