The martial arts sai weapon found predominantly in Okinawa (there is evidence of similar weapons in India, China, Malaysia and Indonesia). Sai are often believed to have originated as an agricultural tool used to measure stalks, plow fields, plant rice, or to hold cart wheels in place, though the evidence for this is limited. Another belief, perhaps not as widely held, is that they were modeled after the San-Ku-Chu. Its basic form is that of an unsharpened dagger, with two long, unsharpened projections (tsuba) attached to the handle. The very end of the handle is called the knuckle. Sai are constructed in a variety of forms. Some are smooth, while others have an octagonal middle prong. The tsuba are traditionally symmetrical, however, the Manji design developed by Taira Shinken employs oppositely facing tsuba.
The sai’s utility as a weapon is reflected in its distinctive shape. With skill, it can be used effectively against a long sword by trapping the sword’s blade in the sai’s tsuba. There are several different ways of wielding the sai in the hands, which give it the versatility to be used both lethally and non-lethally.
Traditionally, sai were carried in threes, two at the side, as primary weapons, and a third tucked behind, in case one was disarmed or to pin an enemy’s foot to the sandy Okinawan ground. As a thrown weapon, the sai have a lethal range of about 20-30 feet. Throwing the sai was typically used against an opponent with a sword, bo or other long range weapon. The heavy iron (or in contemporary versions, steel) sai concentrate enough force to punch through armor.
Our Sai at Swords of Might are of the highest quality and very much keep in the style of tradition. You may also find some of our sai are very non-traditional, perfect for those of you who want to impress the judges with your unique style.