Japanese Sai

The sai is a weapon found prominently in Okinawa. The sai are often believed to have originated as an agricultural tool used to measure stalks, plow fields, or to hold cart wheels in place, though the evidence for this is limited. Its basic form is that of an unsharpened dagger, with two long, unsharpened projections, tsuba, attached to the handle. Sai are constructed in a variety of forms. Some are smooth, while others have an octagonal middle prong. The tsuba are traditionally symmetrical, however, the Manji design developed by Taira Shinken employs oppositely facing tsuba.

The sai’s utility as a weapon is reflected in its distinctive shape. With skill, it can be used effectively against a long sword by trapping the sword’s blade in the sai’s tsuba. It has been alleged that skilled users were able to snap a caught blade with a twist of the hand. There are several different ways of wielding the sai in the hands, which give it the versatility to be used both lethally and non-lethally

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