Sqay – The South Asian Sword Fighting Martial Art

sqay martial art

Sqay is a sword fighting based martial art that originates from South Asia. Due to a lack of paper based evidence, the exact age of sqay is unknown.

However, word of mouth throughout South Asia estimates that the art is at least a few thousand years old. This makes it one of the oldest martial arts that is still widely practised today.

The first written evidence of Sqay’s existence didn’t occur until the 1500’s though. It was at this time the Persian’s witnessed this ruthless style of fighting and wrote about it.

In these writings the name of the art was also given with Sqay meaning ‘knowledge of war’ in Persian tongue. Today the art has moved past its old and brutal wartime ways.

The art has become modernized and thus is widely popular in a variety of places across South Asia but primarily India and Pakistan.

This modernization wasn’t just a progressive and natural process as time went on though. It was a purposely thought out process in order to save Sqay from potential extinction.

In the 1980’s the number of practitioners in the art was at an all time low.

The grand master at the time knew something had to be done to save the art. He believed that if no action was taken the art would soon fade into a distant memory of South Asian fighting history. To save the art the grand master decided to bring it into a knew age.

He introduced competitions into the art similar to many currently popular martial arts. This saw numbers rise tremendously in the art. This result can still be seen today as the art is widely practised all across India along with several other countries.

Sqays Rules of Competition

As a part of Sqays movement into the modern world of martial arts a council was formed in order to dictate rules for the art and decide its movements going forward.

This council has become known as the Council of Sqay. A competition in the art takes place in a square that can be as large as 6.5 meters.

A blue uniform is worn by competitors along with head and chest guards in order to protect those areas from injury. A sword is given to each competitor, the size depends on the age group fighting but can reach up to 2.6 feet. A shield with around a 25 centimeter diameter is also given to each fighter.

The sword is made of a synthetic fiber and is coated in leather and the shield is made from the same materials. Fights are arranged within age categories that also account for weight. Fights in sqay are all about precision and technique.

Unlike other martial arts in which fighting in competitions is full contact Sqay is only light contact. Though this takes away a lot of the aggressiveness in the art it does allow practitioners to master techniques.

As the fight is light contact and highly technique based, it can’t be won by knockout or inflicting another form of injury. Instead judges are assigned and competitors allowed to perform moves back to back as points are allocated.

Their are 4 different potential assignments of points. As the fight is light contact, a heavy and brutal attack doesn’t count for anything. In fact it often leads to points being deducted and in some cases disqualification.

A perfectly executed move though can gather up to 12 points, whilst a move with just a little flawed technique can claim 6 points. Because a Sqay competition is light contact not no contact. A move that is well executed but doesn’t hit the opponent is only worth 3 points.

Ignoring potential disqualifications, the fighter with the most points at the end of the fight is deemed the winner.

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Author Bio

Hi, I am William. I started out in martial arts with Goshin Ju Jitsu when I was 7 years old. I am passionate about martial arts and love sharing everything I learn. I created Master Fighting to become a resource for learning about martial arts and alternative fighting styles. Learn more about me.