釵打ち Sai Uchi (Strikes) Drill

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This set of Sai Strikes is a set of Kobudo Kihon or basics. Kobudo is the use of traditional Okinawan Weapons including the sai (metal truncheon).

This is the second of three Sai drills that we practice in the kobudo program I run at The Academy of Traditional Karate. This set of basic sai strikes is a good place to start working with the sai after the basic set of sai blocks.


Sai Uchi Freeze-Frame Step-by-Step Breakdown

Sai Uchi is a kobudo Sai Kihon drill which focuses on four simple sets of basic Sai strikes including Reverse Front Strikes, Reverse Open Down Strikes, Double Strikes and Double Swinging Strikes.

Each strike is done four times, alternating Right and Left hands, returning to Yoi position between each strike. The stances alternate between stepping left and right into Zenkutsu-dachi (front leaning stance). The Sai strikes are practiced on both the right and left sides with four repetitions of each strike. Only the first strike with the Right hand (stepping forward Left into Zenkutsu-dachi) is shown in the below freeze frames for reference, but all four repetitions of each strike are shown in the practice video.

[Note: The photos below are freeze frames from the live action practice video, so they are not as perfect as if they were specifically posed photos for each move.]

Opening Sequence

A) Kiotsuke (attention): Stand at attention in Musubi-dachi with both Sai closed in L hand.
B) Rei (bow).
C) Yoi (ready position): Bring Sai in front of you. Take one closed in each hand. Bring hands down to the sides and step out to L Soto Hachiji-dachi (like Pinan kata).

Reverse Front Strikes

1) Closed reverse blunt strike to sternum. (Snap rotate hand just like punch.)
2) Open reverse stab to stomach.

Reverse Open Down Strikes

3/4/5A) Open reverse low across body.
The following three open Reverse down strikes begin the same way. Bring Sai down across body and switch from the closed grip to an open grip. Be sure to complete the grip transition before beginning to swing into the strike. Then swing the Sai arcing up and back down to each of the next three targets; opponent’s collar bone on your front foot side, down to the top of the opponent’s head, or around your head down to the collar bone on your back foot side.
3) After open reverse low across body, swing Sai up and arc Sai diagonally down to strike forward foot collar bone.
4) After open reverse low across body, swing Sai up and arc down center to strike top of head.
5A) After open reverse low across body, swing Sai up around head to the back foot side.
5B) Continue arcing the Sai diagonally down to strike the collar bone.

Double Strikes

6) Double closed front blunt strikes to ribs. (Rotate hands just like double punches.)
7) Double closed blunt strikes, front-hand low, palm up, back-hand higher, palm down. (Like FK II)
8) Angled Shiko-dachi. Striking closed butts together, palms in, smashing sides of bent over head.
9) Double open front stabs to both sides of stomach.

Double Swinging Strikes

10A) Double open down.
10B) Swing sai back, up and over.
10C) Strike down to both collar bones.
11A) Cross open in front of face.
11B) Swing Sai over and around head.
11C) Strike sides of head.
12A) Cross open in front of face.
12B) Swing Sai over and around head.
12C) Strike sides of ribs.

Closing Sequence

A) L step in to Musubi-dachi while taking both Sai closed in L hand.
B) Kiotsuke (attention). Both Sai closed in L hand down by side.
C) Rei (bow).

Sai Uchi (Strikes) PDF Reference Sheet

The following PDF reference sheet is a distillation of all the moves in the drill to use as reference while learning and practicing the Sai drill. It is useful to help you remember what all the moves are until they are committed to muscle memory or for review to remember them after returning to the drill if it hasn’t been practiced in a while. I had created this reference sheet when I was first learning the drill myself. I hope it helps you as much as it helped me.

Download Sai Uchi (Strikes) Drill PDF Reference Sheet

Sai-Uchi-Strikes-10-25-22


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-Renshi Mike Scaramozzino


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