Getting to grips with the Sai

Raphael’s favourite weapon, the Sai, should be your’s too

The Sai, the intimidating blocking, trapping and stabbing weapon is synonymous with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Raphael, although other notable movie appearances include Neo using it to dispatch the Merovingian’s henchmen in Matrix Reload and also less-than-historically-accurately in ancient Egypt in The Mummy Returns.

Not some crude slashing and stabbing weapon, the Sai is a sophisticated weapon.  Want to know more about it?  Here is what Wikipedia has to say about the Sai.

Here are five great tutorials so you can master your first moves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Videos of kung fu guys doing mad stuff

 

Showing off for his missus

Chinese guy smashing bottles (by striking the top) and performing 30+ handless cartwheels (ariels) with hands tied behind back…oh, and some 1-finger press ups too

amazing kung fu feats breaking bottles

If you want to learn how to do the handless cartwheel seen at the end, see our page with easy-peasey guides so you to can be flipping and not face-planting in no time.

 

 

Bruce Lee with nunchuku from movies

The best nunchuku tutorials for beginners

Why you should master the nunchuks

The nunchuks (or nunchuku if you prefer) are great for improving dexterity and coordination.  I like including them in my martial arts training warm up and cool-down.

But for me, it’s all about emulating the coolness of Bruce Lee… who wouldn’t like to defeat whole schools of baddies by twirling them at lightening speed and hitting with laser accuracy?  Just click below to see him in awesome action:

Bruce Lee with nunchuku from movies

Or maybe you’re a childhood Ninja Turtle fan and you’re inspired by Michelangelo, that other well-known nunchuk exponent:

The Nunchuks are a simple weapon but mastering them takes time and practice… Buy high quality Nunchuks from http://my-martial-arts.mybigcommerce.com/nunchuku/ without this it’s very easy to do more damage to yourself than your opponent!  We’ve all seen the guys on YouTube fails whacking themselves in the nuts…don’t be one of them, at least not in public!

And don’t think they’re dangerous for your kids.  Here’s 6 years-old Ryusei Imai demonstrating that you’re never too young for nunchuks (skip to 53 seconds in the video)

Here are some great video tutorials for beginners with the essential moves to help you wield your nunchuks properly:

1 – How to use Nunchucks for beginners Part 1 – your first basic Nunchuck Drill with Sensei David

2 – How to Use Nunchucks for Beginners Part 2 – Sensei David (Figure 8 and wrist roll)

3 – What’s the front grip and what’s the back grip?  Ken Hill explains

4 – Also learn the over the shoulder pass and some other nice moves from circus nunchaku specialist Ken Hill

5 – The shoulder switch

Here’s how to do the shoulder switch.   In this one he’s using a wooden nunchuk and notice how he keeps the hand open until the nunchuk lands before grabbing it.  If you close your grip too early, or simply have your fingers curled, and the nunchuk hits the top of your finger it really really hurts!   If you’re practicing with a foam chuk, get into good practice now so you don’t suffer when you move to a wooden or metal one!

6 – Now we’re cruising, it’s time to tackle the wrist roll

This is a nice simple move to execute and impresses onlookers… once you’ve practiced it like a thousand times so you no longer drop the damn things or send them spinning off across the room. I learnt this one from a book back in the days… a video like these would have saved me so much time!

7  – Fed up of standing still and twirling it?  Ken Hill shows how to build in fancy-looking movement

8 – More fundamental basic moves

Make sure you learn these basic nunchuk moves from Kung Fu expert Jake Mace… but I strongly advise not to do the overhead spins with a wooden nunchuk if you are a beginner… it will prove very painful!  Use a practice foam nunchuk or wear your sparring headguard (I strongly suggest foam nunchuks first, and wearing a headguard when you try it with a wooden one!).

9 – Lots of spinning… don’t forget the strikes

The nunchuk can be such a showy weapon its easy to learn lots of spins, switches and all sorts… and never any strikes.  Don’t forget you’re supposed to be hitting someone and all the fancy stuff is to create an opening or line up the next strike (or maybe overawe the opponent so much they back off).  Ninja Nate runs through some strikes… practice these lots too!

A fancy routine to learn

Once you’ve mastered these basic moves, here’s a couple of routines from Ryoji Okamoto.  See if you can learn them, or at least parts of them, and follow along …. After lots of practice of course!

Also notice how in the routines he often positions his hand to protect his face.  Is it from the attacker, his own spinning or both?

We’ll be adding video lessons for nunchuk intermediates and using two at once later in the year… make sure to subscribe (use the button towards the top right) and  follow us on Facebook to get updated when they ready.

 

 

shop for sale martial arts nunchuku

 

8 great bo staff video lessons for absolute beginners

Learn the bo staff basics with these easy-to-follow tutorials for beginners

The staff is one of the oldest of all weapons and also used throughout the world, whether in Chinese and Japanese martial arts or Robin Hood dueling with Little John.

You don’t even have to buy one (although they are not expensive).  Just get a broom handle, a pole from a clothes line or anything else that is vaguely staff-like and you are ready to go.

While I love my traditional red oak bo staff, for practicing new techniques I invariably instead use a length of white PVC plumbing pipe… especially when I am training indoors.  It cost all of #2 from ScrewFix!

Here are some great bo staff video tutorials to get you going.

The first five are from www.jakemace.com.  His site is great and has tons of stuff for people interested in Chinese martial arts.  He’s also really inspiring, so you’ll see a lot of his videos recommended on My Martial Arts.

Bo Staff Spins Video 1 – basic front spin

Bo Staff Spins Video 2 – basic one-handed spin

Bo Staff Spins Video 3…. Passing it behind your back

Bo Staff Spins Video 4 – basic strike and deflection

Bo Staff Spins Video 5 – underarm spin

 

Sifu Kuttel also has lots of instructive and easy-to-follow bo staff tutorial videos on his YouTube channel…. Here is a good one to start you off:

Kung Fu Basic Staff Spinning & good technique – Sifu Kuttel

 

There are also lots of bo staff tutorials on ExpertVillage.  Here are a couple of good ones to start with:

Martial Art Bo Staff Techniques : figure eight spin

Bo Staff Attack Techniques: Bo Staff Two-Handed Wrist Roll

The bo staff is a great weapon to practice with to build strength, flexibility and coordination and, like everything else, practice and perseverance is both essential and brings huge rewards.   Here are some inspiring bo staff routines from people who definitely practiced hard: