Nunchucks - What are they? How do I use them? What style should I buy?

March 13, 2020

Origins of Nunchucks

Nunchucks were a traditional Okinawan weapon constructed from a pair of sticks joined by a short chain or rope.  The sections are typically made of wood or metal.  It is thought that the origins of the nunchuck were a flail used to thresh rice or soybeans.  There are competing theories that it was a horse bit or a wooden clapper called a hyoshiki. The Nunchaku is most commonly used as part of Okinawan Kobudo and Karate although variants are also used within Filipino and Korean Martial arts.

Also known as nunchaku, nunchucks, nunchakuka, chainsticks, chuka sticks or chucks

Wielding a Nunchuck

The Nunchaku is typically used in one hand where it can be used for striking, blocking, locks and restraints.  The force generated is multiplied many times by the whipping effect of the chain or rope.  The chain or rope.  As well as the blunt force striking effect, wrapping the chain around an attacking weapon can allow for effective disarms of an attacker.    

Sometimes used in pairs where the effect is to create a veritable whirlwind of strikes around the practitioner.

Nunchucks require a lot of practice to master.  Without hours of practice they are far more dangerous to the user than to anyone else.

Anatomy of the Nunchuck

A Pair of Nunchaku consist of the following parts:
  • Ana: the hole on the kontoh of each handle for the himo to pass through—only nunchaku that are connected by himo have an ana.

  • Himo: the rope which connects the two handles of some nunchaku.

  • Kusari: the chain which connects the two handles of some nunchaku.

  • Kontoh: the top of each handle.

  • Jukon-bu: the upper area of the handle.

  • Chukon-bu: the center part of the handle.

  • Kikon-bu: the lower part of the handle.

  • Kontei: the bottom of the handle.


 Anatomy of Nunchucks

       Benefits of Nunchuck Training

      There are many benefits of Nunchuck training to the martial arts practitioner.

      • Improved Concentration.
      • Strength & Conditioning.
      • Improved Coordination and Reflexes.
      • Perseverance 
      • Self-Defences applications
      • Kata and Bunkai.
      • Speeding up your creative mind.

       What is the difference between Rope and Chain Nunchucks?

      Both nunchucks operate in a similar manner however the feel and flow of the two nunchucks styles can be quite different.

      A rope pair is in general lighter and less rigid when being swung.  The two flails feel slightly less connected with rope and you have slightly less influence over the direction of travel once in flight.  They are however quieter, smoother and some would argue the more traditional design.  Due to the lack of metalwork, and the lighter weight, they are better for children to practice with.

      Chain nunchucks are obviously weightier.  You feel more connection between the two flails and you have a greater influence over the chucks when in flight (useful for minor course corrections.)  They are however noisier in operation, require more maintenance to keep the ball bearings operating effectively.  

      It is best to try both styles to make up your mind which you prefer.





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