Which Nunchaku is Right for Me?
While most martial arts stores and warehouse have lots of stuff, unlike USA Nunchaku Co, they only have 12″ nunchaku which raises the question, “Since I have options, which nunchaku is right for me?”
The 12″ nunchaku is the standard size. The tapered octagon tied with rope it is the most common nunchaku found is martial arts of karate and kung fu styles schools which teach it. Some schools use plastic and foam nunchaku as well which are tied together with plastic chain. While many schools use them for practice, they are the worst example of what a real nunchaku is. The next kind of nunchaku is fastened with chain. These are designed more for sport and swinging tricks than a martial arts form, but both can be used either way.
If you are looking for nunchaku for a smaller frame, shorter lengths can work very well as well as the thinner 1″ models which are better for smaller grips. Sometimes experimenting with nunchaku lengths and rope and chain lengths is the best way to get a nunchaku that works for your size. The most important thing with nunchaku is having it feel comfortable while you practice.
Ropes vs Chain
The chain links swing and feel very different from the rope ties, but the basic rule is that you need more chain than rope for the same swinging feel. Rope is better for your kada and form work as it is best with joint locks and using the nunchaku leverage to inflict holds and breaks. Yes it’s true, there are other uses beyond swinging them into things! The chains are far better to use when trying out tricks and spins that wrap around the body. They do require more length than the rope, and if you put too much length of chain between them you have to shorten up the nunchaku which then moves us into the speed chuck. The speed chuck is basically a shorter nunchaku handle, with more chain. These are harder to control, but tons of fun.
Wood Types and Weight
If you are new to the nunchaku, stay with lighter woods. They are much more forgiving and easier on the mishaps. If you are familiar with them, choose the heavy ones only if you do not drop them all the time. Unlike a piece of plastic or foam, if you crack wooden nunchaku into hard surfaces, you may damage them, or the hard surface or both. It’s basic physics. The more weight and speed, the more impact. The lighter woods are faster and spin with more speed but do not pack the punch and damage of the heavier nunchaku. This is why they are the best for the student to practice with. If you want to see what will happen when you swing your nunchaku into a tree or rock please understand that you would be setting yourself up for a broken nunchaku.
We recommend practice on grass or carpet. Do not purchase with the impression that cocobolo or other hardwoods means “indestructible” If anything, it’s the opposite. Like all other martial arts weapons, great care should be taken when using them. They should only ever be used under the supervision of a martial arts instructor in a class setting.