Thank you. I'll check into those asap. The B&N near me doesn't have that great of a martial arts section unless your looking for karate, kung fu or tai chi. Other arts or the more focused titles are special order only. The Borders is about the same (lots of yoga books though)
I've been doing some minor work outs doing Sinwallis with Sais. Its different. (Real real loud) heh. My only question at this point is where can I find some good quality sai's? I paid about $65 a pair for these and after 15 minutes they are beaten to hell. Were supposed to be steel, but I think they are really aluminum or chrome.
I've found that both waldenbooks and B daltons are lacking a bit in both the PC and the MA area. I'm planning a trip to Erie PA in the next few weeks, the Borders there was decent, will have to check out their MA section.
Never thought about used shops (most of the ones by me seem to be drowning in old romance and cowboy novels.) Will have to take another look.
Looks like im gonna have to do a real hunt for quality Sais. If I find em, I'll post the source.
Your points are well taken and true. At one time oddessy carried sai designed by Taika Oyata. They were long and the tines were straight and sharp and the handle had a cone shaped butt. They were perfectly balanced and a true fighting sai. I have used them before and they are the real deal. They sold for $295. I have sent and email off to oddessy to see if they are still available. I'll keep you posted when they get back to me.
The book by Patrick McCarthy is really good. There is a Sai kata in the book but a lot of the book is historical information. You guys should really consider looking at www.half.com for some books. I recently purchased Dan Inosanto's book "Filipino Martial Arts" for $6.50. I have seen this book on Ebay for $65 or more.
As a general rule, you can take any hand form and run it with the sais. Some of the forms lend themselves to this application quite nicely.
I recall learning gojushiho ("fifty-four steps") as both an open-hand form and as a sai form and feeling simlarly.
With respect to books, there is the recent Saijutsu: Traditional Okinawan Weapon Art by Katsumi Murakami (Charles E Tuttle Co., 2000). I have seen it at our local bookstore within the past few weeks and it's at www.amazon.com as well.
The second of the five Pinan (or Heian) series of basic katas that are common to many styles of Japanese karate and other arts (e.g. the first several Tae Kwon Do forms are based on them, I believe). They were created in Okinawa as a simplified introduction to karate for schoolchildren then incorporated into Shotokan.
Pinan Nidan is taught first by some schools, before Pinan Shodan (the first one), because it's considered easier.
You've seen them before. Look right, step out into a forward stance, down block, step forward,reverse punch, turn back forward...aspects of them made their way into the Modern Arnis anyos as well. You would almost certainly recognize them.
I have a book called "Nunchaku and Sai: Ancient Okinawan Martial Arts" written by Ryusho Sakagami. It was originally published in 1974. I have a tenth printing published in 1984 that I picked up at a used bookstore several years ago. It's ISBN number is 0-87040-333-8
Three-fourths of the book is devoted to nunchaku, but it does cover basic gripping and flipping of the sai, and provides a basic kata, which the author calls the 'Tawada sai basic kata'. It doesn't look terribly difficult, provided you are familiar with basic karate stances (back stance, forward stance, etc.)
Check your local Barnes & Noble. I think you might be surprised by what you find. My local B&N has the ubiquitous Fumio Demura book, as well as one other sai book (whose title escape's me). Also, there are a couple of fairly new books by Patrick McCarthy (sp?) on Okinawan karate, and at least one of them has kobudo kata, including the sai, I think.
Yes, sai are traditionaly made of one piece of steel forged to the familiar pronged shape. The sai I have (and most people, for that matter), is made of two pieces of metal intertwined and then plated with chrome...usually the metal is aluminum or some crappy steel.
I've searched for 'real' sai, and have had no luck lately. I know I found some on the 'Net about 6 years ago, but I can't find that site now. I'll just use my sai for forms practice and not worry about combat application with them.
Too bad about your B&N. I've had good luck with Borders as well, but that was when I lived in Tampa. There isn't one nearby in this part of FL. We had a store called Books-a-million that had a somewhat decent MA section, but they've closed down for now. Supposedly opening up again soon. I still maintain that I have a better MA library than most bookstores. Most of my better finds have been in used bookstores in the Tampa area. You may want to check out your local used bookstores. You really never know what you'll find. If you find one that seems to have a fairly good selection, get in good with the owner. I did that when I was in Tampa and the owner would always show me the latest MA stuff he'd gotten in whenever I visited his shop. Didn't even have to hunt the shelves...he'd have 'em ready for me to look through.
PS From what I've heard, B&N owns Waldenbooks and Border's own B. Dalton's...may want to check those stores out as well. Tampa had a standalone Waldenbooks that had a few good titles.
Good luck in your search. I may have been lucky with the used bookstores, since I was in a pretty decently sized city at the time (Tampa/St. Petersburg). I have yet to check the used bookstores around here, but I'm itching to do so now.
Please let us know if you find a source for 'authentic' sai. I'm sure they'll cost a pretty penny.