Nunchucks – Nunchaku

NUNCHUCKS - NUNCHAKU

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The Nunchaku and Okinawa

  Anybody who’s even a casual student of the martial arts has probably seen a pair of nunchaku being used at one time or another during the course of their studying of the martial arts.  It may have been in a so-called “karate movie,” or it could have been in the dojo -- martial arts school – where you train in your chosen martial art.  They’re so popular, in fact, that they’re known in many parts of the world today as “nunchucks,” or “numchucks.”

How are Nunchucks made

The “twin sticks” (that’s their meaning when the word “nunchaku” is spoken in native Okinawan), in the right hands, are a whirling blur of motion that can actually be hard for the eye to follow when they’re moving fast enough.  And they can pack a seriously hard wallop when they’re used to strike at somebody during close-quarters fighting.   Used alone – as a pair of sticks joined together by a short length of rope cord or chain, usually – or in pairs (one set for each hand), the nunchaku has a long and interesting history, starting from their first appearance on the Japanese-dominated island of Okinawa sometime in the early or mid-1600s all the way up to today, where craftsmen like the ones at Buki Yuushuu turn out modern, customized versions of this classic weapon.   How the nunchaku came to be developed on Okinawa during that time is a bit unclear.  The most popular story was that Okinawan farmers and others on the island, including the upper classes of that time, took a farmer’s thresher, which was a handheld tool made up of two sticks joined by a rope, and suddenly became nunchaku masters!   We’re just kidding about the “instant master” effect.  It usually takes some time to study and practice with the nunchaku (and more than a few whacks on the head!) before a person becomes skilled enough to use it in a real self-defense situation.

Numchucks early beginning

Actually, the invention of the nunchaku most likely never happened that way at all, but it makes for a good story.  In realty, this popular self-defense weapon probably was constructed for the role it played then and still plays today; as a weapon.  The evidence for this is that the Chinese themselves had a weapon that was very close in appearance to the nunchaku back before the 1600s, and that Chinese immigrants to Okinawa brought it with them.  Also, the word for “nunchaku” comes from the Chinese language, so we can assume that it really was built to be what we know it as today.   To understand why the nunchaku came into being, we should know that on Okinawa, just as in the rest of Japan in those days, most people were forbidden to carry a sword or other bladed or edged weapon.  Only the actual Japanese who were of the samurai professional warrior class could have such things.  Native Okinawans, who were not Japanese at all, fell under this same rule.  But people were just as clever back then as they are today, and soon enough, the nunchaku began to be used in self –defense of people and property against criminals or Japanese samurai who happened to get too bossy or pushy.

The Okinawan Nunchuck

The Native Okinawans were people who didn’t like to be ordered around, usually, and samurai were very good at giving orders to those beneath them. You can imagine the surprise one of these professional warriors felt when he first witnessed these blinding-fast wooden sticks coming at him.
The Best Competition Nunchakus
If you’d like to see what a modern pair of nunchaku look like, go to bukiyuushuu.net and look at all the different colors and personalized options that can be ordered to make a nunchaku truly someone’s personal self-defense weapon.

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Nun chucks Training – Guidelines For Beginners

Seeing a martial arts expert demonstrate the use of nunchuckus makes you want to learn how to handle the weapon like the expert does. But you must understand that handling it the right way requires a lot of training and knowledge. Here are the things that you should consider before you start training to use the use nunchucks properly.

The Basics

First up is to search for a qualified instructor in the field of martial arts. While there are different martial arts school, each one of them has their own set of rules for a student to abide with before you can handle a weapon. There are even some martial arts school that don’t allow you to handle any sort of weapon until you have earned a black belt. In the case of the American Taekwondo Association, they allow students who have earned an orange belt (orange being the second color in rank), to handle a weapon for freestyle competition purposes.

Since nunchucks are considered to be a dangerous weapon, it is illegal to possess this weapon for some states in America. In fact for some countries, nuchunckus are totally banned. So it would be best to find out the what the law says in your area regarding the use of nunchuckus.

Using Safety Nunchucks

As a beginner, use a foam padded nunchuck until you get used to handling the weapon. You may end up getting injured if you jump right into a wooden or a metal nunchuck.

Advance User

When choosing the right right nunchuck for you to use as you advance, follow these guidelines:

  1. Hold the nunchuck close to the chain or rope then bend your wrist so that the stick settles along your forearm. The bottom of the stick should be near to your elbow.
  2. Place the nunchuck’s string or chain on top of your palm with the stick hanging down on the sides. The string or the chain’s length should be the same as the width across your palm at the level of your knuckles.

2 Basics Grips

There are 2 basic ways to grip the nunchucku. These are near the bottom and close to the chain. Each of these method provides their own strength and weakness.

Bottom Grip

Placing your grip near the bottom of the nunchucks as you start to spin the weapon, gives you a much longer reach and provides more power. This is because while the nunchucks are spinning, the energy of the outer spin is much more powerful than the inner spin. However, with this type of stance it can be difficult to control the nunchucku. As you strike your opponent, it is possible for the weapon to bounce back and hit your knuckles altogether.

Near The Chain  

Placing your grip close to the chain provides a better control but this can also limit your reach and power. If you find yourself striking an opponent with this type of grip, the stick is likely to bounce back but the chains will just lay across your knuckle. This will not be as painful.

Additional Grasp

In addition to these two basic grips, there is also the reverse grasp that is usually done from a wrist roll. To do this, hold the nunchucks close to the chain then swing the free stick into a wrapping position around your hand with the chains across the knuckles. Let go of the stick you are holding and catch them as they swing around. This is what the experts call “the half wrist roll”. As you complete this move, swing the stick back to it’s original position and return to the normal grip.

Nunchucku training should not be left to the student alone as this can cause serious injury. There are many precautionary measures to consider when learning to use the nunchuckus properly. Following these guidelines for beginners can prevent any untoward incident.