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Weapon type: Cutting and thrusting weapon
Use: Weapon, traditional weapon
Working time: til today
Region of origin /
Distribution: Worldwide
Overall length: approx. 45 cm to 52 cm
Handle: metal
Particularities: The Sai are used today in the martial arts Kobudo , Wushu , Silat and Kalarippayat .
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The Sai [ sa.i ] ( Japanese ) or Saigabel is a weapon from Okinawa that is used in Kobudō and karate , among other things . The Manjisai is a variant of the Sai. The jitte is a weapon similar to the sai, which is trained in koryu , among other things .

The Sai is constructed in a similar way to a fork or a trident and is not, as is often erroneously claimed, an agricultural or fishing tool.

The middle prong is about three times as long as the two outer ones. Depending on the version, the Sai are between 45 cm and 52 cm long (in the best case a little longer than the forearm) and are now mostly chrome-plated or matt black. The shaft is mostly round or octagonal. The Sai exists in a multitude of variants.

The individual parts of the Sai have their own names:

  • Saki (tip)
  • Monouchi (body) - the long shaft
  • Moto (center) - cross between body and handle
  • Yoku (wing) - the side shafts
  • Tsume (wing tip)
  • Tsuka (handle)
  • Tsuka-Gashira (knob)

Sai are usually performed in pairs, with different grip techniques being used. In addition to blocking, stabbing, punching and pushing techniques, clamping and disarming techniques are also possible. A sword can be intercepted and broken with a targeted blow under tension. In addition, when fighting with Sai forks that have not been sharpened, it is possible to change the grip in a fraction of a second, so that the cross rests in the hand and the tip is at the elbow. This gives the fighter the opportunity to hit an opponent with the mostly blunt pommel. In historical versions, the pommel often had the shape of a coin. This allowed Sai to be pushed between the ribs of the opponent and pulled out with a 90-degree turn around the longitudinal axis, causing severe rib injuries. The relatively high weight of the Sai may have a negative effect in a fight, but Sai are much more stable than bladed weapons, which only benefits their role as parade weapons.

Left an old Sai in Okinawa style, right a Sai from Indonesia

Often, in addition to the two openly worn sai, a third sai was worn concealed under clothing. During the attack, one of the two openly worn sai could be thrown at the opponent, but still - by pulling the covered sai - fighting with two drawn sai.

Sai are also used as a weapon in Chinese Wushu , Indonesian / Malaysian Silat , Vietnamese Co Vo Dao, Vu khi Thuat and Indian Kalarippayat .


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Individual evidence

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