The contributions of these five gentlemen are recognised in a way that only 9 others before them have been. Their contributions to the advancement of karate/kobudo in Okinawa and around the world are amazing, and it is pleasing to see the esteem in which they are held to be recognised by the Okinawan government.
One of the Okinawan weapons we use at the Kengokan Dojo in our buki-ho (aka kobudo, kobujutsu or bukijutsu) practice is the sai (iron truncheon). Whilst traditional sai came were wrapped with rope or occasionally leather, or simply had a bare handle, most modern sai are wrapped with the same material often used on cheaper tennis racquets.
For a long time, I’ve wanted to get a pair of sai with a rope grip, but these are (to my knowledge) only available from Shureido in Okinawa, and a quite expensive to import to Australia. Plan B was to re-wrap my existing pairs of sai, and as the old grips got worse and worse, the time finally came to do just that.
Not being a handy-man sort of guy, I stumbled across a wonderful Youtube video on re-wrapping sai by Ernie of Ernie’s Budo Lab. So I set aside a weekend afternoon, and got on with the job of stripping the remaining tennis grip handle off 2 pairs of sai, and replacing with a rope grip handle.
It was pretty straight forward. I got some rope, superglue and some of that non-slip stuff you put at the bottom of kitchen draws and tool boxes. After a couple of hours, I had two pairs of sai that have wonderful new wraps. Apart from feeling more “authentic”, these rope handles are great to work with. They feel better in the hands, and are a much firmer grip.
Until I can next get to Okinawa to buy some Shureido sai, any new sai I get will immediately have the grip removed and replaced by rope. Its better all round.
As a keen scuba instructor-trainer, I am a big believer in advocating self defence in our oceanic adventures. But mostly in defending ourselves from the silly antics of people. Marine life is seldom a problem, but is headline making whenever an “attack” occurs….