MAI SAWK – Traditional Shield Fighting

MAI SAWK (also „Mai Sannt“ or „Grarock“) is a traditional weapon-based martial art, that uses forearm shields for attack and defense.

The MAI SAWK used to be a practical arm extension, used by fishermen to pull boats towards them or by farmers to move bigger straw bales. Some clever Pahuyuth free warriors came up with the idea to turn this every day tool into a mighty shield for close-combat.

Loosely attached to the forearms it provides solid protection against bladed and blunt weapons at extremely close ranges and delivers devastating blows due to its additional weight and the metal bolts attached to the front. It is said that ancient shield-fighters were able to cut a swath through battlefields, leaving behind a trail of destruction.

Pahuyuth shield-warriors are extreme close-combat fighters, who fear neither weapons nor ground-fighting. They usually have excellent defense skills and precise boxing and elbow-techniques, they can use with or without their shields.

A shield is like a second, dried skin ..


Pahuyuth shield warriors are extreme melee fighters who fear neither weapons nor ground fighting. They have excellent defense capabilities and very precise fist and elbow techniques, which they can use with or without weapons.

Worn loosely on the forearms, the MAI SAWK offers solid protection against blunt weapons and sword blades. The additional weight and the metal bolts on the front multiply the striking power. The shields can be worn directly on the forearm due to the rope loops. One can also let them shoot forward to spontaneously increase the striking distance or to use the shields like an axe or trench club. Thanks to the two vertically mounted bolts, shields can also be used to catch enemy weapons and body parts or even as blade breakers.

The fighting style of the MAI SAWK is essentially based on the use of elbow and fist techniques. Shield warriors often prefer a slightly crouched body position in order to be able to fend off ground-near attacks. To avoid attacks from above, to bridge distances and to confuse their opponents, they use combinations of fall and roll techniques borrowed from LING LOM. The proximity of this weapon to the user‘s own body and the connection of the shields to the user‘s forearms gives shield fighters a high degree of freedom of movement and agility.

Contrary to what the name of this weapon suggests, the MAI SAWK (shield) is not exclusively a defensive weapon. Due to the relatively short range of the shields in combination with their enormous destructive power at close ranges, shield warriors actually tend to use an offensive fighting style. Skilled shield warriors can fend off attacks from all directions and counter with bone-crushing hits.

Since the MAI SAWK is a relatively uncommon weapon, encounters between two shield warriors are rather the exception than the rule. Instead, they fight mainly against other weapons and usually against several opponents at once. In doing so, they continuously work their way from opponent to opponent and level whatever crosses their path.

The use of shields requires a certain amount of daring and the willingness to take calculated risks. It also requires a high level of physical fitness.

Shield Handling

Shield Fighting Techniques

Pahyuyuth compendium mai sawk shield techniques

Mai Sawk students of the basic level (green belt) learn 150 basic techniques.

Pahuyuth compendium techniques handbook square

The Pahuyuth Compendium contains the 150 school techniques of MAI SAWK.

The Pahuyuth Compendium is the new technical handbook of the basic level.

It contains the basic techniques of MUAI, LING LOM, MEED, MAI SAWK, DAAB, GRABONG and SABAI.

Differences to Tonfa

A “Tonfa” is a baton with a characteristic cross handle and a wide range of applications for the police and military.

Tonfas are used in various martial arts, such as Kobudo, Ju-Jutsu and in self-defense. The vertical cross handle on the tonfa is used to eject the tonfa from the forearm position in a circular movement.

The Mai Sawk on the other hand is a forearm shield, which is fixed with a rope to the forearm, so that a lateral ejection is not possible. In contrast to the Tonfa, the Mai Sawk also has two bolts, one of which serves as a handle and the other as protection for the hands and fingers.

The Mai Sawk is used by members of the Pahuyuth school exclusively for purposes of the care and the preservation of traditional martial arts and culture (customs care).

Pahuyuth maih zoog mai sawk grarock thai shields


You are interested in shield fighting and want to learn MAI SAWK at the Pahuyuth School in Berlin?

Pahuyuth has a traditional training and teaching concept with belt steps. The aim of our teaching method is to provide a well-founded and safe martial arts education in the physical as well as the mental sense. At the same time we want to prevent that dangerous knowledge gets into the wrong hands and can cause damage.

The entrance requirement for the discipline MAI SAWK is the Pahuyuth student status (green belt), which requires passing the entrance examination.

Admission to the entrance examination again requires a participation in the trial student course.

Interested? Then visit our trial training page!

…worn over one’s own.