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Using Nunchucks or Nunchaku

Updated on June 8, 2012

No, I don't know what I'm doing!?

 Ah, I found this on the "Questions" on how to properly use nunchucks (or nunchaku.) I have to say, not to be rude, but the two people who answered were either wrong, or too advanced for a beginner.

First of all, if you're careful, and you take things slowly and learn with ease, you are NOT going to beat yourself up. I actually learned a few moves without ever hitting myself once.

While yes, I have witnessed people using them, hit themselves, it was because they didn't have the patience to take it slow, and wanted to jump from beginner to advanced to quickly.

First of all, if you begin by holding one end, gripping it tightly and extending your arm out far as you can from your body. Swing them gently in a circle. Once you feel comfortable with a simple circle, (I'm talking a few days, maybe weeks, just get it down before advancing) then you can take it to a figure 8. SLOWLY, as slow and far from your body.

Move your whole arm in a figure 8, and practice this A LOT. Yes, a beginner would like to use maybe some rubber covered ones, but if you're careful, that's not really necessary. I've never owned ANY rubber coated ones or "safety" type nunchaka. I went straight for some home made ones that were just wooden, put together with nylon thread, and shaved rounded on the ends so that the wood would not eventually cut through the nylon.

Practice that figure 8, like I said, far from your body, and slow. DO NOT attempt to get feisty and go faster until you are 100% ready. That's how people get hurt.

A lot of people think these are for hitting, when in actuality they work better, I find as a weapon to keep you from harm, or to CUT. As hitting makes it bounce back, and can either hit YOU or something to throw you off.

Now that you've practiced the figure 8, and you feel confident, you can speed up, and go a bit faster, just do that for awhile. Go a bit faster. Get it down pat before moving on. You can use your own body to bounce them off of, but since you're using your own body, you know how much pressure you can use to hit. Not much. Unless you have a plan on where they are going to bounce back and keep you from harm, and keep your enemy at bay.

Ok, so you got your figure 8 down, you can move with them ease. The first place I recommend trying is over your shoulder. Do your figure 8 slowly, and when you feel confident you can slowly swing it over your shoulder, holding your elbow outward, you can reach under your arm with your other hand and make sure you grab it. If you don't, you're not moving fast, so it might swing back, and you lost the grip. That's ok, it's practice. With practice, you'll eventually work from the figure 8, until you can swing it under your arm, and when you can grab it with your other hand with ease, you're ready to let go with your other hand, and bring it to your left (or right) out, and do more figure 8's.

It is important to USE BOTH HANDS EQUALLY TO MASTER THE FIGURES. NEITHER HAND IS DOMINATE OVER THE OTHER. YOU'VE GOT TO BE EQUAL, that is why I am not saying use your left or right hand. Begin how you are comfortable, just make sure you use both hands with comfort, and EQUALLY.

Now you can grab it under your arm, and begin to swing it the same as you did with one arm, and bring it under and grab it with the opposite hand. When you can do this, with both hands equally, still, do not increase your speed. Keep it slow until you can move them from one hand to the other under both arms equally.

You can use an impressive move to friends by learning to bounce it then off of your inner leg. It doesn't really serve a purpose, but it does look impressive as I said, and it WILL keep an enemy at bay. But an experienced user can snag them from your hand with a single swipe, and you're OUT. But just for fun, for learning and to appear impressive, then you do your figure 8, swing when you're comfortable with it, and bounce it off your inner thigh, and back into the figure 8.

Do this equally with both hands and legs. Always stand with your legs apart so you have plenty of room. Once you get this down pat, and are moving sort of slow, you do a routine, first your fiture 8, then over your shoulder, grab it, slowly swing it back to one figure 8, then bounce it off of your inner thigh.

DO THIS EQUALLY WITH BOTH RIGHT AND LEFT HANDS AND LEGS. It's the only way to make sure you're evenly moving them as to not hurt yourself, and PLEASE make sure you practice either alone, in a yard or place where you will not hit something or someone.

You can learn your own routine by doing this repetitively, and slowly until you work up to going faster. NEVER EVER think you can master this within a week or so, because if you have never used them, you cannot possibly practice them long enough to show off your talent effectively without hurting yourself or someone around you.

Also, in my opinion, I would NEVER buy any with connecting chains. I do own them, but they hang for nothing, and are never used. Not even when I play around with them. The chain makes them move uneven when you're going slowly. Only the most experienced of Martial Arts artists can make one with chains move with ease. That is because they have practiced them for years, not just weeks or days.

I saw this question was only answered by two people, and so I sort of jumped into this without video at hand of myself trying to show you a slow motion use for learning, but I will add to this page myself using them as a demonstration on how to just "be impressive" not really to teach you how to use them professionally, as I am NOT a professional. But I can be impressive... for a girl! :) lol. Be patient, and when I update this hub with my video, I hope to see some of you ladies out there know you can do this just as well as men, and know you have at least one other form of protection, because if the opponet does not know how to use them, they will keep distance from you, and they will not be able to take them from you.

Beware tho, yes, an experienced Martial Arts artist will be able to take them and use them against you. But that would be hard to find in a regular setting or, well, in this country America. :) We tend to fight with out fist, or other weapon of choice. I highly doubt you'll ever enounter an Asian man who you would want to use them against. If anything make friends with them, so they can teach you more! :)

Well, I hope someone found this helpful, it is possible to learn without hurting yourself, if you just remember, EVERYTHING GOES VERY SLOW UNTIL YOU HAVE EVERY MOVE DOWN, AND YOU, AND YOU ONLY ARE THE ONE TO DECIDE WHEN YOU CAN INCREASE SPEED!

Good luck, and really, just have fun, learn to impress, and not just to fight. There's plenty of fighting going on in the world, and I believe with all my heart, although it's a fighting tool, it's also called "Arts" for a reason. It's a beautiful movement of Art, such as dance or any other form of body movement. It's just more protective. I will post video as soon as possible. Thanks for reading, and remember SLOW is the key to learning.

nunchucks (or nunchaku)

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  • profile image


    6 years ago

    That's a knowing answer to a diulfcfit question

  • profile image

    Nunchaku Master 

    7 years ago

    The nunchucks are good for self defense especialy when there are many opponents.

  • Katharella profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Lost in America

    LOL.. well.. it's been awhile, gimmie some time to practice up and put on a suit of armor! :)

  • Phil The Gain profile image

    Phil The Gain 

    8 years ago from Planet Earth

    Nice hub. Do you want to battle? LOL

  • Katharella profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Lost in America

    Hi Brian, please do not take my words out of context, but of course anything helpful is welcomed. My understanding and use as I have mentioned in my writing is that the weapon can be swiped from you in a heartbeat by an experienced user or like you say, drop that kneecap! In a single swipe, it can choke the life out of one. Well, I did bring that to the attention of my readers.

    I very well do understand "Be like the water in the glass" maybe differently, has it been explained by Ol' Bruce. Invisible. Clear. Calm. Quiet. If it was meant take the shape handed to you, another device would hold the water.. a balloon perhaps. Shape to opposing movement.

    I hope I didn't confuse my readers, as this could be personal opinion, not traditional, nor disrespect to traditional use of this particular weapon. You mention the practice on that ol' tree you don't like, body bag (that rises question lol) etc. whatever, but in MY PERSONAL belief is that it's not always a "hit" to anything as rather.. (Oh my how to word) .. let's put forth the scenario I'm a scantly clad young woman walking alone in an undesirable area (let's use central park, it's after all, 'central') :) I'm approached and ask said person leave me alone. When the person comes near me again I think to myself... "I am a good person, I do not kill but I may want to give them good cause to go away when told the next time, given there is a next time" Thoughts have to flow quickly as the weapon to keep time. As the weapon can easily slide with one grip and be brought out quick enough to secure the other person down, rendering them helpless to my grip by putting his neck under "the chain or rope", he thinks goes into a said, "fight or flight," although he cannot flight, so he is at my mercy. Not knowing when a person puts you down so quickly if their intentions hold mercy in their vocabulary, the would opt for "please just let me go"... it is then the choice to make sure he's just found in many broken bones or is he let go? Myself, I would go into protection mode, and slice the "very trained eye" to an half inch to the adams apple, enough to bring blood, and best of all, fear to my attacker. In a court I might be held responsible (not knowing NYC laws of any duty to retreat or such) or I may be cleared in self defense. Still, THE OBJECT always, as I said in my opinion would be to render them at my mercy, cut, or make sure they stayed home rather than meet up with the next girl I have taught? The question would just remain, is this a weapon to kill, hurt, break a "chin" rather than kneecap or maybe slice a critical place, or snuff the next breath and there is no opposing story.

    I think this is a very much more complicated weapon than some would take into consideration. But still I guess my main message was to learn with care, wisdom and very very VERY much tenacious and tediousness to be able to take those baby steps to get there. After all, the girl may have wanted to be innocently keeping herself in shape and why should that be interrupted by anyone trying to harm her regardless of their desire. IMPORTANTLY, a man should use the weapon as wisely, it is not necessarily to harm, but also just to ensure safety as well as feeling secure anyone can take care of themselves without use of a.. "loud" or heavier weapon.

    To reply to the smoothness of the wood.. I'll not need to ask Alice..Gladys.. I actually left mine cut straight and after 30 years of owning it, the rope has barely frayed, given non-use about 10 of those 30 years. (injury, see Shoulder Impingement" :) which I should have linked to maybe, and kept up with keeping my shoulders stronger) MY-BAD ::ahem:: but I would actually not recommend shaving it too smoothly, simple varnish from the store makes for a good sliding surface if you take it that far, or even just some good old fashion electrical tape! Maybe Windy O can help us out there!

    Peace be with you too Brian

  • profile image

    Brian Bartulis 

    8 years ago

    Well that ssems to have thinks :)

    I agree totally with the baby steps mentioned, and here today because the 30 yo chain chuks never felt right and gave it up.

    My true feeling of chuks, learning not to hurt ones self is that the action is a constant agression once a move per se is learned...always pulling. Hesitate like a newbie drummer with no rhythem is sounds like crap. And the same reason most cannot use a hullahoop~following the momentum will get you hurt. Pull the SOB.

    I'm trying to nutshell this a bit bud and not a very social animal. :)

    Of that baby steps~so one move, action per se is feeling comfy? The idea is a weapon so use it as such. Get that down hitting something with the extreme pull. Lol, a tree you don't like, body bag, swinging tennis ball on a cord...tha action changes and one needs to feel that before moving on.

    Armpit pops don't count but treat it like a sword. Your bod is verticle in the way, so strike diagonal as the eight design ay? 'n angry people aren't always stupid. If you just twirl the buggar around like a baton showboating counting on fear someone may just kick your kneecap to the Darwin side of damn that's a nasty limp. you have for a twentysomething.

    Like the OP said it's defence. Learn one well then move on.

    Out on a limb here as mention. Ol' Bruce said something once that makes so much sense. "Be the like the water in the glass". If ya don't understand that, it's along the line as take the shape of what's handed you.

    another re-direction but in defence of the art, being novice at best. Chuks teaches ones neurons by just trying not to hurt ones self to catch things others drop before they know they did. Near reaction time of a minnow~how fun!

    the chain does su(k, and ifen ya lose a chuk striking something, don't look near. it just might be across the street. how smooth does wood need to be were wood meets rope? lol, ask Gladys. She found it. snic

    Peace man, B

  • profile image

    Brian Bartulis 

    8 years ago

    Hey there :)

    testing whether or not I can post here.


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