Introducing author J.E. Klimov to tell us all about the sai:
The sai play a major role in my up and coming novel, The Aeonians. However, the more I discussed my book to my fellow colleagues, friends, and family, I realized that many weren’t aware of what they are. And they are difficult to describe.
What are sai?
A weapon of the East, the sai were thought to originate in Okinawa, Japan; however, many speculate they were used in many other Asian countries. Also, while commonly perceived as something used in combat, there are theories that sai were also used as an agricultural tool.
Sai comes in pairs, but there is no plural form of the word. The device is best described as baton-like or “a dagger-shaped fork with two prongs” while projecting from the hilt. There are variations on the shaping of the sai; however, the overall form is similar- essentially, it has two smaller, curved prongs besides the longer, primary one. It’s an amazing item that can be used offensively to strike at short-range and defensively by entrapping opponent’s weapons between its prongs. Its dual purpose makes it a truly versatile weapon.
I chose the sai as the protagonist’s weapon of choice because it is unique. They come in various shapes, styles, and used in various forms, or kata. There are even different ways to wield it. I’ve always been a fan of the longsword, but how many times have we seen characters with swords? (Nothing wrong with that). While there are western-style elements to my novel, I wanted to incorporate a weapon from the East, and I felt the sai was the perfect weapon. It requires significant skill and can be used defensively and offensively.
There is also a personal connection to the sai. I grew up taking martial arts, graduating as a black belt after years of grueling training. I primarily focused on kata and hand-to-hand combat, but I always expressed interest in learning the art of wielding the sword, nunchucks, and most importantly- the sai. I recall gaping in awe at my father’s collection from his days as a martial artist, competing in tournaments in Taiwan. The sai had always been my favorite… There was an inexplicable beauty I couldn’t explain. So, with a profound respect for diverse weaponry, I hope that you learned something new today. And if you happen to read The Aeonians in the future, I hope you can clearly picture it in your mind.
J.E. Klimov grew up in a small suburb in Massachusetts. After graduating from Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, she obtained her PharmD and became a pharmacist; however, her true passion was writing and illustration.
Ever since Klimov was little, she dreamed of sharing her stories with the world. From scribbling plotlines instead of taking notes in school, to bringing her characters to life through sketches, Klimov’s ideas ranged from fantasy to thriller fiction. The Aeonians is her debut novel with Silver Leaf Books.