traditional martial arts

The Sai

Sai is a metal weapon and belongs to a type of dagger which is usually used in pairs, each hand using one. It is similar to a short sword, i.e. a trident dagger, but is traditionally blunt on its top. Its optimal length usually depends on the length of the user's forearm. Most often, its length varies from 37 to 50 cm, as well as its weight which ranges from 1.5 to around 2 kg. Two shorter tines (shields) on each side on the dagger's handle are turned upwards and are used for blocking, catching and breaking the attacker's weapon, for example, a stick, knife, dagger, halberd or a Samurai sword – katana.

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Martial Arts Bowing
Courtesy: Two Cranes Aikido

Don't you just want to try your great-great-great-great-great-great grandmother's recipe from the Paleolithic era?

Obviously, if it is old, it must be perfect--even if it means having to scavenge meat from wooly mammals and eating it with never-been-washed hands.

Er, right?

Maybe that isn't always true.

Unfortunately, many of us martial artists feel the equivalent. At times, we swear by our traditions--or even our entire style--simply because they are steeped in history.

Old martial art traditions (such as specialized bows, the usage of foreign phrases, and moving the body in specific ways) have many important offerings to the modern man, including legitimate self defense tactics and movement concepts, but only if we properly study them.

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Judo is a way to effectively use both your physical and spiritual strength. By training you in attacks and defenses, it refines your body and your soul, and it helps you make the spiritual essence of judo a part of your very being. In this way, you are able to strive toward self-perfection and contribute something of value to the world.

—Jigoro Kano, judo founder

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Classical Japanese Martial Arts

An American Who Went to Japan and Discovered Himself

Ellis Amdur has a lot to say about the martial arts. The author of numerous internet essays, books, novels and even a dozen psychology manuals on how to deal with violence, he isn't shy about sharing his opinions, either. But unlike the majority of people who pontificate on martial arts, Amdur is someone you should definitely listen to.

A mental-health professional specializing in crisis intervention and a consultant for law-enforcement agencies, Amdur is one of the few Westerners who hold certificates of full mastery from two Japanese koryu systems. He's also one of the most iconoclastic martial artists you'll find, as comfortable banging away in a boxing gym as he is practicing traditional sword forms in a classical dojo or working on Chinese internal-strength exercises.

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