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Theochh
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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2021 3:54 am    Post subject: Sai Forms Reply with quote

Hello All

(Happy 20th anniversary KarateForums.com)

I've recently become very interested in martial arts weapons and in particular the Sai. I'm keen to know if there are official \ traditional Sai forms that people practice, or is it left to the individual to "create" their own forms?

Thanks All
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Wado Heretic
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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2021 5:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are eight Tsaigata in the Taira-Ha line that I practice. To my knowledge five of the eight have some historical lineage.

Chatan Yara is attributed to the same line as Chatan Yara Kusanku and some form of it likely dates back to 17th/18th century. Kojo no Sai is supposedly related to the kobujutsu of Kojo-Ryu and was potentially practiced in Okinawa as early as the 17th Century. Tawada no Sai is attributed to Tawada Shinzaku and cannot really be dated prior to his lifetime which was the latter half of the 19th century.

Hamahiga no Sai is a regional tradition to the island of Hamahiga that has some age to it. Hama Udun Yakā no Sai, or Yakā no Sai as it is better known, is again a kata with apparent centuries long tradition that comes from the Yonaburo region. How old they may be, however, is hard to trace. They could easily date back only to Taira Shinken's teachers and be no older.

I believe Tsuken Shitahaku no Sai to be a modern invention as it contains ten combinations common to the other seven kata. Jigen no Sai, also called Manji as it can be performed or should be performed with a manji style tzai, is also likely a modern invention due to the tool used but also it contains techniques from both Chatan Yara and Kojo no Sai implying a derivative nature.

Hanta-gwā no Sai I am currently researching. It is largely an abridgement of Hama Higa no Sai with subtle variations of the technique combinations of Hama Higa no Sai. It could be quite an old tradition being a Dai or Sho version of the earlier kata, or it could be a fairly modern invention. The earliest mentions I can find of it are via Taira Shinken's works.

The oldest traditions of the Sai are from Malaysia where there exists a near identical weapon called the Tekpi. They are also used in pairs as in Okinawa.

The only Chinese traditions I know of regarding the sai, which are called Gen in China, come from White Crane and Hung Kuen. Traditions that go back to the 17th and 18th Century respectively.

In Japan there are many traditions that use the Jutte though most date to the Edo period at the earliest. They are also largely practiced as kumigata, or paired rehearsals of techniques. I personally have adapted five kumigata from the Chosui ha Kukamishin-Ryu for Jutte to the Sai as exercises in using a lone sai. They are sufficiently similar weapons that I think you can consider Jutte forms a kind of sai form.

The sai or use of the sai is, comparatively speaking, young compared to some weapon traditions. After all, we can trace some systemic approaches to the Sword, Spear, and Staff back over half a millennium or older still.

I believe this is because of several factors which make iron truncheons practical solutions. Periods of relative peace and of high material wealth where the major martial concern was policing. This is why I think we can only track most Sai traditions back a couple of centuries to when such items were of use, and practical to make. Their existence coincides with relative peace for the regions they are found within, and increased material assets such as easier access to iron.

The short answer to your question is that there are a number of traditional forms of sai practice. Just that they are not that old compared to some other weapons traditions.
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Zaine
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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2021 7:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wado gives a lot of great information here. If you go to YouTube and search "no sai" a lot of Sai kata show up. For me, I learned Ananku at 5th kyu and then Ananku no Sai at 3rd. I would say that most Japanese (and specifically Okinawan) styles tend to have Sai kata so if you find a style from these regions near you that you're interested I would definitely call them.
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Fat Cobra
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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2021 8:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For the Sai, the United Ryukyu Kempo Alliance has 2 Kata:

Kunioshi no Sai
Uhugushiku no Sai
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Wado Heretic
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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2021 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Before I forget, there is Matsu Higa no Sai which is historically attributed to Higa Matsu Peechin. A semi-mythological figure, it is said that Higa Peechin lived from 1663-1738 and demonstrated Tode and Saijutsu to the 5th Tokugawa shogun, Tokugawa Tsunoyoshi, during a trip to Edo to participate in a Go tournament. If the attribution is true then Matsu Higa no Sai could be at least three centuries old. Personally, I think it is a variation of Hamahiga no Sai mistakenly attributed to Higa Matsu Peechin. That said, Higa Peechin was said to come from the isle of Hamahiga and so they could be different versions of the same kata that evolved differently, and Matsu Higa no Sai does indeed come from the version Matsu Higa taught.

Is that Kuniyoshi no Sai same as the one also known as Nakamura or Nakaima no Sai?

I have not heard of Anaku no Sai I must admit. Which lineage is that?
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Zaine
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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2021 8:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wado Heretic wrote:
Before I forget, there is Matsu Higa no Sai which is historically attributed to Higa Matsu Peechin. A semi-mythological figure, it is said that Higa Peechin lived from 1663-1738 and demonstrated Tode and Saijutsu to the 5th Tokugawa shogun, Tokugawa Tsunoyoshi, during a trip to Edo to participate in a Go tournament. If the attribution is true then Matsu Higa no Sai could be at least three centuries old. Personally, I think it is a variation of Hamahiga no Sai mistakenly attributed to Higa Matsu Peechin. That said, Higa Peechin was said to come from the isle of Hamahiga and so they could be different versions of the same kata that evolved differently, and Matsu Higa no Sai does indeed come from the version Matsu Higa taught.

Is that Kuniyoshi no Sai same as the one also known as Nakamura or Nakaima no Sai?

I have not heard of Anaku no Sai I must admit. Which lineage is that?
I got it from Matsumura Seito Shorin Ryu, from Soken, Kise, Coffman, Gagne, and then my teacher.
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Miick 11
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PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2021 10:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do 3 . We went through them this morning at Saturday class.

Soken no Sai ichi, ni and san - as I was informed they where called . I have seen two similar ( 1 & 3 on youtube called 'Soken no Sai ' , which looks like our 1st one and 'Soken no Sai Dai' , which looks like our 3rd one . One can tell its the same kata but ours are very different . I dont really understand some practitioners 'lack of dynamic' , in these performances and the way they execute some of the moves makes me wonder what they are imagining they are doing ? They often do things I had been specifically instructed NOT to do with a sai . Certain footwork and 'tai - sabaki' seems missing as well - its as if as soon as the weapon is in hand , the 'reliance' on that detracts from the important basics .

Regarding origin , who knows ? ( Maybe Wado Heretic ? ) Supposedly they came from Soken through Ted Lange . Ted passed on recently, but some months previous to that I was visiting him and mentioned these 3 sai kata , by the above name , and he had a guffaw at that and said " Soken got them from ...... " , but I cant remember the name .

So if they came through Ted ( here in Australia ) , I wonder where that name came from ? Usually I find our specific style here and its difference from other Soken derived MAs is due to transition through Kosei Nishihira ( whom Ted considered Soken's 'heir' and our 'Head Teacher' ) . But my instructor ( who trained under Ted and in Okinawa under Nishihira ) told me he never saw Nishihira put his hand to a weapon .

?

In any case , our particular forms are different from the other Soken ones I have seen on line . As is the concept of 'performance' .
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Wado Heretic
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PostPosted: Sat May 22, 2021 3:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was under the impression that Ananku was a creation of Kyan Chotoku and largely passed down via the Matsubayashi-Ryu line. I know there are two versions: the Okinawan version found in Matsubayashi-Ryu and a Japanese version found in Shi'to-Ryu. At what point in the line did it find its way into Matsumura Seito Shorin Ryu, and is Ananku no Sai just a variation of unnarmed Ananku performed with Sai?

The only Sai kata I know that can likely be attributed to Matsumura Soken is Tawada no Sai. The Soken no Sai I have seen bears a strong resemblance to Tsuken Shitahaku no Sai which I have mentioned before I believe to be a relatively modern invention. Although it is attributed to the 17th Century administrator Shitahaku Oyakata I consider that unlikely due to a number of factors. Primarily the unusual naming structure, but also how the ten combinations within it seem to appear in some form through the rest of the Saijutsu canon of Okinawan Kobudo: in a manner that seems intentional rather than incidental as it would be if it was an ancestor form to the other kata. Plus, its use of the horizontal fist alignment, as per modern karate, rather than vertical alignment as per classical saijutsu. Having looked up Soken no Sai Dai I would say it has some elements common with Hama Higa no Sai, though it might be closer to Hanta-gwā no Sai, but there is a lot that wanders into lalaland in the versions I have been able to find. That is to say there is a lot of waving of the sai in a manner you would not use the sai if you are aiming to emphasise its strong points as a weapon. I suspect that may be down to the practitioners I have found though.

If I was to make an educated guess at a potential source I would have to say Matayoshi feels likely. Just based on the resemblance of the kata to several in the Matayoshi canon.
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sensei8
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PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2021 9:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Official?? Not in an all over general terms. Each style of the MA has their "official" Sai Kata's, and then there's the Governing Bodies "official" Sai Kata's, and then there's the CI/Dojo "official" Sai Kata's....or for anything, and not just the Sai.

Many Dojo's CI allow their students at the brown belt, at the earliest, to choose a weapon to "create" their own weapons Kata. That is the means of gauging the maturity and understanding of the students acquiring knowledge and experience; maturity, being the key words here.

To be for sure, the Sai Kata's have there origins, and I don't dispute that history whatsoever. Splintering off this way and that way, and over time, that which was clear and understood, has now slowly become blurred as to what's the correct answer for the correct question in anything the MA.

Can it be that we'll never be satisfied with anything in the MA; we'll agree to disagree no matter what MA wise!!??



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Zaine
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PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2021 7:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wado Heretic wrote:
I was under the impression that Ananku was a creation of Kyan Chotoku and largely passed down via the Matsubayashi-Ryu line. I know there are two versions: the Okinawan version found in Matsubayashi-Ryu and a Japanese version found in Shi'to-Ryu. At what point in the line did it find its way into Matsumura Seito Shorin Ryu, and is Ananku no Sai just a variation of unnarmed Ananku performed with Sai?


Fusei Kise happens to be a Yondan in Shorinji-Ryu and taught Coffman the Shorinji kata that shows up in the American versions of MSSR. He later stopped teaching it and did not carry it over to Kenshin Kan when he founded that system. So I would say that it's probably more accepted that Coffman added it, as he states that Kise didn't remember the kata later in Coffman's training. That said, you are correct in your assumption. Ananku no Sai is just the unarmed version with sai. The way it was explained to me was that Ananku no Sai was the true version and the unarmed version is to introduce it. Not sure if this is true, you know how Martial Arts legends pass down. As far as the kata's relation to Matsubayashi-Ryu, I'm not familiar enough to comment if the form made its way to me from there.

Interestingly, despite it bearing Soken's name, as far as I know MSSR (or at least the variant that I learned) had only Ananku no Sai as its Sai form. It is entirely possible that my instructor either hadn't learned or had forgotten the ones post Shodan. I can't find a reliable list for MSSR katas post Shodan so I'm not entirely sure either.
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