Martial Arts Weapons, Durability Factor 101

Red Heart Slim Nunchaku

Unlike most sports people study, the martial arts hosts a range of different styles and applications. Furthermore, beyond the hand to hand (empty hand) study, martial arts normally also has a component that is the study of weapons. Each style of martial arts depending on the country and place of origin features different combinations of weapons that the practitioner studies. When it becomes time to study and learn the weapon a number of factors come into play that are not evident initially but with time become painfully clear. The factor we are talking about is “durability”

When the study of a modern weapon begins we must first understand that what we see in the movies and television is not really a true representation of how most things work when using a weapon. The basic premise of a weapon used in martial arts is that it is a pre gunpowder way to attack people. Hundreds of years ago, before the concept of the modern gun people used hand held weapons like swords and hammers in conflicts. Of all these weapons fix into two categories. Cutting and Bludgeoning. Knives, swords, axes would all fix into the cutting category and staffs, hammers and weapons like nunchaku fit into the bludgeoning category. We have all seen movies and tv shows where magical swords cut through concrete or slice a person into a hundred pieces in an instant. These are not realistic applications of these weapons and while some of the actions may be doable, they would also be the end for the weapons used as the blade would become destroyed with one use. The same would be true for most extreme actions of the bludgeoning weapons. The basic idea is that weapons were used as a tool and in a world where they were used, the weapons all had a very finite life span. In today’s world not many people use weapons like swords and staffs in day to day life. You will not see them on any battle field except the martial arts class room. This is the setting where much of the abuse will take place aside from an oak tree in your back yard. While it’s use and application is very different than the battle fields of 100’s of years ago, the study of the weapon and it’s applications will produce wear and damage to your weapons over time.

Red Heart Slim Nunchaku
Handmade Nunchaku

One common misconception is that weight equals durability. This is false. If anything weight will increase the damage factor ten fold. With the martial arts nunchaku as well as many other weapons in martial arts fashioned from hardwoods, it’s the type of hardwood that matters. Flex, hardness, density and grain all play a role in how durable your weapon will be along with how it is used.

Where to practice

The use of a weapon compared to it’s durability is maybe the biggest factor. If the practitioner is careless, or wreckless the risk of damage goes up. Where the weapon is studied also plays a role. Hard surfaces and questionable locations can mess up and damage the most beautiful weapons. The best policy is to be mindful of where you are and make sure that if a mistake is made and the weapon is dropped, it will still be safe from harm. Often times holding on to the weapon is the first trick. Make sure to avoid driveways and concrete. Try to practice in grass whenever possible. The grass and soil will cushion the blows from mistakes.



Picking the correct wood

Often times it seems that something that costs more is better. This can be true for a great many things. This concept is also often wrong. In the world of martial arts weapons made from hardwoods expensive is not always best. The great example of this is cocobolo. It is beautiful and hard to find. Often instructors will use weapons made from cocobolo in class and the students will think, if the instructor is using it, this is what I should also aspire to. The problem with this line of thinking is that the student many times does not see why the instructor is using that weapon over another. In most cases it may be a favorite or preferred weapon but if striking and hitting is part of the lesson, almost always the instructor will put down the prized weapon and choose a lesser grade weapon to take the beating involved with the lesson plan for the day. The basic idea is simple, you need more than just one of each kind of weapon. The nunchaku you may use to give your arms a good workout may not be the best choice for striking into a heavy bag or combat against a staff to demonstrate a form or kata. A more durable wood like hickory or red oak would be much better in a striking application as compared to a prized cocobolo piece. For our handmade nunchaku we have found that the hickory and hard maple provide the most durability for contact. Red Oak and White oak also have good grain properties that resists cracking because the grain has give and will sooner take a dent than break in a strike. Both the Oak versions are also less expensive so in case damage does occur it is much less painful on the wallet.


All martial arts weapons that get used will eventually wear and sometimes break. Much of the durability will be dependant on the user and of course how it is used. Impact will always create risk of damage. There are no magical weapons that are indestructible. The best course of action is to keep your expensive favorites out of the class room and have less expensive back ups ready to use for your day to day studies and workouts.

The Black Palm Hardwood for Nunchaku

Black Palm NunchakuThe black palm hardwood was introduced to the shop this year via a request from one of our @Twitter supporters and customers.  Making a Black Palm Nunchaku was an experiment that turned out wonderfully.  All hardwoods have certain properties that effect how well they feel and how well they can be used.  A good martial arts weapon needs to be strong yet flexible.  Hardness is also good but not at the expense of being to ridged which tends to lead to shattering.  While the Black palm has great weight, it also has the large pour-us grains and fibers that give it flexibility. The following are the specs for the tree itself.  Basically it’s a palm tree from Asia and Africa.  (Borassus flabellifer) Common Name(s): Black Palm, Palmyra Palm Scientific Name: Borassus flabellifer Distribution: Tropical Asia and Africa Tree Size: 65-100 ft (20-30 m) tall.

Black Palm Nunchaku
Black Palm Nunchaku

We love the feel and look of these heavy weight nunchaku.  You can feel the power contained within when you hold a finished set.  That much dense weight is hard to ignore.  The hardwood does take some getting used to as far as the cutting and milling.  Most hardwoods are difficult in one way or another.  For us this one is

Black Palm Tapered U Swivel
Black Palm Chain

moderately ornery

As we experiment with this great hardwood the Black Palm Nunchaku will gain some new sizes and options as we progress into the Autumn for 2018.  If you are experienced with the nunchaku and want to experiment with some new hardwoods, this Black Palm is a great find.  Beware, the Black Palm Nunchaku are very heavy and thus, unforgiving.  Take care with fancy tricks and katas until you get used to the weight.

Currently the black palm is offered in rope and chain nunchaku types with some variations of 12 inch and 13.5 inch lengths.  The rope colors are customer choice but many have opted to go with the leopard or cheetah colors as they tend to match the natural colors of the hardwood’s grains.  The black palm nunchaku, “nunchucks” will be on sale till the end of the month for those interested in trying out a wonderful and unique new nunchaku hardwood.  These nunchkau are guaranteed to stand out in the crowd and make a bold statement.

 

 

Black Palm Specs:

Common Name(s): Black Palm, Palmyra Palm
Scientific Name: Borassus flabellifer
Distribution: Tropical Asia and Africa
Tree Size: 65-100 ft (20-30 m) tall, 2-3 ft (.6-1 m) trunk diameter
Average Dried Weight: 61 lbs/ft3 (970 kg/m3)
Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .79, .97
Janka Hardness: 2,020 lbf (9,000 N)
Modulus of Rupture: 19,950 lbf/in2 (137.6 MPa)
Elastic Modulus: 2,262,000 lbf/in2 (15.60 GPa)
Crushing Strength: 10,190 lbf/in2 (70.3 MPa)

Nunchaku History

Nunchaku

 Nunchaku History

12.5 inch Bloodwood NunchakuThe nunchaku (Japanese: ヌンチャク Hepburn: nunchaku, often “nunchuks“, “chainsticks“, “chuka sticks or “karate sticks in English) is a traditional Okinawan martial arts weapon consisting of two sticks connected at one end by a short chain or rope. 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. Modern-day nunchaku can be made from metal, wood, plastic or fibreglass. Toy and replica versions made of polystyrene foam or plastic are also available. Possession of this weapon is illegal in some countries, except for use in professional martial art schools.

The exact origin of nunchaku is unclear. Allegedly adapted by Okinawan farmers from a non-weapon item, it was not a historically popular weapon because it was ineffective against the most widely used weapons of that time, and few historical techniques for its use still survive.

In modern times, nunchaku (Tabak-Toyok) were popularized by actor and martial artist Bruce Lee and his martial arts student Dan Inosanto, who introduced this weapon to the actor.[5] Another popular association in modern times is the fictional character Michelangelo of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise. Organizations including the North American Nunchaku Association, World Amateur Nunchaku Organization, Fédération Internationale de Nunchaku de Combat et Artistique, World Nunchaku Association, and International Techdo Nunchaku Association teach the use of nunchaku as a contact sport.

Etymology

The origin of the word nunchaku (ヌンチャク) is not known. One theory indicates it was derived from pronunciation of the Chinese characters 双截棍 (a type of traditional Chinese two section staff) in a Southern Fujian dialect of Chinese language (兩節棍 nng-chat-kun, pair(of)-linked-sticks). Another derives from the definition of “nun” as “twin”.

Another name for this weapon is “nûchiku”(ヌウチク).

In the English language, nunchaku are often referred to as “nunchuks”.

Origin

The origin of the nunchaku is unclear, although one popular belief is that nunchaku was originally a short South-East Asian flail used to thresh rice or soybeans. This gave rise to the theory that it was originally developed from an Okinawan horse bit (muge), or that it was adapted from a wooden clapper called hyoshiki[9] carried by the village night watch, made of two blocks of wood joined by a cord. The night watch would hit the blocks of wood together to attract people’s attention, then warn them about fires and other dangers.[10]

Some propose that the association of nunchaku and other Okinawan weapons with rebellious peasants is most likely a romantic exaggeration. Martial arts in Okinawa were practiced exclusively by aristocracy (kazoku) and “serving nobles” (shizoku), but were prohibited among commoners (heimin).[11] According to Chinese folklore, nunchaku are a variation of the two section staff.

Parts of the Nunchaku

 

Parts

  • Ana: the hole on the kontoh of each handle for the himo to pass through—only nunchaku that are connected by himo have an ana.
  • Himo: the rope which connects the two handles of some nunchaku.
  • Kusari: the chain which connects the two handles of some nunchaku.
  • Kontoh: the top of each handle.
  • Jukon-bu: the upper area of the handle.
  • Chukon-bu: the center part of the handle.
  • Kikon-bu: the lower part of the handle.
  • Kontei: the bottom of the handle.

Formal Styles of Nunchaku Use

The nunchaku is most commonly used in Okinawan kobudō and karate, but it is also used in eskrima (more accurately, the Tabak-Toyok, a similar though distinct Philippine weapon, is used, as opposed to the Okinawan nunchaku), and in Korean hapkido. Its application is different in each style. The traditional Okinawan forms use the sticks primarily to grip and lock. Filipino martial artists use it much the same way they would wield a stick—striking is given precedence. Korean systems combine offensive and defensive moves, so both locks and strikes are taught. Nunchaku is often the first weapon wielded by a student, to teach self-restraint and posture, as the weapon is liable to hit the wielder more than the opponent if not used properly.

The Nunchaku is usually wielded in one hand, but it can also be paired. It can be whirled around, using its hardened handles for blunt force, as well as wrapping its chain around an attacking weapon to immobilize or disarm an opponent. Nunchaku training has been noted[by whom?] to increase hand speed, improve posture, and condition the hands of the practitioner. Therefore, it makes a useful training weapon.

There are some disciplines that combine nunchaku with unarmed techniques:

  • Mouhébong Taekwondo combines Korean nunchaku with taekwondo.
  • Nunch-Boxing combines nunchaku with kicking and punching techniques. Nunch-Boxing itself is part of the broader discipline Nenbushi.
  • Nunchaku en savate combines savate techniques with the nunchaku.

Freestyle Nunchaku

Freestyle nunchaku is a modern style of performance art using nunchaku as a visual tool, rather than as a weapon. With the growing prevalence of the Internet, the availability of nunchaku has greatly increased. In combination with the popularity of other video sharing sites, many people have become interested in learning how to use the weapons for freestyle displays. Freestyle is one discipline of competition held by the World Nunchaku Association. Some modern martial arts teach the use of nunchaku, as it may help students improve their reflexes, hand control, and other skills.

Nunchaku Sporting Associations

Nunchaku Since the 1980s, there have been various international sporting associations that organize the use of nunchaku as a contact sport. Current associations usually hold “semi-contact” fights, where severe strikes are prohibited, as opposed to “contact” fights. “Full-Nunch” matches, on the other hand, are limitation-free on the severity of strikes and knockout is permissible. 

  • North American Nunchaku Association (NANA): Founded in 2003 in California by Sensei Chris Pellitteri, NANA teaches all aspects of the nunchaku, traditional and free-style, single and double.
  • World Amateur Nunchaku Organization (WANO): Founded by Pascal Verhille in France in 1988.
  • Fédération Internationale de Nunchaku de Combat et Artistique (FINCA): Founded by Raphaël Schmitz in France in 1992 as a merger of disbanded associations WANO and FFNS (Fédération Française de Nunchaku Sportif). Its current name is Fédération Internationale de Nunchaku, Combat complet et Arts martiaux modernes et affinitaires (FINCA). A fight with FINCA rules lasts two rounds of two minutes. There is no need for changing either the nunchaku branch or the hand before hitting, just a correct recuperation. There are no stops during the fight, except for loss, lifting, or penalties.
  • World Safety Nunchaku Organization (WSNO) : Safety Nunchaku Grandmaster Soshihan S. Kothandan, India’s Senior most Shito-ryu Karate exponent who got trained under many world level renowned Grand masters in Martial Arts, has gained rich technical expertise in that domain by his passion towards the Art, and he has achieved many milestones in Karate field particularly in Shito-ryu Karate from the past 46 years. He started researching in Safety Nunchaku from 1991 onward. He founded and presented Safety Nunchaku for the first time in front of the general public and Honorable Ministers of Tamil Nadu, India on 28.08.2005. On this day, Safety Nunchaku, Kata, Team Kata, Kumite, Team Kumite, Own style, Stand Target, Moving Target and other new techniques were demonstrated. This research is being continued by means of meeting experts from different parts of the world and sharing their view on Safety Nunchaku as a game and as a Martial art. Finally, 02-08-2015 he had introduced Safety Nunchaku in front of VIP’s, and General Public & released website (www.worldsafetynunchaku.org), demonstrated KATA’s and gave Black Belt to 1st Batch who got training more than two years during his research period. With his vast knowledge, experience and hard work he has introduced and dedicated first time in the Martial Art field “World Standard 16 unique Katas” in the field of Safety Nunchaku. If a person know the proper names of the techniques, correct method of practicing such techniques and most important is where to apply such techniques and what circumstance to apply those techniques then he will do very well in real life under critical situations where his safety is prime concern. By keeping those very important facts in mind, he has framed Katas in Safety Nunchaku in a simple and elegant way where a common people can get into interest to practice and understand the nuances of each techniques.He has also followed some unique methodology to name “World Standard 16 Unique KATAs” in Safety Nunchaku. In general Japanese, when they design a Kata, they gave their names or their master names. But, In Safety Nunchaku, Grandmaster Soshihan S.Kothandan had given names Single chaku “World Standard 16 Unique Katas ” to the patriots-freedom fighters, who made the country to proud globally, People who made proud India in Martial Arts and aid citizens to spread the Art throughout the country and People who supported, encouraged Soshihan in the Karate domain and considered his growth and success as a growth of Martial Art. Safety Nunchaku Grandmaster Soshihan S. Kothandan to insist that fact to future generation to remember those legends in the Name of KATA in near future. Also he categorized the above Unique katas as Origin Katas (4), Fundamental Katas (4) & Superior Katas (8). He also manufactured with foam and foam rubber Safety Nunchaku cheaper, different colors and different sizes to use all ages of public.
  • World Nunchaku Association (WNA): Founded by Milco Lambrecht in the Netherlands in 1996. WNA uses yellow and black plastic weight-balanced training nunchaku and protective headgear. They have their own belt color system, in which participants earn color stripes on the belt, instead of fully colored belts. One side of the belt is yellow and the other black, so that in a competition, opponents may be distinguished by the visible side of the belt. WNA fight rules correspond to the kumite subsection of Nunchaku do discipline. It is a two-minutes “touch fight,” in which technical abilities are very important. After each scored point, the fight stops and the fighters take back their starting position.
  • International Techdo Nunchaku Association (ITNA): Founded by Daniel Althaus in Switzerland in 2006. ITNA rules fights last two rounds lasting 2:30. There are no stops during the round, except for loss, lifting, or penalties. Between two strikes, the fighter has to change hand and nunchaku branch before hitting again, except if he blocks.

American Handmade Nunchaku

Nunchaku

American Handmade Nunchaku

Given the choice wouldn’t you rather buy American Handmade Nunchaku

USA Nunchaku is not a warehouse in China, or a large manufacturing factory. USA Nunchaku Co. is a small American company making handmade nunchaku from 100% American materials in our small workshop. We make handmade nunchaku in different shapes and sizes in small batches, each featuring a selection of various hardwoods. While they do cost a bit more than a $9 Chinese “chuck in a bag”, our nunchaku are Handmade and each one of a kind.

Stop in and check out the store, your perfect nunchaku is waiting for a spin.

 

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Read moreAmerican Handmade Nunchaku

U Swivel Chain Linked Nunchaku

U Swivel Chain Linked Nunchaku

We have been making nunchaku by hand for 20 years.  In that time the number one request has always been handmade u Swivel chain linked nunchaku.  To do it right, we had to go back in time and skip the cheap imported barely metal versions of this classic martial arts weapon. We are proud to present our  Tapered Octagon U Swivel  Chain linked Nunchaku.  Just like our woods, the metal and all the parts are 100% American made.  It’s tried and true design that gives smooth flow to the nunchaku.   We think they are the best chain nunchaku made today and we invite you check them out.  We have a number of different models in play at the moment.  The cocobolo’s are all one of a kind and will be re listed as they made.  We are giving the option to change the amount of chain links used and have a number of different hardwoods and lengths available.

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Specs:

  • Diameter: Tapered 1 1/8″ to 1″
  • U- Swivel & Chain:  High carbon steel  375 lb test 100% American made ( 5 links plus swivel spanning 4.5″ from base to base)
  • Overall Length: 12″
  • Weight approx  14 oz.

Why is Cocobolo so Exspensive?

The Rare Preferred Hardwood of the Martial Arts world. Why is Cocobolo so Expensive?

12 inch Tapered Cocobolo Traditional OctagonCocobolo Dalbergia retusa is the long searched for wood in martial arts.  It is in the family of the Rosewoods Dalbergia nigra. In part it is so saute after because of it’s weight and density but also because of the beautiful colors and patterns that appear in the wood’s grain.  With this wood however it is not the demand that is the problem as much as it is the supply.  The first price point that drives it up is being able to find it.  The second is how much it costs once you have located something you can use.  Unlike red oak or ash, cocobolo is a medium to small sized tree that has fewer straight branches.  It is much harder to mill and even harder to get good undamaged straight boards so you can work with them.  Hardwoods of this nature eat through expensive cutting bits in weeks, where as the same bit would last a lifetime with normal woods.  The last price point that adds more to the final cost is how hard it is to work with.  The first problem; the saw dust is poisonous to humans.  Don’t get me wrong, all saw dust is bad for people and use of a mask is the general practice, but with cocobolo it is down right hurtful.  It is much like getting poison ivy on the inside of your lungs.  Not fun.  So we use suits and masks and it’s hot and miserable doing so.

 

In the end it’s always worth it but much more time and work go into things made of cocobolo.  It’s a rare wood loved by all the martial arts.  The time may also be coming when cocobolo is gone from the planet.  I wonder what those cocobolo nunchaku would be worth then? At USA Nunchaku Co. we hunt down cocobolo every week to use in our wood shop so we can bring you great nunchaku pieces.  It’s a time honored hardwood in the martial arts world, but don’t forget all the other great woods we have available.

 

Other Choices

While cocobolo is a great hardwood, there are others that will also serve the same purpose.  We encourage our nunchaku users to try out different weight hardwoods and test out some of the many other exotic hardwood options we provide.

Cocobolo Dust

Handmade Nunchaku

Cocobolo Dust

Cocobolo NunchakuOh my, it is so hot outside in north America this summer.  Right now in the north east the humidity has taken over completely.  Day and night it is 100 % in charge.  It’s pea soup at 5:30am, and it just gets hotter and stickier as the sun crosses the  sky.  There is only like one guy that I know who isn’t bothered by this at all.  Not to worrycocobolo, the last 2016 batch of  nunchaku are on the way.  We spent the weekend doing the ruff cuts and hard routes and Cocobolo dust.  Soon the next batch will be at the sanding stations.

Cocobolo dust is one thing that is hard to deal with.  Most people don’t know that the saw dust is poisonous.   It has a strong smell when it’s cut and creates a red dust power that gets on everything. I can tell you is to horrible.  In the shop the saw dust can get crazy.  We cut and expel a lot of wood.  Add the 72% relative humidity and 92 degrees F, it makes the cocobolo dust cling to your skin and turn to a paste.  I have to take breaks and continuously wash off while cutting this wood.  Not much fun, but the only path to the beautiful and colorful wood becoming a set of nunchakucocobolo nunchaku.

This time around we will have cocobolo featured but we will also have some other great woods like zebra, bloodwood, red oak, and locust.  Small and slim models with some of the high end woods and our new highly searched for “nunchaku stringing packet“.  I’m planning three complete batches to be for sale between now and Christmas so there will be plenty to go around for everyone.  As always each is handmade, never stained and we sand, oil and string every pair.  It’s without question and best nunchaku value for the practicing martial artist and best of all, they are made in the USA.

How to String Nunchaku

10 inch Mahogany Nunchaku

 Basic 2 Rope Method of Stringing Nunchaku

Custom Nunchaku Restring

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.


nunchaku Restring tools
bell wire, pliers, a small Philips head, scissors and 3 feet of cord.

Materials Needed

  • bell wire
  • sharp scissors
  • a small Phillips head screw driver
  • a pair of pliers
  • a lighter
  • 3 feet of 500 lb para-cord

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 moon.
bend the ends
bend the ends
Trim if needed.
Trim if needed.
Finished re-string nunchaku tool
Finished re-string nunchaku tool

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Stringing Process

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.
restring41
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.
How to String Nunchaku
How to String Nunchaku

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.


If an item becomes Back ordered If you need an item for a special event or have any questions before ordering please feel free to use our contact page to get an estimate on shipping time or answer any questions.

For more information about our nunchaku and us check about us  Also check out the history of nunchaku to get more information about it’s role is martial arts as well as how to care for your nunchaku.  Always check your local laws and nunchaku laws in regards nunchaku and their use as well as our terms and conditions.


Since we make all our nunchaku by hand, back ordered for us means that the wood has not been cut yet.  This normally adds from 2-5 days to the time before an item can ship out.  For more information about shipping please see our shipping page for details.  

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.

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 WoodsI’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 NunchakuTo 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.

American Nunchaku Handmade

Handmade NunchakuAmerican Nunchaku Handmade

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.   The one you pick is the one you get.  Stop by the store and check out the selection.  usanunchaku.com

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Martial Arts: Your First Real Weapon

Your First Real Weapon

Martial Arts Jo staffMost martial artist start out with the three most common weapons.  jo staff, nunchaku and a sword associated with their respective styles.  Aside from the sword of course,  many of the traditional weapons are based form farm tools that people had around.  Most people were not allowed to own weapons so they developed skills using the things they had on hand.

A staff is as simple as it gets.  It’s a 5 to 6 foot pole.  It can be a broom, or a hockey stick or a long piece of cocobolo wood.  While the later would be the best for effect, anything will do.  you can buy good poles from just about anyone, great ones however are harder to find.

A sword is something that you have to explore separately as there are many kinds and many styles.  You can buy a $49 dragon sword based on something from a movie or you can sell your first born to a warlord and commission a $200,000 dollar sword.  That and everything in between, bottom line, you get what you pay for.  Your movie sword no matter how cool, will be ok for one cut in one fight.  It’s not combat steel and it is made of plastic and tin.swords

Nunchaku are a bit different.  Bruce Lee made them popular.  They can be found in many forms from a foam “nerf” like thing, to metal, to plastic with prism reflectors.  While you can get the basic concept with any of these, many of a modern mass produced models made of plastic would not be very effective in real life.  My first set was purchased online from some Asian martial arts outlet store.  My instructor had told us we would be using traditional Chinese roped octagon shaped nunchaku, so that is what I tried to buy.  What arrived in the mail a few days later can only be summed up as a an awful waste of $19 dollars.  I’ve never really even used them.  They were too fat, stained so they got tacky when you start to sweat, they were unstrung.  It too me all day to figure out how to string them up. Basically looked like what they were, cheap.  I’ve been making nunchaku for people ever since that day.  I nunchaku we make fit in your hands.  They are cut from beautiful hardwoods and they are oiled, polished and strung.  They are not for demonstration, they are for real.  They are for study in real martial arts classes on the topic of nunchaku.  They are also just like the ones that were fashioned from farm equipment 2000 year ago.

The concept is simple.  Learning a real weapon in martial arts means taking a serious attitude about what you plan to learn and how well you will be able to sue your skills should the need ever rise.

Read moreMartial Arts: Your First Real Weapon