Nunchakus

Like many martial artists my age, I got my start in the martial arts from watching David Carradine on “Kung-Fu” and Bruce Lee movies. Click here to see a young Master Dan Inosanto and I believe Ted Lucaylucay. (Also note that Dan is using larga mano.)

Of course, everybody had to have nunchakus. The problem is that nunchakus, like everything else, were illegal in California. So my friend and I made our own nunchakus out of pine dowel and eye screws.

Once I was swinging the home-made nunchaku around like crazy, spinning and twirling in front of my friend. When I let the nunchaku hang down at my side, one of the sticks fell off! We both let out a sigh of relief –if that nunchaku had broken just seconds earlier, I could have accidentally sent that stick flying right into my friend’s head.

Another friend of ours, a guy who was so cool that he wore Chinese slippers and the black kung-fu jacket to school, was practicing in front of a window in his house, where he could see his reflection. Like all cheap home-made nuchakus, one stick went flying off the chain. In his case the stick was moving so fast that it went straight through the glass, leaving a circular hole as wide as the end of the stick.

Lately I have been thinking about the nunchaku, but the problem is that nunchaku in some locations, like California, are a felony, and scream “WEAPON!” So I have been exploring using a padlock and chain, like you would use to secure a bicycle, as a semi-improvised weapon.

The idea is that the chain and padlock would be a hard-hitting flexible weapon like the nunchaku, but would not be illegal or out of place, particularly for a bike rider. It has been interesting to apply the principles of Big Stick Combat to the chain and padlock.

Tomorrow I’ll share with you the key principles of what I’m calling the Thunderbolt Chain.

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3 Responses to “Nunchakus”

  1. Yeah, that’s really the problem with homemade… They break easily -.-‘ That’s why I prefer to just use the foam ones. They won’t hurt me if I screw up, and they’re a lot more secure.

    I would like to get a professional pair, though, it would be nice to do some damage with them.

    I’m sure someday I’ll be able to make a kickass pair at home. Lol.

  2. Used some 1.25″ diameter pine dowel, 1″ long eye screws and 30 pound clothesline cord to make a double cord, medium weight, “soft” pair to see how various factors impact their use (pine is softer than hardwood on accidental hits on user body, and they are wider than usual so less sharp impact). Learned a lot about what to look for in store bought models from making a homemade pair, particularly length of cord versus control, and stick width issues. They’ve worked out so far with occasional light use (far from anything that might be damaged) but you have to check them carefully before and during use, and don’t know if they’ll last years or even months. But they look good on the wall. They’re intermediate in weight between foam/plastic and real hardwood. Had to round off the bottom edges to reduce the chance of injury inducing hits. Of course, making them has to be legal where you live.

  3. Found that using rope and eyescrews seems to slow down the action, which is good for learning (and staying injury free) purposes. Also used many turns of tightly wound duct tape around the stick tops, to counter external and internal cracks and help support eyescrew.

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