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"A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at." Bruce Lee

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Brief history of the Nunchaku

Japan
More than 350 years ago, warlords of Japan prohibited the use of knives, swords or any type of ordinary weapon in Okinawa. So, the Okinawans where left to use their tools for protection and turned them into Kobudo weapons, such as the sai, tonfa and kama. Kobudo is a Japanese term meaning old martial way. From these tools became the Nunchaku, an agricultural flail for threshing rice. It's design was made from two harden sticks connected by braided horse tails.

Another theory suggests it was part of a horse harness used by Okinawan farmers, it's design was with curved handles and later changed to a straight-handled weapon. However there is some doubt to this theory, as with most agricultural tools, history has shown that farming flails were often used as weapons, this can be traced back to the ancient Egyptian Pharaohs. It just doesn't make sense to go from a curved harness to a straight-handled weapon, plus the fact that farming flails would be in more abundance.

Okinawa today is part of Japan, but the Okinawa's are not Japanese and have their own culture and language, although the latter is gradually being replaced by Japanese. The Japanese language does not even contain a word for the Nunchaku. When one needs to write "Nunchaku" in Japanese he may do it in one of two ways: He may use katakana, the syllabic/phonetic alphabet used in the Japanese language to write foreign and loan words, writing the syllables "nu-n-cha-ku". Or, instead, he may use the Chinese characters for "two member stick" (or "double part baton"), which is pronounced "shuang jie gun" in Chinese, "nun cha kun" in Okinawa and
"so setsu kon" in Japanese.

China
Another popular theory is that the Nunchaku originated from China, Song Dynasty. It was named "da pan long gun, meaning great coiled dragon stick. The weapon is comprised of one long stick and a short stick connected by horse hair. It was commonly used in wars against cavalry to trap horses legs. The weapon eventually evolved into a short range weapon as seen in our present day Nunchaku.

Some sources say that the first Song Emperor was in battle when an enemy general cut the end off his staff. Instead of using a different staff, he connected the two pieces with a short section of iron chain, creating a weapon known as a "sweeper."

In China the Nunchaku could be also know as Shuang jié gùn, Shuang-Chin-Kun, Shao-Tse-Kun, Er Jie Gun, Liang jié gùn


Movies
Nunchaku In the 1970's became famous by way of Bruce Lee movies.
After the Green Hornet series, Bruce opened a kung fu school called "Lee Jun Fan Gung Fu Institute" in Seattle. This is where he learned to use the Nunchaku from fellow student Danny Inosanto. Black Belt Oct 1967 features Bruce Lee on the front cover holding what was called a two-sectional staff.

Bruce Lee also trained with renowned Nunchaku expert Fumio Demura. Through out the years Nunchaku immediately became one of the most popular martial art weapons, it has appeared in many movies such as the popular Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Magazines
Nunchaku Time Line in Black Belt Magazine. Link here

The Law
In 1973 Newsweek magazine called them "killer sticks" it stated that police officers in Baltimore had been attacked "several times" by a weapon called the nunchaku, and warned of it use by street gangs. Immediately following the Newsweek article, Philadelphia Police where ordered to arrest anyone wielding the Nunchaku. This article set in motion legislation that prohibits possession or use of the Nunchaku in several states.

Newsweek was unable to verify its facts or provide the name, address or telephone number of it's author. Many of the laws passed against martial arts weapons in the early 70's where perfect examples of fear, ignorance and propaganda.

Newsweek Issue Date: October 15, 1973; Vol. LXXXII, No. 16

KILLER STICKS: The latest offspring of the martial-arts craze are called nunchaku. Two pieces of wood linked by a thong, they can choke or bash a victim. Police are concerned about their growing use, but some of them are buying the sticks --for self-defense.

Today
Today Nunchaku is still practiced in traditional Okinawan dojo's and in modern martial-arts styles around the globe. Anyone can build this ancient tool from broom stick handles too metal pipe, the simple design is what keeps it alive today, its effectiveness is what keeps it in the martial arts.

The modern Nunchaku has many nicknames, nunchucks, nunchux, chucks, chux, speed sticks, flail, nutcracker ect.

Nunchaku has developed into many forms enjoyed worldwide as a hobby, exercise, or as a performance art alongside with juggling and other forms of object manipulation. As a sport it has grown in Kumite, Kata, Self-Defense and Freestyle.

Freestyleforum.net has the largest online community devoted to discussing, teaching, and sharing the love for Nunchaku. We may see one day Freestyle Nunchaku in the Olympics.


Benefits of Nunchaku Training

*Enhanced physical fitness
*Increased hand and eye cordination
*Increased muscular strength
*More efficient cardiovascular system
*Increase flexibility in natural range of motion
*Reduced body fat and lean body mass
*Increased development of body awareness
*Positive changes in blood cholesterol
*Improve confidence and self esteem
*Improve concentration, and willpower.
*Enhanced ability in skilled movements