For people who have Nunchaku questions

Discussion in 'Weapon Resources' started by Dave Humm, Jan 7, 2006.

  1. Dave Humm

    Dave Humm Serving Queen and Country

    Firstly I'm not a moderator for this forum however I do enjoy this particular section of MAP but, as a member I do grow tired of the 'same old, same old' questions from people who can't be bothered to check if their particular query has been posted and more importantly answered BEFORE, to this end...


    In respect of the nunchaku and the seemingly endless number of similar or repeated questions on this subject, remember Google is your friend



    The nunchaku was originally a short flail used to thresh rice (separate the grain from the husk). Its development as a weapon supposedly grew out of the moratorium on edged weaponry under the Satsuma shoguns due to their restrictive policy of weapons control after invading Okinawa in the 17th century. (Some maintain that the weapon was most likely conceived and used exclusively for that end, as the configuration of actual flails and bits are unwieldy for weapons use, not to mention the fact that peasant farmers were unlikely to train for 'improvised' combat against professional warriors.) The modern nunchaku has been modified for its use as a weapon and would make a relatively ineffective rice flail.

    The nunchaku as a weapon has surged in popularity since Bruce Lee used it in his movies in the 1970s. It is generally considered by martial artists to be a limited weapon: complex and difficult to wield, it lacks either the range of the bo (quarterstaff) or the edged advantage of a sword or sai, and is prone to inflicting self-injury on the user. Nevertheless, its impressive motion in use and perceived lethality contributed to its increasing popularity, peaking in the 1980s, perhaps due to its (unfounded) association with ninjas during the 1980s ninja craze.

    Formal nunchaku styles
    The most common martial arts to use nunchaku are the Japanese and Okinawan martial arts such as some forms of karate/kobudo, but some Eskrima systems also teach practitioners to use nunchaku. Songahm Taekwondo, a Korean style patterned after karate, also teaches how to use one and two Nunchakus, though in Korean, they are known as Sahng Jeol Bahngs, or sometimes Sahng Jeol Bongs. The styles of these three arts are rather different; the traditional Okinawan arts would have used the sticks primarily to grip and lock, while the Filipino arts would have used the sticks primarily for striking, while Songahm Taekwondo teaches a combination of both.

    In the early 80's, Kevin D. Orcutt, an American police sergeant, holder of a black belt in Jukado, developed the OPN (Orcutt Police Nunchaku) system. Since then some American law enforcement agencies employ the Nunchaku as a control weapon instead of the Tonfa, also known as the common police baton, which also finds its origin in the Kobudo weapons family. This system emphasises only a small subset of the nunchaku techniques, for speedier training.

    There is now a dedicated World Nunchaku Association, based in the Netherlands, which teaches Nunchaku-Do as a contact sport. They use yellow and black plastic weight-balanced training chucks and protective headgear. They have their own belt colour system where one earns colour stripes on the belt instead of using the full colour belts. In competition, one opponent turns over the belt, as one side is yellow and the other black.

    There is also a complete system of ranking in the nunchaku called the North American Nunchaku Association based in California, USA. They offer a complete system of the nunchaku teaching traditional and free-style techniques, from white to black belt. They have students in many countires including England, France, Netherlands, Canada, South Africa, and Denmark. The entire system is based on the DVD's where you study at home and send your tests to their school in California.

    In respect of the last paragraph; I wouldn't touch this sort of organisation or the 'training' they offer with a long barge-pole, this is of course just my own opinion and nothing more.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2006
  2. Anth

    Anth Daft. Supporter

    Are you after my job or something? ;)

    Another good post, and I think we could develop things like this into a resource area :)
  3. Dave Humm

    Dave Humm Serving Queen and Country

    Agreed mate... And no I don't want your job :p
  4. Saz

    Saz Nerd Admin

    Are you after my job or something? :p

    Good post Dave, nice work.
  5. Dave Humm

    Dave Humm Serving Queen and Country

    Cheers Saz..

    I'm sure I'll be posting the exact reply again in about an hour when another ''nunchucks'' thread is created. (lol)
  6. nickh

    nickh Valued Member

    Gasp! What are you saying?!?

    You mean the samurai and ninja didn't really use nunchaku?

    Next you'll claim that they never used sai either.
  7. Dave Humm

    Dave Humm Serving Queen and Country

    (LOL) Nick, I see the wife bought you the latest version of the Acme Sarcasm software for Christmas.

    Regards as always mate :)
  8. Anth

    Anth Daft. Supporter

    Congrats Dave, you have another thread stuck in this forum :D
  9. Anth

    Anth Daft. Supporter

    Ladies and Gents, get your posts on this thread in before Sunday.

    This thread is moving home - to the Weapons Resources :D
  10. buki

    buki New Member


    Dave can I ask if you have any info on san setsu kon nunchaku and so setsu nunchaku? I believe there are also others of differing sizes.
    If you have it may well be worth adding this to the thread for the resource section. Do you think?!

    I did do a search before I posted this reply. As a newbie i don't want to get my a...s kicked too soon.
  11. Wolf

    Wolf Totalitarian Dictator

    quick question then. where did the 3 section staff come from? i figure this relates since they're both jointed staves.
  12. Dave Humm

    Dave Humm Serving Queen and Country

  13. Dave Humm

    Dave Humm Serving Queen and Country

    Hi mate, nope I don't have information on the weapon you mention, I study Aikikai Aikido and Iaido, the purpose and point of this thread was to hopefully illustrate that 'some' people seem to be unable to use the search facility for previously asked questions/answers and, others expect members here to do the leg work for them.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not having a go at you or anyone who poses a legitimate and good question for discussion, but; I'm sick and tired of reading the same old crap from people asking the same old... 'questions' which have been answered before.

    Kind regards
  14. Wolf

    Wolf Totalitarian Dictator

    Ah, i thought we got some amnesty for a bit and you were doing all the work for us. :D
  15. buki

    buki New Member


    Apologies Dave, I get your point I was just hoping that you had a few more gems of information stored away for us to access.

    In that case is there anyone else out there who can enlighten us with regard to the 'range' of nunchaku?
  16. Dave Humm

    Dave Humm Serving Queen and Country

    People should pay me for this type of service



    Nunchaku sticks should be made from hard wood, which so as oak is strong and elastic (the best is mahogany, cocobolo whether white oak - but it's rather heavily to find this). Nunchaku line, originally was maded from horse's hair, now it's maded from nylon or is replaced with chain.

    The length of stick should be equal distance from centre of palm to elbow(about 30-32cm). The size nunchaku should be well-chosen so it fit to growth, weight and strength of his owner's hands. The sticks should have about 2,5-3 cm of diameter. This parameter depends mainly from likings trained person and strength of his fingers(the thiner the harder to hold it). Whereas the length of line (the chain) should be such in order to after place it on palm both sticks hang on both sides freely(about 10-14cm) - in Japanese nunchaku (the most popular). Chinese have a lot of longer lines/chains in relation to sticks whereas Okinawa's shorter - only a few cm

    Every part nunchaku can theoretically be put-upon. The upper and bottom ends of sticks nunchaku apply to stabs and strikes. The upper and bottom parts of stickes were used to inflict fly-wheel striks. Median part finds applying in strikes and blocks, and the line serves to holding and strangulations.

    Weight nunchaku should be well-chosen to strength exercising. Every one has alone to see what it fit him. They heavier this slower, it is obvious. Strength results from speed and mass. So you shouldn't cross the line to any side.

    In half of seventies - in Germany thanks to Markus Bära create the sport(training) nunchaku executed from plastic or different the light material and coated the foam.


    Traditional nunchaku can be round(Maru-gata nunchaku) or octangular(Hakakukei nunchaku). A lot of edge acts it the effective in fight.

    Beyond traditional nunchaku are different variations:
    Once stick is shorter. It is weaker version nunchaku(So-setsu-kon nunchaku) and half (Han-kei nunchaku) which occupy less places.

    Three part nunchaku - all of sticks have normal length. The are also variation with different lengths of sticks - next picture(San-setsu-kon nunchaku)

    Once stick has normal length and two remaining are shorter(San-setsu-kon nunchaku) and four-part (Yon setsu-kon nunchaku)

    San-setsu-kon in distinction from San-setsu-kon nunchaku, has altered size. The sticks have about 60-70cm dependently from the person's gabarite which will use it, whereas the chain is shorter and has about 7cm. This isn't typical nunchaku and method of using it is completely different, but I decided to add here it as the nunchaku close relative. It arise in China.

    Kubotai - designed on need of American police in eighties. Name came into being from words Kubota and Tai. Two pieces of plastic about 30cm length, joint 22cm string. This weapon served to defence in close distance.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2006
  17. 187

    187 New Member

    That's an excellent post. ^^^^^^^^^^ Thx for the info.
  18. warakawa

    warakawa New Member

    lol, the link is more then enough, thanx dave
  19. Capt Ann

    Capt Ann Valued Member

    Dave, please promise you won’t swim over to the US and hit me, but.....

    I found some interesting historical information on much earlier military use of Korean and Chinese variations of weapons similar to nunchaku.

    In Korea, the two-sectional staff was called a pyun kon, or 'long flail'. What made this variation on the nunchaku unique was its size: one side was 8 feet, nine inches long, with a shorter stick attached that measured a meager two feet in length. This implement was used by infantry soldiers, as well as for stationary defense of castles and redoubts against enemy attempts to scale the outer walls.

    The pyun kon's respected cousin was the massang pyun kon, a long flail used by mounted cavalry troops, usually with long downwards strikes against infantry troops. The Korean military historian and strategist Mo Won-ui (early 1600's) is quoted in the Muye Dobo Tongji (Comprehensive Manual of Military Arts, late 1700's) as saying that the massang pyun kon was used to fight against infantry troops of the Han Dynasty. Mo is also quoted as saying that some infantry troops of the Han were more adept at its use than the Korean mounted fighters. This reference puts the use of long flails in combat in both Korea and China before the end of the Han Dynasty (circa 220 AD).

    In mid-18th century Korea, flails used were 1 to 2 ft shorter, and always made of wood. Often the tips were wrapped with metal, or studded with nails. The older versions, for use on horseback, were made of iron, or made of wood and weighted with iron squares and nail studs.

    The Muye Dobo Tongji refers to a major battle in ancient Korea that was lost because of an inferior design of the long flails used, and recommends a minimum number of metal rings for the two attached pieces. It also describes a 'modern' (i.e., about 1780's) flail comprised of one side 1 1/2 ft long , and a short side about half that size.

    Use in combat of the long flails of one very long and one shorter segment in ancient Korea (pyun kon) and China (yunka, or hankunyunkabong)is well documented. I found no record of the use in ancient Korea of any flails/nunchaku with two segments of equal lengths.

    Information from the English Language translation of the Muye Dobo Tongji, “The Comprehensive Illustrated Manual of Martial Arts of Ancient Korea”, translated by Dr. Sang H. Kim, Turtle Press, Wethersfield, CT, (c)2000

    For those interested, a partial outline of information in the Muye Dobo Tongji, including pictures of the ancient weapons methods (infantry and cavalry flails pictured near the bottom of the page) may be found here. Unfortunately, the page is in Spanish.

    Added on Edit: Here is a picture of traditional rice threshing methods. I believe the picture is from Cambodia. Note the thresher is standing upright, using the chain between two handles (NOT the handles/sticks themselves) to thresh the rice. According to the quote in the MYDTJ, mentioned above, a rice threshing tool was called a yunka in Chinese, which was also the Chinese word for a chain. The military flail also became known as a yunka, or as a hankunyunkabong in China. Apparently, the link (no pun intended) between the nunchaku and rice threshing was the chain, not the sticks. For more history on the nunchaku and its origins, see this link.
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2006
  20. Dave Humm

    Dave Humm Serving Queen and Country

    Ann :)

    Good post mate.

    Trust me when I say that I have no issues with what you present. It would be arrogant of me to simplistically believe that Japan had the corner stone on these sorts of things because that isn't true.

    Every nation (especially) in the eastern hemisphere have taken influences from their neighbours and created 'things' for themselves. Where I do have problems is with 15 year old pillocks who let their raging hormones control their already meagre ability to decipher, not fact from fiction, but common sense from utter rubbish.

    The weapon you describe clearly had military implications, whereas, the nunchacku was an implement of peasant origin and never used by the Japanese military (to my knowledge).


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