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View Full Version : do nunchucks actually work as weapons?


Mr. Excellent
02-09-2010, 05:46 PM
Not for sparring or formal martial arts - I mean, are nunchuks actually sensible tools to use in inflicting injury upon one's fellow human beings?

It would seem not. I mean, if you want to hit people with blunt objects, we have sticks. If you want to hit people with blunt objects from a greater distance, we have . . . longer sticks. I guess you could possible build up more speed at the business end of a nunchuk, since you can swing it on the chain - but the thing just isn't that long.

So, let me frame the question like this: Compared to say, a quarterstaff, a spear, or even a rock thrown in anger, how does a pair of nunchuks rate in terms of actually hurting other people in real fights?

Punoqllads
02-09-2010, 05:56 PM
Well, from a physics standpoint, Ek = 1/2 m v2. If you can increase the speed of an object by a factor of 2 by decreasing its mass by a factor of 2, you'll double it's kinetic energy.

Omar Little
02-09-2010, 06:15 PM
Only if you have the right skills.

palindromemordnilap
02-09-2010, 06:15 PM
1) Nunchucks (or nunchaku) are easier to carry than a staff or spear

2) Defensively, they are good for entangling swords, staffs, etc., and thus disarming a foe, while the nunchaku user remains armed.

3) They can be used not only to strike an opponent but to strangle or perform a joint lock, which might be useful if the object is to subdue rather than harm an opponent.

4) They are cooler than spears or staffs. Chicks dig guys that can do cool stuff. Remember, it's not the size of the weapon that counts...

engineer_comp_geek
02-09-2010, 06:17 PM
I saw a show about Bruce Lee that mentioned nunchucks. According to the show, they weren't considered to be very good weapons and weren't at all popular until Bruce Lee started using them in movies. You can still hurt someone with them, but as the OP pointed out, there are plenty of better weapons.

I always thought that nunchucks were basically devised as a weapon for folks that weren't allowed to have weapons, i.e. Japanese peasants. They could be used to thresh rice, and therefore were a farming tool (and therefore permitted to be used), but in a pinch would work as a decent weapon. Since it was basically a modified farming implement you wouldn't necessarily expect it to make the top ten list of good weapons or anything like that. However, poking around on the net for a bit I have found that while commonly believed, their origin as a farming tool may not have any basis in reality.

garygnu
02-09-2010, 06:17 PM
Nunchuku are a form of flail (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flail_%28weapon%29). Flails in general are weaponized versions of agricultural tools, but still effective at hurting people. There are certainly better options; I'd pick a bat or quarterstaff, but those are harder to conceal.

cormac262
02-09-2010, 06:22 PM
To your specific OP:
- compared to a (thrown) rock, nunchucks would be a more viable weapon because it isn't a "one shot"
- compared to a staff or spear (assuming the user knows how to wield it), nunchucks would likely not be as viable unless there were some environmental issues (cramped spaces) that would make the staff or spear less effective. This is more an issue of reach advantage.

The one you didn't ask about: compared to a baton or club (with equivalent reach). There are pros and cons - you can exert more force with less effort with nunchucks, and arguably faster speed with nunchucks. The downside is that they bounce, so you need to know what to do once contact is made.

However, nunchucks have other uses than just bonking people:
- if you've ever had one on your neck, you would know they make a very effective vice and can be very useful for "attitude adjustment"
- wrapped around your opponent's wrist, they can be used to hold them

Oakminster
02-09-2010, 07:02 PM
I once hit someone with nunchucks hard enough to elicit an "OW FUCK!". Unfortunately, the someone was me. That was the first and last time I messed around with the things. If you don't know how to use them, they absolutely suck as a weapon OR a cool toy.

Lumpy
02-09-2010, 07:55 PM
The chain or joint in flail-type weapons allows the striking end of the flail to move much faster than a solid rod of the same length. The Chinese three-section staff, or Sanjiegun, is if anything even harder to control than the nunchaku. An extremely versitile weapon, but only in the hands of someone expert enough to control it.

The Hamster King
02-09-2010, 07:59 PM
They're not nearly as dangerous as Clackers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clackers).

Spoke
02-09-2010, 08:16 PM
They are cooler than spears or staffs. Chicks dig guys that can do cool stuff.

Oh yeah. Nothing the ladies love more than a guy flailing around with nunchucks.

Delayed Reflex
02-09-2010, 08:40 PM
The chain or joint in flail-type weapons allows the striking end of the flail to move much faster than a solid rod of the same length. The Chinese three-section staff, or Sanjiegun, is if anything even harder to control than the nunchaku. An extremely versitile weapon, but only in the hands of someone expert enough to control it.

In addition to this, flail-type weapons don't transfer much of the the shock of impact to the swinger's hands - though this does have the downside of also not transferring your body momentum through impact either.

PlainJain
02-09-2010, 09:33 PM
Like so much of the other bunk of MA, I'd say not very effective. Recently I saw a prison video of and inmate beating an elderly guard. He wailed on him pretty good with a baton and yet the guard fought back and walked away. I've seen a video of someone getting beaten with a tire iron (a woman receptionist) and she fought back and ran off. The point is that people don't crumple up as easily in life as they do in the movies.

They are compact, but in a combat situation I'm guessing they would tangle easily. I've used them a lot for kata and me and my MA classmates would spar with rubber ones. Personally, I would rather fight empty handed.

mangeorge
02-09-2010, 10:24 PM
1) Nunchucks (or nunchaku) are easier to carry than a staff or spear

2) Defensively, they are good for entangling swords, staffs, etc., and thus disarming a foe, while the nunchaku user remains armed.

3) They can be used not only to strike an opponent but to strangle or perform a joint lock, which might be useful if the object is to subdue rather than harm an opponent.

4) They are cooler than spears or staffs. Chicks dig guys that can do cool stuff. Remember, it's not the size of the weapon that counts...
I think the test of any weapon is whether it's worth giving up the use of a hand for.
Peace,
mangeorge

handsomeharry
02-09-2010, 11:18 PM
If you don't know how to use them, they absolutely suck as a weapon OR a cool toy.

I don't know about that: as a weapon, they punished the recipient. As a toy, well, right now, somebody is quite amused! Missions accomplished!:D

Seriously, tho, they would be a good weapon, in the right context. You don't need to spin them all around and flip upside down, etc...and, like scissor, paper, rock, it may be superior to many of the others. Whereas a quarterstaff can hook the nunchaku by its own chain/rope, the nunchaku can also deflect the quarterstaff from it's course.
They can also beat somebody with only his bare hands, unless the barehanded one is not afrait to get damage to his own arm, hand, and then has strength and enough dexterity to whoop it up on you...
End result: they aren't bad, but not perfect.

hh

Oakminster
02-09-2010, 11:23 PM
I agree they can be effective in skilled hands in certain situations, but if I have to fight somebody and I believe the use of a weapon is lawful under the circumstances, I want something that goes BANG repeatedly, and blows large gaping holes in the target.

Clothahump
02-10-2010, 01:12 AM
I have a set of nunchaku that have wooden octagonal handles. The nice thing about them is that they will hurt like flaming hell when you whack them across a bony target (voice of experience), and the octagonal edge will slice like a knife if you hit across skin with power. Not a deep cut, but one of the most discouraging things for an attacker is the sight of his own blood. :D

Oakminster
02-10-2010, 01:22 AM
Not a deep cut, but one of the most discouraging things for an attacker is the sight of his own blood. :D

Depends. If he's drunk or on drugs, that may just piss him off.

BrightNShiny
02-10-2010, 01:31 AM
Depends. If he's drunk or on drugs, that may just piss him off.

:confused: I thought you taste the blood and just go back to fighting.

The Second Stone
02-10-2010, 02:04 AM
Clubs that are held firmly don't release as much of the energy into the target, releasing a significant amount of energy back into the wielder's hands. That can hurt, be tiring, etc. It also hurts the target more.

Mesquite-oh
02-10-2010, 02:35 AM
I always thought that the strength of the nunchucks and other chain type weapons was that because of the chain hinge in the middle, you could clock someone on the head who has a shield or an outstretched blocking hand while a club, bat or staff could be deflected because they are one solid piece.

Bearflag70
02-10-2010, 02:39 AM
Oh yeah. Nothing the ladies love more than a guy flailing around with nunchucks.

There goes my idea for my wife's Valentine's Day. :mad:

Critical1
02-10-2010, 02:44 AM
I wont claim to have actually used them in a fight but I am pretty skilled with them. (they make a really nice work out tool, especially if you use a pair made out of solid brass)

as posted up thread, you can use them as a lock and a very powerful lock at that. I have little doubt you could break a neck with these things. the catch, you would have to be really really sneaky or really damn good to actually use them for this purpose.

the other use is thrown. throwing them with a side spin with the intent to hit them in the legs has an effect similar to a bola, it can wrap up a leg and trip people effectively (I have done this, funny but painful)

in a fight I would honestly just hold them both and use them like a club.

Covered_In_Bees!
02-10-2010, 02:47 AM
I wont claim to have actually used them in a fight but I am pretty skilled with them. (they make a really nice work out tool, especially if you use a pair made out of solid brass)

You know we're talking about nunchucks right? ;)

Odesio
02-10-2010, 03:12 AM
Aren't nunchucks as we know them really a 20th century invention? There's not a whole lot of historical information about them being used by peasants in Japan or China. Or at least I haven't come across it. Not that I'm an expert on weapons, China, or Chinese weapons.

Critical1
02-10-2010, 03:49 AM
You know we're talking about nunchucks right? ;)

haha yes, I made a pair out of some left over brass rod. they are pretty thin maybe an inch, and about a foot long for each stick. heavy as hell and I cant do all the tricks I can with a regular pair but you get a fantastic shoulder and arm work out all over the place.

Otara
02-10-2010, 03:52 AM
Ive been attacked with them once, and got hit on the forearm wit the guy trying pretty hard.

With the adrenalin running I barely felt it. He was expected me to fall over I think, I wasnt the hugest guy in the world and no I dont know any amazing pain resistance techniques. With a sleeve on, it just didnt do that much.

N=1 admittedly, but I dont think they're really much use - any standard weapon with equivalent training could probably do as well or better.

Otara

China Guy
02-10-2010, 06:29 AM
I haven't seen the movie since it came out but Sharkey's Machine had someone very effectively beat the crap out of someone with nunchucks. primarily used as a club with a bit of flail. Not game of death danny inosanto style.

Dinsdale
02-10-2010, 09:47 AM
I remember during one seminar when we were working with sticks and knives Paul Vunak said if you have a jointed weapons the best thing to do is toss it to your opponent, and after he hits himself in the head with it, kick the shit out of him.

I'm pretty firmly of the belief that if you are interested in practical effective fighting, the simpler the better.

pravnik
02-10-2010, 11:06 AM
I remember during one seminar when we were working with sticks and knives Paul Vunak said if you have a jointed weapons the best thing to do is toss it to your opponent, and after he hits himself in the head with it, kick the shit out of him.You worked out with Vu? Awesome! :D

BrotherCadfael
02-10-2010, 12:06 PM
Not a deep cut, but one of the most discouraging things for an attacker is the sight of his own blood. :D

Depends. If he's drunk or on drugs, that may just piss him off.

:confused: I thought you taste the blood and just go back to fighting.

Obligatory Buffy quote:

Buffy: Spike, I just saw you taste your own nose blood. You know what? I'm too grossed out to hear anything you have to say. Go home.

Spike: It's blood. It's what I do!

md2000
02-10-2010, 03:19 PM
Nunchuks, like throwing stars, are illegal weapons in Canada. In the same category as machine guns...just not as effective.

Thudlow Boink
02-10-2010, 03:23 PM
How many nuns could a nunchuck chuck if a nunchuck could chuck nuns?

bleach
02-10-2010, 03:49 PM
How many nuns could a nunchuck chuck if a nunchuck could chuck nuns?

None.

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