Sai's

Karate Dad

Yellow Belt
Joined
Feb 21, 2005
Messages
33
Reaction score
1
Location
Burlington, CT
I can't seem to find a pair of Sai's I like. I currently use a fairly standard pair of chrome sai's when I train but I am looking for a lightweight pair I can use during competitions. The aluminum Sai's I've seen (sold by Century, I think) don't have enough weight in the tip or handle to effectively spin them to/from defensive and offensive positions (although they do come in blue or pink :rolleyes: ). What are you folks using? Any ideas on who is selling lightweight, competition sai's?

John
 

RRouuselot

Master of Arts
Joined
May 6, 2004
Messages
1,540
Reaction score
70
Location
Tokyo
Karate Dad said:
I can't seem to find a pair of Sai's I like. I currently use a fairly standard pair of chrome sai's when I train but I am looking for a lightweight pair I can use during competitions. The aluminum Sai's I've seen (sold by Century, I think) don't have enough weight in the tip or handle to effectively spin them to/from defensive and offensive positions (although they do come in blue or pink :rolleyes: ). What are you folks using? Any ideas on who is selling lightweight, competition sai's?

John
No offense but why don't you just get stronger instead of buying a pair of cheap light weight sai?
The Sai, if used properly, develop good arm and shoulder strength which add power to your hand strikes.
 
OP
K

Karate Dad

Yellow Belt
Joined
Feb 21, 2005
Messages
33
Reaction score
1
Location
Burlington, CT
No offense taken.

I have tennis elbow which sai training isn't helping! I do have a series of exercises that are intended to help strengthen the area but it seems that I am always tweaking the injury. The quick fix is to lighten the weapon.

This approach is also consistent with with what healthy competitors are doing with their weapons. Competition swords, bo staffs, kamas and 'chuks are exceedingly light (not cheap either). In traditional weapon kata divisions, the weight of the weapon isn't as much of a problem since you are using the weapon in the manner it was intended. In open kata divisions, it tends to be all about "the flash"; the number and types of spins and releases one does with the weapon directly impacts your score. (Assuming that everyone has good basics of course.) In these cases, the lighter the weapon, the easier it is to accomplish more complicated manuevers.

John
 

Matt Stone

Master of Arts
Joined
Dec 4, 2001
Messages
1,711
Reaction score
30
Location
Fort Lewis, Washington
Karate Dad said:
I have tennis elbow which sai training isn't helping! I do have a series of exercises that are intended to help strengthen the area but it seems that I am always tweaking the injury. The quick fix is to lighten the weapon.

But what is the long term solution? Perhaps you should continue to work with the regularly weighted weapon, with less crispness and at a slower pace, to help strengthen the muscles, tendons and ligaments rather than rush off to compete...?

This approach is also consistent with with what healthy competitors are doing with their weapons. Competition swords, bo staffs, kamas and 'chuks are exceedingly light (not cheap either). In traditional weapon kata divisions, the weight of the weapon isn't as much of a problem since you are using the weapon in the manner it was intended. In open kata divisions, it tends to be all about "the flash"; the number and types of spins and releases one does with the weapon directly impacts your score. (Assuming that everyone has good basics of course.) In these cases, the lighter the weapon, the easier it is to accomplish more complicated manuevers.

And you reach a crossroads in your training... You said in another thread that you and your daughters were studying martial arts, at least in part, for the self-defense aspect of it. You also lamented saying that their technique appeared satisfactory for such purposes, but they were having difficulty defending themselves in tournaments...

I'm beginning to think you aren't getting your money's worth...

If the instruction your two black belt eligible children and you are receiving is guiding you toward "the flash" of competition, impractical exercises, and an inability to use your skills against a competitor in a safe, rules-heavy environment, I have to question what it is you are really learning.

1) I have never seen a traditional school, with a strong bent toward practical self-defense training, do poorly in competition. Quite the opposite. Crisp, clean, predictable techniques to defend against are far easier to deal with than sloppy, unpredictable "street" methods. The only difficulty I've ever seen from the above mentioned students was a tendency to hit harder than was allowed... Due directly to their regular training to strike and disable an opponent, not just score a point.

2) If you are interested in competition, that's fine, but be very firmly aware that it means absolutely nothing in regards to your ability as a martial artist to successfully deal with an aggressive and persistent attacker.

3) If you are studying a traditional style (I believe you stated you were), then what is the difference between the kata you are learning and performing in the traditional division, and the kata you are performing in the open division? Are you, your daughters, or your teacher "making up" kata for competition?

There are a couple different issues at hand. I'd encourage you to stay the traditional course and avoid "the flash" at all costs. It is purposeless and does nothing more than serve the ego. The development of genuine skill, I find, is far more satisfying than a tournament win (and I used to participate in tournaments, won a few, lost a few, so I'm not speaking as a person who has never competed).

Enjoy.
 
R

rmcrobertson

Guest
I'm with Mr. Stone. Partly because I say, "sais, schmais, who cares," but because I absolutely agree that this is anything but realistic training.

If you want ESPN, well, just remember, it's magnificent, but it ain't martial arts. (Of course, China does have a history of pretty much the same sort of "show," kung fus.) More to the point, if you're having elbow problems, you simply have to completely stop that aspect of your training for a while. Lighter weapons won't help that much--elbows aren't the most robust joints in the body (they'rw actually about the most vulnerable) and whipping even light weights around, using the elbows as the pivot point of your personal centrifuges, is going to strain the hell out of them.

One last point--most of us (and I certainly mean me) simply do not have the genetics for professional competition. It ain't gonna happen, any more than endless hoops practice would've made me Michael Jordan or even Larry Bird. 99 & 44/100s of us are infinitely better off--stronger, better skilled, more capable of defending ourselves--if we just study the plain old art.

Even the Jordans and the Birds and the rest of the pros, remember, pay heavily as they age for what they're tortured their body into doing.
 

Matt Stone

Master of Arts
Joined
Dec 4, 2001
Messages
1,711
Reaction score
30
Location
Fort Lewis, Washington
rmcrobertson said:
Even the Jordans and the Birds and the rest of the pros, remember, pay heavily as they age for what they're tortured their body into doing.

I'm 36, and thanks to the unforgiving nature of military service, coupled with congenital issues, I now have 2 herniated discs, 1 dessicated disc, degenerative joint disease and arthritis... While I can sympathize with tennis elbow pain, I personally refuse to sacrifice the standards of my training in order to compensate for my physical limitations. I find ways around my physical limitations that don't erode the standards of my training.

In the end, we all get old, break down, and die... Sad, but true.
 

RRouuselot

Master of Arts
Joined
May 6, 2004
Messages
1,540
Reaction score
70
Location
Tokyo
Karate Dad said:
No offense taken.

I have tennis elbow which sai training isn't helping! I do have a series of exercises that are intended to help strengthen the area but it seems that I am always tweaking the injury. The quick fix is to lighten the weapon.

This approach is also consistent with with what healthy competitors are doing with their weapons. Competition swords, bo staffs, kamas and 'chuks are exceedingly light (not cheap either). In traditional weapon kata divisions, the weight of the weapon isn't as much of a problem since you are using the weapon in the manner it was intended. In open kata divisions, it tends to be all about "the flash"; the number and types of spins and releases one does with the weapon directly impacts your score. (Assuming that everyone has good basics of course.) In these cases, the lighter the weapon, the easier it is to accomplish more complicated manuevers.

John
By “cheap” I wasn’t referring to the price but rather the realistic quality.

I think people should train with real weapons since it gives the person a better perspective, respect, and concentration on how to use the weapon.

For example I never use fake kama with a blunted edge. Using a “live blade” increases your concentration and respect for their use.

Years ago I saw one very famous karate historian/author using fake kama doing a kama kata once that had two kama tied together like nunchaku and he was flipping them around just like you would a pair of “chucks”, going between the legs and around his neck and so on.

I was pretty disgusted by the display since this guy is “supposed” to be some sort of authority on karate…..



My teacher has always said “martial arts are for your whole life, not just while you are young”. I think it’s true. Mr. Uehara of Motobu Ryu practiced until he was 100 years old.

I met him while he was in his mid 90’s and he was still very strong for a man half his age.

I say forget the "flash" stuff and go with what will keep you alive by protecting you and making you healthy in the long run.
 

The Kai

Master of Arts
Joined
Apr 15, 2004
Messages
1,925
Reaction score
33
Either train with a weapon or don't, do not litter the landscape with more baton twirling

Tournaments-enter have fun, keep the prespective. Learn to adapt your fighting to the enviromnet without scraficing quality
 

Mark Lynn

Master Black Belt
Joined
Apr 21, 2003
Messages
1,345
Reaction score
183
Location
Roanoke TX USA
John

I would agree with the other posts so far, stay with the real material instead of the fake, in both training and in competion. Or to put it another way, why spend time learning something fake.

The sensei who use to teach me kobudo always stressed the importance of having, maintianing and training with real weapons. And real weapons are more expensive than fake ones (at least the last time I checked :rolleyes: ). There is something about the increased concetration level you achieve when performing a kata with live steel (sharp blades) when if you make a mistake you pay in real pain and damage to yourself. I speak from experience here as I sliced open my forearm with my kama due to a loss of concetration while practicing a kata.

If practicing two man drills (like we do in the FMA systems) here I do advocate using practice weapons (dull edged weapons) for safety sake for both people. But here again I think you need good quality impact weapons if you are practicing strikes and such.

Mark
 
OP
K

Karate Dad

Yellow Belt
Joined
Feb 21, 2005
Messages
33
Reaction score
1
Location
Burlington, CT
Thanks for all the input...I want to stress that I'm fully aware that competiton in no way approximates real life. I find tournaments to be fun, nothing more, nothing less. It has nothing to do with the hardware...don't get me wrong, winning is much more fun than losing and I also find there is more to learn from a loss than a win. In all cases none of it has anything to do with what is learned at the karate school or how that applies to a real life situation. If anyone in my family is approached by someone intent on doing us harm, I don't expect a gymnastic move that scores well in a karate tournament to do much good for any of us.

I think competition is fun and we have met lots of good people over the past few years. My instructor is aware of our participation on the tournament circuit and has not pushed us to do anything. In the open divisions we have essentially made up forms that are based on some of the traditional kata we have learned but fit better with what is expected by the judges in these open divisions. My comment about "the flash" was what was expected by the judges...not by my instructor nor does it express my expectation of what karate is all about. It is simply meeting the minimum requirement of what is expected by sport karate..quite a different animal than the martial art that is taught at my school.
To reiterate a key point...sport karate techniques will never do anything to help me defend myself or my loved ones. It is a fun diversion.

Thanks
John
 
Top