History of the Nunchaku

Red Heart Nunchaku
Handmade Nunchaku

The nunchaku (Japanese: ヌンチャク Hepburn: nunchaku?, often “nunchuks “, “num-chuk”, “danger sticks”, “juan-tuo”, “chuka sticks'”[1] or “chainsticks” in English) is a traditional Okinawan martial arts weapon consisting of two sticks connected at one end by a short chain or rope. Used by Okinawan nobles,[citation needed] it was not a historically popular weapon because it was ineffective against the most widely used weapons of that time, and because few techniques for its use existed. The two sections of the weapon are commonly made out of wood, while the link is a cord or a metal chain. The nunchaku is most widely used in martial arts such as Okinawan kobudō and karate, and is used as a training weapon, since it allows the development of quicker hand movements and improves posture. Many varieties of nunchaku are available.

During the Japanese occupation of Okinawa some 350 years ago, invading warlords prohibited the use of ordinary weapons such as the gun, sword and spear. So, the Okinawans turned to karate and kobu-do, which is the art of karate weapons such as the bo (a staff), sai (a short sword with the two prongs at the handle, kama (a sickle), and surushin, a length of rope with weights attached to both ends) for protection. Some kobu-do weapons were farm implements which the ingenious farmers converted into effective protective devices. For instance, the forerunner of the nunchaku was an instrument used to pound grain, which was later put to practical use as a weapon. The nunchaku was constructed of two hardwood sticks which were securely connected by rope braided from horses’ tails. Today, the sticks are tied with rope or chain. Because of is innocent appearance, nunchucks could easily be mistaken for a toy or harmless bundle of sticks. In a defensive situation, however, it could be used to strike, block, hit, twist and pinch

Classical nunchuku dimensions conform to their user’s anatomy. The linking chain is the length of the back of the user’s hand. The two sticks are as long as the distance between the user’s wrist and elbow. These dimensions are optimal, they allow the execution of many maneuvers.

Also known as nunchaku, nunchucks, chucks or chain sticks, originally a farm tool used to harvest rice, it developed into a traditional Okinawan weapon and consists of two sticks connected at their ends with a short chain or rope.

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