The Sai has
become, to many, the virtual symbol of Okinawan Kobudo. The
weapon is metal and of the truncheon class with its length dependent
upon the forearm of the user. When held it should be about 3cm
longer than the forearm and generally Sai are used in pairs.
Advanced Sai uses 3, with one held in the belt behind ready
for, and used for throwing. The tang is of the Korean classification
and the pommel is variant to round, square or multi angled types
much dependant on the emphasis of the makers usage.
The efficient use of the weapon is much reliant on the dexterity
of the practitioner with his thumbs, which the tang is balanced
and rotated on along with the loosening and tightening of the
grip from the small finger for striking and consolidating power.
The early use of the weapon makes the user appear stiff and
robotic but as the training advances the flow and unity with
body movement becomes ever more apparent. Sai is the practice
of 'Shuto' in empty hand and emphasizes the need for 'Koshi
no Chikara' (Hip power) and 'Suri Ashi' (sliding movement).
The importance of body movement and good footwork is ever more
apparent as the weapon is of a smaller classification than Bo.
Advanced practitioners must learn to throw the Sai, a difficult
requirement in view of the weight.