kobudo

The Sai

A Classical Approach to Wielding a Classical Weapon

There has been a sea change in thinking among practitioners of the traditional martial arts in the past 30 years. Previously, students faithfully accepted what they were told and furiously practiced those methods — which might be of questionable utility based on the interpretations commonly assigned to the movements within the kata. Then Taika Oyata showed that the common interpretations were not at all what kata were supposed to be about.

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The October/November 2020 issue of Black Belt includes a feature titled "The Sai: A Classical Approach to Wielding a Classical Weapon." The author Chris Thomas graciously prepared this video to illustrate the points he makes in the article about this misunderstood kobudo weapon.

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By third degree Shou Shu Kung Fu black belt, certified teacher of Xing Yi, and writer Noel Plaugher.

When you hear the words "martial art weapons," undoubtedly the image of Bruce Lee's body, glistening with sweat, and dual nunchucks tucked under his arms, comes to mind. We watch amazed as he dispatches a series of attackers, all attacking one at a time, with ease. But aside from being a flashy addition to a martial art movie, what good are they?

In all of the styles I have studied there have been weapon forms, and initially, I was loath to learn them always questioning, "What's the point? Am I going to walk around with a broadsword? A six-foot staff? However, to ask the question was really missing the point. True, that today training with weapons for combat or self-defense may not be practical, but that doesn't mean they aren't useful.

Studying weapons has many benefits.

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Read this short summary of martial arts leader Fumio Demura from his days in Japan to his time in California and even his stint on the silver screen.

It's easy for martial artists in 2019 to take for granted the diversity and racial equality we enjoy in the dojo. But it hasn't always been this way.

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