SABAI is primarily a martial art by women for women. It is soft, supple and extremely deadly. It balances out differences in physical strength and is therefore an excellent choice for defense against stronger opponents.
Clothing, textiles and other soft objects are almost within reach. A scarf, a handbag loop, a jacket or a belt are rarely be identified as a weapon by most people. Ignorant attackers therefore usually notice it way too late that they are dealing with an armed person, that is capable of defending herself.
The eponymous SABAI is a scarf, a traditional costume worn by women in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and the coastal region of Sumatra. It derived from the Indian sari. However, this does not imply any affinity with Indian martial arts, because the concept of using flexible weapons was already known to the Gleeh-Warriors.
The term „Sbai“ comes from the Khmer language and describes any kind of thin, soft fabric. In the context of the Pahuyuth discipline of the same name, SABAI does not only mean shoulder scarf but all kinds of flexible weapons. Traditionally, this also includes ropes, whips and fishing nets for example.
The fighting style of SABAI is primarily defensive. Above all, evasion or diversion techniques are used. SABAI warriors rarely seek a direct confrontation. The aim of this rather defensive fighting style is the covert manipulation with the scarf, which often reveals its purpose only in the second or third movement. Aggressive attackers are lured into the trap and get more and more entangled, the more they fight back.
It is said: A SABAI warrioress is a victim who ambuscades her attacker.
The offensive fighting capabilities of the SABAI result from whip-like blows and the active use of pulley effects. Enemy body parts and weapons can be accelerated in any direction. In addition, there are binding and knotting techniques that can restrict the aggressor‘s ability to move or even bring him to a standstill. Knowledge of human anatomy and its limitations allows to fix limbs or damage joints with a short jerk. Scarf attacks that are directed against the neck vertebrae or respiratory organs are usually fatal.
An experienced SABAI warrior is never unarmed or defenseless. She knows how to defend herself with her own and improvised weapons against a single attacker as well as against a group of armed and unarmed opponents.
She masters fighting with flexible weapons in standing position and on the ground and can also use fist, foot, elbow and knee techniques. SABAI warriors are also often trained in LING LOM, which increases the dangerousness of their fighting style many times over.