Product Review: Dreametal Sai

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When most people think of sai, the first thought that goes through their head is usually of the Shureido sai.  So since they have been a long established company, for this review I am using a set of medium Shureido stainless steel sai as the "control sai".  I am comparing the Dreametal stainless steel sai with blue handle wrap, it is a medium size, and both the control sai and the Dreametal sai come in at exactly the same length at 18.5 inches.  For the purpose of this article we will call the Shureido sai the control sai, and the Dreametal sai the test sai.

Test 1: Weight
For this test, I used grams as the weight measurement.  The control sai weighed 724g and the Dreametal sai weighed 660g.  So without a doubt the test sai weigh less than the control sai.

Test 2: Shape
When putting the moto (center of the sai / weld point) together, the test sai are more narrow than the control sai.  The control sai are exactly 2 inches from the yoko (side wing) to the monouchi (middle shaft).  The test sai measured out as 2 inches on one side of the yoko to monouchi and 1.85 inches on the opposite side taking the same measurement.  Below is a sample of how I am doing this measurement.
Control Sai 2"    -    Test Sai 2"    -    Test Sai 1.85"

For the sake of being thorough both sai in the test sai pair had the same 2" and 1.85" measurements, this is likely due to the jig being slightly off.

Test 3: Manufacturing
The first major noticeable difference is that the control sai has the octagon shape following a consistent pattern down to the moto (center) and rounding just before going to the yoko (wings/sides).  The test sai octagon shape disappears into a round base approximately 1" before reaching the moto.  The yoko are also completely rounded off coming off of the moto.  The moto between both sai are significantly different in size, with the test sai being roughly 30% larger.

The second difference is in the handle wrap.  The control sai is very smooth, and just feeling the sai move in your hand you are unable to feel a center string on how the handle is wrapped.  The test sai appears to use a slightly larger wrapping.  You can physically feel the center string on the test sai.

Regarding the center strings, the control sai has a center string that follows along the edge of the sai and is directly under the yoko, the string is somewhat smaller and completely unnoticeable on the wrap.  The test sai has the string going in the center of the handle directly under the moto.  This can be seen when you enlarge the handle photo above.

Test 4: Feel

The feel test sadly doesn't have any photos.  It is just how the sai feel in your hand and how they move.  The difference in the measurements on the yoko is not really noticeable when the test sai are in your hand.  Flipping the sai out from the inner position to the outer position feels natural, it doesn't seem to catch anywhere.  However when putting the sai together (like bringing them to your side when completing a kata) the differences in the yoko make the sai feel slightly off.  I flipped one of the sai over and it felt better (again likely an issue with the jig).  Movement and postures all feel good on the test sai other than when putting them together if one is backwards.

Test 5: Hitting Stuff

For the purpose of this test, I am striking the edge of my workbench with the sai.  My work bench is typical wood with a marbleized top.
During the hit test, both sai felt roughly the same.  There was no noticeable bending or major dents.  It should be noted that looking at the sai from the side there is a major difference on the thickness of the monouchi (center shaft) with the control sai being thicker.

One thing of note is that the test sai do not make the same type of sound as the control sai, or even a third set of sai from weaponsconnection.com.  The sound of the test sai is somewhat flat, not that it really matters, just notable because it's different.  Video below.

~ Final Thoughts ~
With Shureido stopping the sale of their sai it's been tough to figure out where to go for an acceptable level product that you can really recommend to students and friends without feeling bad or like they were ripped off.  In Okinawa the Shureido stainless steel sai were running for roughly $250 USD before sales stopped.  Their Iron sai (black) were roughly $100 USD.  These were great sai for their price.  The stainless steel Dreametal sai is not a bad set of sai, however with the price tag being close to $180 USD (this is for the Octagon Stainless Steel sai with blue handle wrap) it is difficult to recommend these as a Shureido level replacement.  They would be good for competition or other events where a lighter set of sai would be useful, however for daily abuse (sai against other weapons) this might not be the set of sai for everyone.  Overall I would give these sai a solid 8 out of 10 stars.

With this being said, this is just one person's assessment, maybe these are exactly what you are looking for, so before buying or not buying I would recommend trying out a set and seeing how they do for you.

All the best in your training, any comments on this assessment are welcome and you can reach me via the contact form on ryuho.jp.

Gambatte Kudasai!
Scot