New Nunchaku Stock Coming!

New Nunchaku Stock Coming!

Exotic Woods It’s been since spring that we have run the mills in the shop but we have finally found some new exotic woods and the time to produce a whole ton of beautiful American Red Oak Nunchaku!

Bloodwood, Cocobolo, Zebrawood, and a few others will be featured this time as well as  new product designed for the martial arts school or instructor.   We will be bundling 10-20 12″ Red Oak Nunchaku in packs for schools at a discount.  Each one will be strung on the one side and come with the instructions on sizing the rope to the correct length.

We know our stock is about at rock bottom, more nunchaku are coming!!

Update 8/6/2016: We made a special trip to the warehouse and have New cocobolo stock!  The cocobolo nunchaku has some great pulp markings in the grain and will have a variety of lengths to choose from this time around.

Nunchaku Summer work shop updates

Nunchaku Summer Work Shop News

media2-meditating Well summer is here in the north east.  We have been getting our shop time in and hunting new wood stock for our nunchaku, which has been difficult.  Some times of the year it is very hard to find good stock in the exotic woods.  Typically I will get a call from one of the local wholesaler to come out and have a look at the new stock.  I’ll be going this week to a new location hunting some cocobolo and hopefully some more bloodwood.

Right now in the shop we have red oak and blood wood being cut.  We will be featuring a new bulk item for martial arts schools.  These will be red oak nunchaku sold in packs of 15 for instructors to sell in their schools.  These will be priced at a discount and sold to martial arts schools.  I’m hoping to have a number of these packs ready to go in the next few weeks.

Please check out our new “How to String Nunchaku” article.  This will hopefully provide you with the needed information on how to re string your nunchaku

We will also be featuring the smaller lengths for younger students and people with smaller hands.  These will be in various lengths shorter than the standard 12 inches.

Please follow us on twitter and face book for current updates and news on when the new nunchaku will be released.  Everyone have a wonderful start to your summer and stay cool.

 

 

How to String Nunchaku

 Basic 2 Rope Method of Stringing Nunchaku

This article teaches the 2 string method on how to string nunchaku.  As we sell more and more of our nunchaku we have found that many martial artist do not know how to fix and or re-tie their nunchaku.

Let us first state some facts before getting into how to tie nunchaku..  Just like your martial arts moves, there are many ways to arrive at the end.  In other words, there is no one right way to tie them.  A far as how to string nunchaku, some ways are better than others and some ways of stringing nunchaku require the correct rope and or nunchaku.  Many methods you may find are partly for show while others are for function.  The one thing that we have found is that there is no information on the internet  that shows how to tie them well.  This brings us to this lesson of nunchaku stringing.  The method below for tying nunchaku is the “two rope” method taught to me by my instructors many years ago.  Our style is Northern Boxing Style Kung fu requiring a short 3 inch rope length between the nunchaku.  You will find that different martial arts styles require other lengths depending on the applications.  Rope lengths will always wind up being a personal preference for each user.

restring tools 1
restring tools 1
  • Bell Wire
  • wire snips
  • small flat head screw driver
  • sissors
  • plyers
  • at least 3 ft of rope

The secret is in the bell wire tool.  It needs to be thin enough to fit through the last stage but thick enough to last through the process.  Almost any hardware store will sell this in small spools.  All the other tools you can find around the house.  The photos below show how to make your tool which can be used a number of times.


Cut about 12 inches of wire and fold in the middle making a half moon.
Cut about 12 inches of wire and fold in the middle making a half moo
bend the ends
bend the ends
Trim if needed.
Trim if needed.
Finished re-string nunchaku tool
Finished re-string nunchaku tool

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Next is the stringing of the nunchaku. It is important to have a flat table that you can lay the nunchaku out on. This will help keep things organized as you go through the process.

Lay flat head to head
insert tool
insert tool
pull enough to thread your rope
pull enough to thread your rope
make sure rope is even, pull through.
make sure rope is even, pull through.
pull though, re check your even lengths.
pull though, re check your even lengths.
Use the tool to thread to the other side.
Use the tool to thread to the other side.
Continue and pull
Continue and pull
next using the opposite end of the tool...
next using the opposite end of the tool…
Feed tool through top.
Feed tool through top.
Pull the open ends through the loop.
Pull the open ends through the loop.
Holding the open ends, pull out the slack.
Holding the open ends, pull out the slack.
Pull...
Pull…
pull...
pull…
Pull until all slack is out.
Pull until all slack is out.
Insert rounded end of tool into other nunchaku.
Insert rounded end of tool into other nunchaku.
Attach the first string
Attach the first string
Pull back through.
Pull back through.
Then continue to pull it through the other side.
Then continue to pull it through the other side.
Repeat process pulling the other string through.
Repeat process pulling the other string through.
Pull the second open string through.
Pull the second open string through.
Start of last section
Start of last section

The last section: How to String Nunchaku

At this point you should have exactly what is pictured above.  If you don’t,  you should start over.  The beauty of this method is that you have not cut anything yet, so using the same string can be done.  You want to make sure you have even lengths of rope at this point and that you have a bout 1 1/2″ of rope between the two nunchaku with no slack or kinks.

Lay ropes on opposite sides, and push round end of tool through top.
Lay ropes on opposite sides, and push round end of tool through top.
Pull one of the rope ends through.
Pull one of the rope ends through.
Lay to the right side.
Lay to the right side.
Use tool again to pull remaining string.
Use tool again to pull remaining string.
Pull through and lay on left side.
Pull through and lay on left side.
*Important* Rotate top nunchaku and wrap open strings around the string between the nunchaku.
*Important* Rotate top nunchaku and wrap open strings around the string between the nunchaku.
Tie the open ends to a double knot. "box knot"
Tie the open ends to a double knot. “box knot”
Distance check.
Distance check.

Rope Lengths

At this point you are ready to size and cut your rope.  Where you put the knot will determine how much rope you have between the nunchaku.

Using the line tool, tighten your knot.
Using the line tool, tighten your knot.
Cut off your extra rope leaving some extra before the knot.
Cut off your extra rope leaving some extra before the knot.
Cut knot with some extra.
Cut knot with some extra.
Using the lighter heat the frayed edges to seal the cut cord.
Using the lighter heat the frayed edges to seal the cut cord.
Use the pliers to compress the knot while still hot.
Use the pliers to compress the knot while still hot.
pull the knot tight to the top of the nunchaku. You can use the pliers and or screwdriver to press it in farther.
using the small Philips head, draw back the knot.
how to string nuncahku
pull the knot tight to the top of the nunchaku. You can use the pliers and or screwdriver to press it in farther. pull the knot tight to the top of the nunchaku. You can use the pliers and or screwdriver to press it in farther.

That concludes the stringing process.  Only forty some odd steps.  If you are asking yourself “This doesn’t seem like fun”, it’s not.  This is something we do as a bonus for our customers.  As we stated before their are other ways to string nunchaku.  we have found this is the easiest, safest and most practical way to do the stringing.  Keep in mind, the thicker the rope, the harder each step is to complete.  If the rope is too thick, the last steps can be very challenging.

Thank you for taking the time to read our stringing guide and don’t forget to stop by the shop as we are always releasing new nunchaku made from hardwoods, all 100% American.


Superhero Movies Are Getting R Ratings

[contentcards url=”http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2016/02/26/after_deadpool_s_success_we_re_getting_r_rated_versions_of_batman_v_superman.html?utm_content=inf_10_2641_1&wpsrc=socialedge&tse_id=INF_2a10e42fce9f4198aa7d5aaa672ac5ce” target=”_blank”]

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.

Everybody was Kung Fu Dancing

What is a Martial Art compared to a Sport?

Breaking_technique
impressive, but will not win any fight

This morning I read a great article on kung fu.  It was written well and was insightful, but a few things about it troubled me so I thought I’d run down some of the mostly overlooked basics that most people on the outside, and many on the inside of martial arts, don’t know.  With the popularity of the MMA fighting we all see on TV there is much to go over.

One statement I want to make before I start.  There is no one martial art that is better than all others.  In my opinion, being in the worst martial arts class available is better than not being in martial arts at all.  In other words, its good for everyone, and it’s not about fighting.  A good school weeds out the non hackers and trouble makers and in the end the students learn that fighting in martial arts is merely a side effect to your training.  This point is one thing that separates a martial art like karate or kung fu, from a sport like MMA fighting.  MMA is not a martial art.  It is a sport that the contestants use various martial arts against each other, whatever is brought to the table.  It’s main goal like a boxer is to train to win one fight.  A martial artist one goal is never ending, and that is to better one’s self through discipline.  Fighting is a side effect.

Which came first, the chicken or the egg

Thailand.Burmese-migrant-dockworkers3.Jeanne-Hallacy.2014 One common issue in martial arts is the attempt to classify which art is older or better or more powerful.  Which ever the argument is, one can normally find enough evidence to prove one’s point, whatever it is, by using google to make your case.  For example, most people are not aware that karate in it known “modern form” has only been around since 1920’s when it was made the national sport of Japan only after it was discovered on the island of Okinawa by high ranking people in the Japanese government who wanted to use it for physical education in the Japanese school system.  Had it been on the island the whole time?  Yes, but it was not discovered as you know it until 1922.  Those people on Okinawa learned it from shipping and trade with the Chinese main land. The fact of the matter is simple.  All of the Asian arts come from China in one way or another and at one time or another.  In China alone there are 1000’s of Kung fu styles.  Some are family systems and very private only taught to family members.

The movements

matrix1
Hollywood makes it look cool

When you study kung fu you quickly learn it was all about watching the animals in nature “live”  The forms and styles are based on animal movements.  These movements are why it is used in Hollywood action scenes.  They are pronounced and vivid, They are easier to see and more entertaining to watch, but the one thing that gets lost watching kung fu in film is the “why”.  In martial arts all styles use forms or kata’s to teach.  They are sequences of movements the student must master to advance.  Hidden in these movements are micro movements and hidden in these are even more subtle movements.  Depending on your skill level you may only be aware of a fraction of the things going on in each form.  Hollywood doesn’t use kung fu for these reasons, they use it because it plays well on film “it looks cool”  Different styles display different moves and attitudes.  Hollywood likes to borrow from many styles to achieve the look we see in movies like “The Matrix”.  Another thing that makes this happen is the Chinese culture and mythology.  Unlike western schools of thought, there are hidden meanings when we see people flying through the air on wires, to us in the west we dismiss it as a cool effect with artistic license, but in China these visuals have a mythology and a meaning.

Real fighting vs Fake fighting

Long_Fist_Kung_Fu_Cat_Stance_Hunt_Stock_ShootMMA is a controlled fight sport.  It’s not no holds bared as you might think.  Fighting each other at your martial arts school is also not real, or at least it shouldn’t be.  We train to help each other, not hurt each other.  The one thing I get more than anything else from all my years in martial arts, mainly from karate guys, (sorry karate guys) is that kung fu is a dance, it’s all show and that the movements are too pronounced and the positions are impractical.  Most people get this idea from watching a movie like “the dragon” on a Saturday afternoon. This is the main reason I decided to sit down and scribble this out.  Lets get some misunderstandings out of the way first.  The most important point I want to make is that in a fight, a martial artist studying kung fu for example isn’t going to “dance” at me in a fight.  No, they are not going to get into a cool pose and wave you in, nor are they going to have wires attached to them and fly into the battle.  If it was a trained fighter he or she would likely wait for the attacker to come in and the outcome would be a dislocated joint or compound fracture depending on how hard they came in.  You see most people don’t understand that Kung fu is defensive art, meaning literally all the forms, sequences and kata’s revolve around the idea of “being attacked”, not being the attacker.  You may ask yourself, “what good is that?”  If you are an aggressive asshole, you are right,  it serves no purpose at all.  If you are protecting yourself or your family, it’s everything and then some.  It’s the “then some” that hurts.

Eventually there will be a fight
Eventually there will be a fight

I’ve been studying Kung Fu for almost twenty years.  When I started out, in the first year of my studies, I lost my job and was forced to take a bouncing job at a very rough getto bar to make ends meet.  Needless to say this made me look at my kung fu class as more than a hobby.  My martial arts studies suddenly became on the job training that very well could mean the difference between life and death.   I did this for over ten years.  I can’t say many things in life with certainty.  This is a humbling fact.  One thing however I can speak on with absolute wisdom and clarity is how martial arts are applied in a “real life” situation.  Not Hollywood, not MMA, not some crazy cage fight or a flying kick 12 ft in the air, not breaking bricks, but real life.  You see, in western society the only place you can go to find a real fight on a regular consistent basis is  “a bar”  This is the one place you can be sure that given enough standing around time you will be assured a real live fight.  There are no rules or codes.  No referee, no help.  Watching a room of people get drunk over the coarse of four or five hours is fascinating.  I would urge literally anyone to do it, without drinking yourself of course.

flying-2
Looks cool, not real or practical

When I started I was the first full time bouncer in all the bars in Harrisburg PA.  Yes some of them had weekend muscle bound guys in squads of 5 or 6 as bouncers, but I was the only Monday through Saturday bouncer, and I worked alone.  I didn’t work alone because I was super skilled, I did because they couldn’t afford more people, and I couldn’t afford to complain.  At first it was very scary.  When the shit would hit the fan, all eyes would turn to me and I’d have to walk down to the scene.  It was more like an old western movie than a kung fu movie, trust me.  Most of the time however you would be surprised what skills were the most effective.  They all came from my training n martial arts, but most of them were not rockem sockem robots, it was skills like observation, patients, negotiation and temperament.  If these didn’t work, then we get out the kung fu bag of fighting skills.  This was not easy as I said before, kung fu is reactionary, and the job of bouncing is very much confrontational, but I made it work.  Many times it became very physical.  As the years went on they did hire people to help out on the weekends.  Many didn’t cut it.  Taking an ID was one thing, stopping a fight or ejecting a human who doesn’t want to go is quite another.  Many martial artists tried to work with me, not one was able to do the job.  Many people thought they would do great, until the moment of action.  At that moment the fight or flight reaction kicked in, and they flew.  Because I wanted to keep my job and not have my employer get sued, many of the tools were off the table from the start.  While this is true some of them were never on the table to begin with, like

  • dancing at them
  • waving them in from a sideways horse stance
  • making weird chirping sounds
  • starting from a fixed position like crane
  • kicks to the head, of any kind
  • flying kicks
  • brick breaking

Given those exceptions, there were some epic fights, all out brawls, some great judo throws and some people did literally sail through the front doors back out onto the street without ever touching the ground.  While those facts are true, every time it was real and the reality of it is what had to come out of me when handling each situation.  The reason I was kept on for almost a decade is that 95% of the time I was able to walk them out calmly.  I grew and became the voice of reason.  After a while, even the worst people that came in that bar knew better.  It may have been because of something they saw weeks before, or just word of mouth but the purpose was served.  I used a martial art to keep fights from starting and only an art form can do this, not a sport of fighting.

So when you are looking at the different styles of martial arts understand that the movies are not real.  A good school will teach you far more than fighting they will teach you about life.

Blonde Cocobolo Nunchaku

Blonde Cocobolo Nunchaku

Blonde Cocobolo NunchakuThis pair was a special cut fro the master block of cocobolo we used.  The oils have set out the great colors in the wood grain.  These are not stained.  The lighter pulp wood looks blonde next to the fiery red in the dark cocobolo grains.  I have number of other cocobolo in the store now but this one we are listing alone in the store. This is why I’ve decided to call it Blonde Cocobolo Nunchaku.

Stop  by the shop to check them all out.

Coming up on the next round we will be cutting blood wood and will be featuring the return of the Lignum Vitae (ironwood)nunchaku.

Lignum Vitae (Genuine) is an exotic wood native to the tropical regions of the Americas. It is a very hard, dense, and heavy wood, with a fine texture. The heartwood color ranges from a dark greenish brown to black. Lignum Vitae is excellent for wood turning, as well as being used for bearings, bushings, some marine applications, and mallet heads. It has an oily to waxy character and takes a high polish.

Exotic wood Nunchaku

Exotic wood Nunchaku

Exotic Woods I’ve been working away at getting the new stock ready for this coming weekend.  So far everything is a go.  This time we will have Red Oak, Cocobolo, African Blackwood and Locust.  The weather here has been horrible and the wood shop has been cold but things are moving along well.  All of the blanks are being shaped and the toxic stuff has been cut.  Most people don’t know that the cocobolo dust is very toxic.  We have to wear masks when cutting it as it becomes hard to breath and the air literally turns maroon.  In the end it is well worth the time put into them as the cocobolo tend to feature some of the most beautiful wood grains.  This time I have a few pieces that feature the pulp wood from the cocobolo which is a lighter color and makes for the wonderful finish mixed with the dark red colors.

Locust Wood Nunchaku
From tree to block the Locust wood is cut down to make nunchaku.

African Blackwood is our newest exotic wood type.  It has taken the place of the ebony which has become impossible to find in sizes we can use.  It has a dark to pitch black color and is very dense and heavy.  The grain is very fine much like the ironwood we also use.  This makes for an overall dense heavy nunchaku which comes alive when it’s weight gets put into motion.

Stop back on Sunday morning to usanunchaku.com and check out the new arrivals.

Nunchaku Handmade in America

Nunchaku Handmade in America

ash NunchakuOne of the big stories in politics and the news is American jobs and companies making products in the states as opposed to imports from other countries.  Martial arts in America is as popular as ever.  I love the fact that we provide a great product that can be produced and used here at home.

I started making nunchaku back in 1998.  After my first year studying in my local kung fu school, my instructors has finally started teaching us the basics of our first weapons, the jo staff and nunchaku were the first ones that we were shown.  The staff was cut and dry, but the nunchaku was another story.

Ironwood Nunchaku To be taught nunchaku forms in any martial arts school most will find the only acceptable kind of nunchaku are the wooden corded type.  These type of nunchaku are called traditional octagon in shape.  While I was able to find this type in the typical Asian warehouse outlet stores online like my teachers, only a very generic version was available.  they were too thick, and felt horrible.  they were also stained and not even strung together.  That dreadful $5 to$19 product was always the same  lifeless weapon in a clear plastic bag.  This is how the making of our handmade nunchaku came to be.

Locust Wood Nunchaku
From tree to block the Locust wood is cut down to make nunchaku.

Our nunchaku are made by hand.  Each one is made by a martial artist in a wood shop, not a robotic Chinese factory.  We sand them oil and dry them and then string them with strong quality para-cord.  Rather than feature “some kind of stained wood”  we made our nunchaku from dense hardwoods of different weights like cocobolo, red oak, bloodwood and locust to name a few.  It’s an American product for a great American past time.

Snow Storm Nunchaku from Locust Wood.

2016 Snow storm
It just keeps on snowing

The second batch for 2016 are going to be great!  I’m featuring three woods this time,  red oak, cocobolo and locust.  The red oak is from our new local importer that has given me great access to the warehouse and lets me pick my own stock.  This time we had a bonus, new cocobolo uncut!  I grabbed some to add to this batch because it’s so hard to find to the right sizes.  My third feature this time is Locust.  This is from a tree in my back yard that landed in my pool 2 winters ago during a freak snow storm in the north east that knocked down trees everywhere here in PA because the leaves were still on the trees when the snow hit.  You will not find Locust wood nunchaku anywhere else, period.  These are 100% from Central Pennsylvania, USA milled from the raw tree, by us and turned into nunchaku.  These are my second favorite colors of natural hardwoods.

Locust Wood Nunchaku
From tree to block the Locust wood is cut down to make nunchaku.

When finished the nunchaku will be a olive color with rich grain patterns.  This first batch was milled in 2014 so I’m excited to get back to this and get some more Locust wood nunchaku ready for the store.

We have just finished up the first of the raw locust wood blanks so look for them in the shop in the coming weeks.

We have gotten some requests for special woods to be fashioned in the last month.  I’ve decided to start setting up polls for our customers to submit their favorites and wood choices they would like to see featured next in our online store.  Wood Request page

Nunchaku Practice Moves

Nunchaku Practice Moves

Nunchaku Practice FormsThe best policy is to study your forms given to you by your instructor.  There are some moves that can be practiced on the side to improve your over all mastery of the nunchaku practice moves and motions. Of course practice makes perfect.  Below is a great you tube video on some nunchaku moves and some basic considerations for practice.

 

[contentcards url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YezY3SnflQ” target=”_blank”]

American Nunchaku Handmade

Red Heart Round Chain Nunchaku
Handmade Nunchaku

We make Traditional Octagon Wood Nunchaku from real hardwoods.  Real wooden American Nunchaku.  We have a selection of great dense hardwoods.  All our nunchaku are strung and oiled ready to go.  They are fast, easy to swing and control.  Perfect for school and form study.  We also have chain linked nunchaku featuring the ever sought after U swivel.  They are available now in a number of woods and lengths.  Each nunchaku we make is special and our goal is to match them with special people who use them. We do it all here in the USA while using American products and materials.  There is no robot factory, we don’t import anything to make them.   All our nunchaku are made in small batches daily to the customers order specifications. We have a large selection of domestic hardwoods and exotic imported hardwoods from all over the world.  Stop by the store and check out the selection.  About US


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