"Okinawan Training Sai"-style Premium Quality Sai
We have made Okinawan Training Sai-style Karate Sai. These are our higher quality take of an old pair Hanshi "Willie" Adams had obtained from Okinawa. With a traditional Okinawan Sai the widest point of the blade is adjacent to the hilt. On a training Sai the weight is heavier than a traditional Sai of the same blade length and the widest point of the blade is down the blade towards the tip from the hilt. These Sai are designed for open air training only, including the incidental contact of crossing your Sai against your other Sai in the kata. They are not to be used for Kotekitai of any kind, whether smashing Sai against body or Sai against another person's Sai repetitively.
These should not be your first pair of Sai. If you are physically able and can afford it, get an appropriately weighted high-quality combat Sai for your first pair. Once you are in the groove on Sai, our Training Sai are to help you get to the next level. Train with these and combat Sai, show with combat Sai. That said, the time to strike is when the opportunity presents itself. If you have the bucks you might want to snag these high-quality Sai when they are available. Note that these Sai were machined and welded rather than cast (a more expensive and better method of construction than casting).
The blade length and weight of the 25 pair in the limited production run is, approximately 14 1/2 inches and 830 grams, respectively. That weight is about 7% to 10% heavier than the corresponding length Shureido and Shureido-like custom Sai but the feel is dramatically different. Total length, very roughly, is 20 6/16" to 20 7/16" (it's tough to give a single precise number due to the rounded butt, the rounded tip, and the handmade nature). That is about 1 cm longer than the comparable Shureido model and results from the use of a spherical butt, which is good to keep your hand on the grip but not good if you want to use the butt cap it as part of the grip (which you can do with an easily-machined cylindrical butt).
These training Sai are made from French stainless steel, professionally heat treated, and polished to a mirror finish. We regard the precise type of steel and exact hardness as a "trade secret." Too hard and the weapon shatters. Too soft and it bends, dents easily, and is no longer suitable for use as a weapon. There is no chrome or plating. We believe this level of finish is a Sai first and sets the standard for quality.
Modell Design LLC and the forge (which is NOT in Okinawa) have tremendous experience making steel weapons that flip due to leadership in the high-quality end of the Gung Fu Butterly Sword field. The balance on these Training Sai is outstandingly good.
The Training Sai are cord wrapped with a blue lightening pattern cord. No sheath or case is included.
Here are the caveats:
1) Combat Sai are weapons. If you impale, scrape or bash yourself or others with one you can do serious damage. The tip and tines are usually not sharpened but can still tear a Karate uniform or flesh. If you flip the Sai back to a reverse grip and smash the blade at full speed into your forearm bone, or lock the Sai with the same result, rather than retracting rapidly then finishing with a soft close as taught by Hanshi Adams to Master Modell, you can inter alia break, fracture or micro-fracture bone. Since Training Sai are heavier than combat Sai this pair can do magnified damage (total damage will vary based factors including weight, speed and how you performed the technique).
2) We are backing the steel portion of the Sai with a limited warranty that essentially says if it is not as designed and the issue arises within the limited warranty period, we will replace it or give you a refund, but if you manage to hurt yourself, anyone or property, that's entirely on you. If a Sai breaks outside the limited warranty period as a result of normal use, please notify Modell Design LLC ASAP as we may, in our sole absolute discretion, refund in full when we think it is the right thing to do. There is no warranty of fitness for a particular use beyond a lack of material differences between the two Sai in pair. If we did that someone would find a way to get around the exclusion for damage beyond replacement cost. There is no warranty on the cord wrap but it's really good. Sai wraps get loose or otherwise wear out. If you do not like our cord diameter, cord color, cord material or wrap, feel free to replace it with other cord, tennis racket tape, hockey tape, or just leave the steel exposed.
3) Weapons-grade stainless steels are not stainless, they are stain resistant to varying degrees. That means they tarnish or rust if you fail to care for them. Anytime you touch the steel (finger oil, sweat) you should clean them after use. We advise using non-acidic liquid dishwasher soap and water run down the blade (not under the wrap) and tines, then on the butt with the butt down, in a large kitchen or laundry room sink then promptly dry. Do not put in the dishwasher or the Sai will rust. Do not use liquid hand soap because it is acidic and will induce corrosion.
4) Over time bashing blade against blade or other steel or stone will mar the finish with scratches and/or dents. Some of this can be polished out though one would have to ask why bother. There is no chrome to chip off. Is it possible to break the blade or other parts of the weapon? Absolutely; we have yet to see a weapon that could not be bent or broken. One fellow dropped a Busse knife of a cliff. If you have any question as to the quality of our Training Sai, talk to someone who has used one.
5) These Sai are handmade using construction that includes machining, grinding and welding the tines to the shaft. We use this method deliberately because it results in a stronger Sai than the sand-casting method, but it also means that no two Sai in a pair will be exactly alike. Measurements and weight can vary immaterially to use as a pair and tines are unlikely to be perfect mirror images.
6) There are lots of measurements for a Sai. The most common and least useful is total length. The important ones are the point of balance, sizing of the mouth of the Sai tines (there are a number of critical distances here) where your hand must fit for a reverse grip and the effective length of the blade when the Sai is held in a reverse grip. You want to avoid excessive space in the mouth as it will make it tougher and more dangerous to flip, but you do not want it so snug that you cannot hold the Sai in a reverse grip. You should be able to flip the Sai 180 degrees then back; if you can quickly rotate 360 degrees like a Tonfa the fit is off. The effective blade length is measured from the portion of the tine perpendicular to the blade where the web of your hand between thumb and index finger rests during a reverse grip along a line parallel to the blade that runs forward and stops on a plumb line from the tip. You want the handle to be long enough so that in a forward grip you can comfortably hold the weapon with thumb on the tine/blade intersection (and not beyond the steel where it can get bashed or cut) but not so long as to get in the way of use.
In Hanshi Adams' lineage, the appropriate blade length is one inch past your elbow when the Sai is held in a reverse grip. To emphasize again, the critical point is the blade length, not the total length of the Sai. There is a good chance that your arms are not exactly the same (with the dominant side being longer). What that means is you cannot worry too much about getting the Sai length perfect. Furthermore, given the high price and limited size availability of good Sai, no one has the right to complain at a promotion if your Sai blade only reaches to the tip of the elbow during a reverse grip.