Which Nunchaku is Right for Me?

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?” This site is best viewed on a tablet or computer to display all the different nunchaku that we offer. GO TO SHOP PAGE

12 inch Tapered Bloodwood Nunchaku

The 12″ nunchaku is the standard size.  The tapered octagon tied with rope it is the most common nunchaku found in the martial arts of karate and kung fu styles and the schools who 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 and only good 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

Red Oak Straight Octagon U Swivel Nunchaku
Universal linked Chain nunchaku

The chain linked nunchaku swing and feel very differently as compared to the rope tied nunchaku, 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. One basic rule would be to start out with rope and then move on to experiment with chain. While there is a noticeable difference, some people find that they prefer one over the other while others like and use both. If you are studying a certain martial arts style, it is always advised to ask the instructor which kind they prefer to be used in class and they also may have some insight as to how the nunchaku will be used in class which will also dictate the length of the chain or rope and how to it used in the forms you study.

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.


If by chance you still need help please feel free to contact us. If you are stuck which the which to choose and we will be more than happy to help. Just use our contact page and will will return your answer within 12 hours or less. This site is best viewed on a tablet or computer to display all the different nunchaku that we offer. GO TO SHOP PAGE

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.