SABAI – Traditional cloth fighting

SABAI is a traditional weapon-based martial art, that uses soft items such as whips, ropes, fishing nets or sashes as improvised weapons.

In ancient history it was a common custom to give young women away as concubines. Since they were not allowed to carry any weapons or flee in case of a raid, these women were usually condemned to become defenseless victims.

In order to protect them ancient free warriors (Pahuyuth) secretly taught them how to fight with cloth (SABAI) and thus gave birth to the most dangerous of all Pahuyuth disciplines.

SABAI equalizes physical strength. This makes it an excellent choice for self-defense purposes against stronger attackers.

SABAI is traditionally passed on in honor of the many nameless women who suffered violence and/or gave their lives throughout history.


You need a sword to kill a tiger …

SABAI – The secret martial art of the concubines

At about the same time as the official recognition of the Lauw Tai Mung area by the Chinese (around 2000 BC), the Thai adopted the Chinese custom of keeping concubines.

At first, these women served to preserve political peace in the upper social classes by sending them to foreign cities or kingdoms as a pledge or proof of loyalty. These women were integrated at court as respected concubines.

Since they were forbidden to carry weapons and were not allowed to flee in case of an attack (an unauthorized escape would have brought shame on the family and would have resulted in the execution of up to seven relatives), they were almost always condemned to end up as defenceless victims.

Legend has it that the women of the Glie tribes (early Thai) came up with the idea of teaching young women how to fight with simple clothes and scarves. It is also known that concubines secretly trained this art in the royal palace and passed it on in their circles under the greatest secrecy.

Until the epoch of Nanjauw (ca. 600 A.D.) SABAI was almost unknown. Only through Kru Maeh Boua (teacher mother-water rose), the daughter of Kru Kun Plai, the knowledge about this kind of fighting could be gathered, restructured and led back to Pahuyuth.

Since then SABAI has been regarded as the most dangerous Pahuyuth discipline, especially when used in conjunction with LING LOM.

SABEI – Effective self-protection and self-assertion for girls and women since 2000 B.C..

SABAI – a martial art by women for women

As with all Pahuyuth disciplines, most means and methods of SABAI go far beyond the legally permissible level of legal self-defense.

Nevertheless, training in Pahuyuth cloth fighting can provide the basis for healthy self-assertion and competent self-defense for girls and women. An experienced cloth fighter is never helpless and can easily defend herself against larger and even armed attackers.

SABEI for men

Of course men may also learn SABAI. This, however, only under certain conditions. For example, it is common for male participants to have to acquire fictitious female names under which they are known during the cloth training. Under certain circumstances, for example, the wearing of lipstick can be made a condition for male participants.

This tradition may sound funny to outsiders. But anyone who respects women so little and takes his male ego so seriously that he would would deny this practice has no place in a women’s martial art like SABAI. Didactic measures like these help to prevent dangerous fighting knowledge from falling into the wrong hands.

Pahuyuth sabei training 1 e1546202336604

Showing the ropes – equality is a matter of course at the Pahuyuth School.


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

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

…but only a rope to catch him.