The nunchaku ( // ) (Japanese: ヌンチャク, Hepburn: nunchaku, sometimes "nunchuks" ( // ), "nunchucks", "chainsticks", "chuka sticks" or "karate sticks" in English) (Chinese: 雙節棍) 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 person who practices this weapon is referred to as nunchakuka.
The nunchaku is most widely used in martial arts such as Okinawan kobudō and karate. Its intended use is 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 fiberglass. 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 rice-flail implement for threshing rice. It was not a historically popular weapon because it was ineffective against the most widely used weapons of that time such as samurai swords and naginata, 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 (and his teacher of Filipino martial arts) Dan Inosanto, who introduced this weapon to the actor. [ citation needed ] who worked with Bruce Lee on and in the 1973 film Enter the Dragon . Another popular association in modern times is the fictional character Michelangelo of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise, as well as the fictional character Jay from the Ninjago 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.Lee famously used nunchaku in multiple scenes of the 1972 film Fist of Fury . Further exploration of use of nunchaku and of other kobudo discipline was afforded to Bruce Lee with and by Tadashi Yamashita,
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".
The origin of the nunchaku is unclear, although one popular belief is that nunchaku was originally a short South-East Asian flailused to thresh rice or soybeans. This gave rise to the theory that it was originally developed by an Okinawan horse bit (muge), or that it was adapted from a wooden clapper called hyoshiki 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.
Though some propose that the association of nunchaku and other Okinawan weapons with rebellious peasants, it 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).According to Chinese folklore, nunchaku are a variation of the two section staff.
Nunchaku consist of two sections of wood connected by a cord or chain, though variants may include additional sections of wood and chain. In China, the striking stick is called "dragon stick" ("龍棍"), while the handle is called "yang stick" ("陽棍"). Chinese nunchaku tend to be rounded,[ according to whom? ] whereas the Okinawan version has an octagonal cross-section (allowing one edge of the nunchaku to make contact with the target, increasing the damage inflicted).[ according to whom? ][ citation needed ] The ideal length of each piece should be long enough to protect the forearm when held in a high grip near the top of the shaft. Both ends are usually of equal length, although asymmetrical nunchaku exist.
The ideal length of the connecting rope or chain is just long enough to allow the user to lay it over his or her palm, with the sticks hanging comfortably and perpendicular to the ground. The weapon should be properly balanced in terms of weight. Cheaper or gimmicky nunchaku (such as glow-in-the-dark versions) are often not properly balanced, which prevents the performer from performing the more advanced and flashier "low-grip" moves, such as overhand twirls. The weight should be balanced towards the outer edges of the sticks for maximum ease and control of the swing arcs.
Traditional nunchaku are made from a strong, flexible hardwood such as oak, loquat or pasania. Originally, the wood would be submerged in mud for several years, where lack of oxygen and optimal acidity would prevent rotting and cause the wood to harden. The rope is made from horsehair. Finally, the wood is very finely sanded and rubbed with an oil or stain for preservation. Today, such nunchaku are often varnished or painted for display purposes. This practice tends to reduce the grip and make the weapon harder to handle, and is therefore not advised for combat.
Modern nunchaku can be made from any suitable material, such as wood, metal, or almost any plastic, fiberglass or other hard substance. Toy and practice nunchaku are commonly covered with foam to prevent injury to the self or others. It is not uncommon to see modern nunchaku made from light metals such as aluminum. Modern equivalents of the rope are nylon cord or metal chains on ball bearing joints. Simple nunchaku may be easily constructed from wooden dowels and a short length of chain. Short rope nunchaku is used for free style swing. Rope is 13cm~15cm the player hangs the rope on the wrist and turns the sticks. Grip is short kontou grip. Long rope nunchaku is used for X letter swing martial art swing.Grip is long kontei grip.Short rope is safe because the sticks can be controlled easily. The Nunchaku-Do sport, governed by the World Nunchaku Association, promotes black and yellow polystyrene foam nunchaku. Unlike readily available plastic training nunchaku, the devices they promote are properly balanced.
There are some alternative nunchaku, made solely for sporting such as:
There are also some types of nunchaku with no noted use in sport, such as:
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. Other proprietary systems of Nunchaku are also used in Sembkalah (Iranian Monolingual Combat Style), which makes lethal blows in defense and assault. 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:
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.
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.
In a number of countries, possession of nunchaku is illegal, or the nunchaku is defined as a regulated weapon. Norway, Canada,Russia, Poland, Chile, and Spain are all known to have significant restrictions.
In Germany, nunchaku have been illegal since April 2006, when they were declared a strangling weapon.
In England and Wales, public possession of nunchaku is heavily restricted by the Prevention of Crime Act 1953 and the Criminal Justice Act 1988. However, nunchaku are not included in the list of weapons whose sale and manufacture is prohibited by Schedule 1 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 (Offensive Weapons) Order 1988 and are traded openly (subject to age restrictions).
In Scotland laws restricting offensive weapons is similar to that of England and Wales. However in 2010 Glasgow Sheriff Court refused to accept a defence submission that nunchaku were not prohibited weapons under Scottish law, although the defendants were acquitted on other grounds.
The use of nunchaku was, in the 1990s, censored from UK rebroadcasts of American children's TV shows such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoons and films.The UK version of the Soul Blade video game was also edited, replacing the character Li Long's nunchaku with a three-sectioned staff. In Hong Kong, it is illegal to possess metal or wooden nunchaku connected by a chain, though one can obtain a license from the police as a martial arts instructor, and rubber nunchaku are still allowed. Possession of nunchaku in mainland China is legal.
Legality in Australia is determined by individual state laws. In New South Wales, the weapon is on the restricted weapons list and, thus, can only be owned with a permit.
Legality in the United States varies at the state level. As elsewhere, the popularity of Bruce Lee movies in the 1970s led to a wave of nunchaku bans.Many states prohibit carrying nunchaku in public as a concealed weapon, but a small number restrict or completely ban ownership. California has made exceptions for professional martial arts schools and practitioners to use the nunchaku. The state of Arizona previously considered nunchaku to be a "prohibited weapon" since the 1970s, making mere possession illegal, with the sole exception of nunchaku-like objects that are manufactured for use as illumination devices. A constitutional challenge failed as well. It was legalized in 2019. New York formerly banned all possession of nunchaku, but this was ruled unconstitutional in the 2018 case Maloney v. Singas.
In 2015, police in the town of Anderson, California were trained and deployed to use nunchaku as a form of non-lethal force. They were selected because of their utility as both a striking weapon and a control tool.
Nunchaku have been employed by American police for decades, especially after the popular Bruce Lee movies of the 1970's, but tasers have since become the preferred non-lethal weapon for most departments.
Filipino martial arts (FMA) refer to ancient Malay and newer modified fighting methods devised in the Philippines. It incorporates elements from both Western and Eastern Martial Arts, the most popular forms of which are known as Arnis, Eskrima, and Kali. The intrinsic need for self-preservation was the genesis of these systems. Throughout the ages, invaders and evolving local conflict imposed new dynamics for combat in the islands now making up the Philippines. The Filipino people developed battle skills as a direct result of an appreciation of their ever-changing circumstances. They learned often out of necessity how to prioritize, allocate and use common resources in combative situations. Filipinos have been heavily influenced by a phenomenon of cultural and linguistic mixture. Some of the specific mechanisms responsible for cultural and martial change extended from phenomena such as war, political and social systems, technology, trade and practicality.
The tonfa also known as tong fa', tonqua or tuifa, is a melee weapon best known for its role in the armed component of Okinawan martial arts. It consists of a stick with a perpendicular handle attached a third of the way down the length of the stick, and is about 15–20 inches (380–510 mm) long. It was traditionally made from red or white oak and wielded in pairs. The tonfa is believed to have originated in either China or Southeast Asia where it is used in the respective fighting styles. A similar weapon called the Mai sok san is used in Krabi-krabong and tomoi.
Bōjutsu (棒術), translated from Japanese as "staff technique", is the martial art of using a staff weapon called bō which simply means "staff". Staffs have been in use for thousands of years in East Asian martial arts like Silambam. Some techniques involve slashing, swinging, and stabbing with the staff. Others involve using the staff as a vaulting pole or as a prop for hand-to-hand strikes.
A club is among the simplest of all weapons: a short staff or stick, usually made of wood, wielded as a weapon since prehistoric times. There are several examples of blunt-force trauma caused by clubs in the past, including at the site of Nataruk in Turkana, Kenya, described as the scene of a prehistoric conflict between bands of hunter-gatherers 10,000 years ago. In popular culture, clubs are associated with primitive cultures, especially cavemen.
The kusarigama is a traditional Japanese weapon that consists of a kama on a kusari-fundo – a type of metal chain (kusari) with a heavy iron weight (fundo) at the end. The kusarigama is said to have developed during the Muromachi period. The art of handling the kusarigama is called kusarigamajutsu.
A kunai is a Japanese tool thought to be originally derived from the masonry trowel. The two widely recognized variations of the kunai are short kunai and the big kunai. Although a basic tool, in the hands of a martial arts expert, the kunai could be used as a multi-functional weapon. The kunai is commonly associated with the ninja, who used it to gouge holes in walls. Many popular manga characters use kunai as both their primary and secondary weapons.
Kusari-fundo (鎖分銅) is a hand held weapon used in feudal Japan, consisting of a length of chain (kusari) with a weight (fundo) attached to each end of the chain. Various sizes and shapes of chain and weight were used as there was no set rule on the construction of these weapons. Other popular names are manrikigusari (萬力鏈) or just manriki.
A flail is an agricultural tool used for threshing, the process of separating grains from their husks.
Okinawan Kobudō (沖縄古武道), literally "old martial way of Okinawa", is the weapon systems of Okinawan martial arts.
The tabak-toyok is a Filipino flail weapon consisting of a pair of sticks connected by a chain. It is closely related to the Okinawan nunchaku, the primary difference being that the Filipino version tends to have shorter handles and a longer chain than its Okinawan counterpart, making it better suited for long range. Each handle is approximately eight inches long. The length of the rope or chain that connects the handles is approximately 6 to 7.5 inches, but the weapon's ideal size depends on the user. Because the small size of the tabak-toyok allows for easy concealment, it is often used in street brawls in the Philippines.
The meteor hammer, often referred to simply as meteor, is an ancient Chinese weapon, consisting at its most basic level of two weights connected by a rope or chain. One of the flexible or "soft" weapons, it is referred to by many different names worldwide, dependent upon region, construction and intended use. Other names in use include dai chui, flying hammer, or dragon's fist. It belongs to the broader classes of flail and chain weapons.
Heroes of the East, also known as Challenge Of The Ninja, Shaolin Vs. Ninja and Shaolin Challenges Ninja is a martial arts film produced in 1978. It starred Gordon Liu and was directed by Lau Kar-Leung. Lau Kar-Leung has a cameo role as So Chan, a master of Zui Quan. It's notable for portraying Japanese martial arts alongside the more typical Kung-Fu used in most Hong Kong martial arts films.
The Tekkō, are weaponized stirrups and horseshoes which originated in Okinawa, Japan, and they fall into the category of "fist-load weapons". By definition, a fist-load weapon increases the mass of the hand so that, given the physical proportionality between the fist's momentum and its mass, it increases the force the bearer can deliver. Some fist-load weapons may also serve, in the same manner, as the guard on a sword, to protect the structure of the bearer's hand.
The surujin or suruchin is one of the traditional weapons of Okinawan Kobudo. It comprises a 2–3 metre long rope with a weight tied to each end. Historically this weapon is very prevalent and can be found attached to a weapon or used separately. It is a weapon designed for warfare.
A chain weapon is a weapon made of one or more heavy objects attached to a chain, sometimes with a handle. The flail was one of the more common types of chain weapons associated with medieval Europe, although some flails used hinges instead of chains.
Matayoshi Kobudo is a general term referring to the style of Okinawan Kobudo that was developed by Matayoshi Shinpo 又吉眞豊 and Matayoshi Shinko 又吉眞光 during the Twentieth Century. Martial arts have been practiced by the Matayoshi family for over 9 generations and draw influence from Japanese, Chinese and indigenous Okinawan martial arts styles.
Hōten-ryū (法典流) is a Japanese martial art founded in 1600 CE. It is a school founded on the use of the sword, however it has several different kobuki in its curriculum. It is also notable for its hidden weapons (hibuki) or items that appear to hide among everyday things.
The pyeongon is a nunchaku-like weapon used by the Joseon army and is first mentioned in a martial arts manual called Muyesinbo. The weapon was inspired by the farmer's flail to thresh rice with. In the west it mostly known as a two-section staff.
The three-section staff, triple staff, three-part staff, sansetsukon in Japanese, or originally sanjiegun, is a Chinese flail weapon that consists of three wooden or metal staffs connected by metal rings or rope. The weapon is also known as 蟠龍棍 panlong gun, "coiling dragon staff". A more complicated version of the two section staff, the staves can be spun to gather momentum resulting in a powerful strike, or their articulation can be used to strike over or around a shield or other defense.
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