View Full Version : Sai grip

Liam Cognet
6th May 2004, 06:16
Can someone please give me some info Re Sai grip.

I believe that the traditional grip material for sai is hemp rope. Is this true?

How should the rope be wraped around a si handle? Materials? Technique? Should water be used to shrink the rope?

Thanks in advance,


Gene Williams
6th May 2004, 11:28
Many of the old iron sai had no wraps.

6th May 2004, 12:12
Originally posted by Gene Williams
Many of the old iron sai had no wraps.

Cool, I didn't know that. I actually prefer not having grips on my sai:


Rob Alvelais
6th May 2004, 15:23
Heed the wisdom of the Possum Master!

I'm with Gene. Lose the wrap.


6th May 2004, 23:03

I use tsuka-ito. Actually the handle gets somewhat thick with it, depending on the diameter of the naked handle, but theres is nearly nothing in this world which has not the one or the other benefit :) . The idea with hemp and also without wrap sounds good either...

Maybe also interesting in terms of traditional Sai:

Nakamoto Masahiro on Sai (http://page.freett.com/dojo/Naka_Sai.htm)
"The fact that the Ryukyuan sai took its shape from the human form can also be said to be testiment to its use as a peaceful weapon. It is also interesting to note that the old sai have rounded knobs at the tip of the shaft. More recent sai are sharpened at the tip, and one can often see practitioners throwing them through the floor at demonstrations. However, when considering the old sai, the modern ones seem to be headed down the wrong path."

7th May 2004, 06:27
I use the wrap but I have noticed the older sai do not have a wrap. I would like to try without the wrap but never seem to get around to it.

With the cord wrap I cannot stand it when the cord is twisting around and comes loose. What I do is at both ends of the wrap, I wrap it with thread and coat the thread with the clear finish one uses when you wrap a fishing pole eye. Mine have never come loose after years of use.

What is everybodies opinion / experience on the lower end sai. Do you prefer chrome or anodized?

7th May 2004, 08:11
My wrapping is fixed as it could be; it just depends on the knot. I like those guys with chrome sai and the tears in their eyes when beating and breaking bits of the chrome off with my forged steel ones. Sand blasting is another possibility, especially for photo shooting of the Sai. Otherwise it just does not fit the whole thing.

Advantage of forged steel: you really have a grip when catching the B, and of course you catch the B of every style!:p.
Disadvantage of forged steel: you always have to be very cleanly with it

Advantage of no wrapping: It swings very fast.
Disadvantage of no wrapping: If you swing very fast, and you are really sweating, Sai may become a UFO. But that doesn't matter as long you hit some potential target, like a fly on the wall or so. People will love it (especially in USA). :) (just kidding)

7th May 2004, 14:22
Ah but people do the sai dance even with a wrapping. I thought it was a weapon requirement. I love it when a newbie drops one on their foot. Doh!

8th May 2004, 03:36
It's not just the newbie that discovers weapons bite.

The bite of the weapon, should the new student survive helps them learn caution in a most intimate way. But at any time if you lose the slightest focus it can be dangerous. Especially as you age, you are forced to re-train your capabilites because of that bite. This is one of the things that keep serious kobudo study a must.

Now as for 'traditional' sai I've seen many different types. Okinawa was so metal poor sai were either imports or made with whatever metal was on hand. F. Deumra reports they were even made of lead.

My sai are 30 years old American made steel (with chrome) ones. They've a few dents, but i've never had chrome flakes to deal with.

And the wrap is the original leather golf club variety wrap. When the ends came loose decades ago I wrapped coloured electrical tape around each end to hold it on and it's done so for about 25 years now, even training in the rain.

Victor Smith
bushi no te isshinryu

Liam Cognet
9th May 2004, 00:22

Thanks for the finish advice, I'll try it. I hate when the cord twists and becomes loose too, I't makes me so mad, grrrr. I tried electrical tape on the end of my leather 'golf club' grip but it eventually came off. Super glue under the leather seems to work.

But enough about leather, I want a traditional grip which I've been lead to believe is hemp rope.

Sai ya later
(I can't believe I just typed that)


Liam Cognet
9th May 2004, 00:26
Liam here again,

Sorry about the down pointing thumb. I clicked the button and couldn't get rid of it.

18th May 2004, 20:36
I don't like the shiny chrome sai, but that may be the influence of several years in the Army and the concept of "subdued chic." :D

My sai originally (like, the mid 1980s, when they were new) had leather grips, but in a variation of the Red Green ethic, the leather has long since been repaced with black electrical tape. Electrical and duct tape may be the answer to the salvation of humanity. ;)

18th May 2004, 21:19
No wrapping on the handle is much preferred here. Chrome makes things much more difficult. The metal needs a sticky quality in order to help with many of the bunkai. Chrome can function so-so if you take them and beat the heck out of them chipping and flaking the finish off. Just take the weapons beat them together. I don't know if they are still being made but a while back people were selling black teflon coated weapons. I know some guys that bought them because they thought black look more 'traditional'. Teflon is about the last thing you want on your weapon. Bare metal is the best finish. There are techniques in saijutsu where stickiness is important. Like when you cross the monouchi ( the long pointy parts ) and kisaki (tips) 'lock' behind the yoke (the short curved prongs) of the other sai. You use this to intercept a strike from a bo then you push the two weapons together and it traps the bo, possibly taking some of the other guys fingers as you enter so need to be a little careful. Hand injuries are the most common injuries in kobudo. (smashed finger during bo practice is most common) If you don't practice bunkai or bo-sai kumite then it none of this matters. If this is the case then the entire endeavor is basically moot.

20th May 2004, 02:15
I only wrap for long trainings when my hands sweat profusely. I use cloth "hockey tape" that allows me to vary the thickness and amount of wrap. Good stuff. Ryan

28th October 2004, 22:53
Yesterday I bought parachute-cord to wrap my sai with. Maybe not the ideal but this is the best solution I have found yet. :cool:

29th October 2004, 15:41
if you take the inner lining out of the paracord, it may not be that bad...

Liam Cognet
15th November 2004, 23:09
So I in Boarders (it's a large bok store in Brisbane) and I was reading a book on classical Japanese martial arts. I do not remember the name of the book.

On section of the book was about sai. The book was about 'Japanese' martial arts so it is strange the sai were mentioned.

Any pop, various kinds of sai were pictured; modern sai which look like ones we commonly use.

A sai labled somthing like 'old or ancient sai' was pictured. This sai had a katana style grip on it and a tastle on the end like a jutte. I think that the very tip of the sai was bladed (doube edged).

How do you think you would go using a sai with a katana grip? For one thing a tsuka is not round but ovalish. I have an old tsuka at home so maybe I'll try to make one (without the blade and stand well clear of any people if I try to use it).

But ancient sai, I dunno, any one heard of these? They may or may not be Okinawan.