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Last update: 27/04/2010
Traditional Chinese Nunchaku style
Traditional Chinese Nunchakus are used to be made of wood and linked by a rope, but they’ve also been caught up by metal chucks linked by a chain which turned out to have better abilities. Nowadays, it is really hard to found such wooden Nunchakus.
Chinese Nunchakus have specifics features in comparison with common Nunchaku well known in the other part of the world:
- Their chain is longer: it is about 15 to 20 centimeters.
- Their weight is also higher: it is worth 350 grams.
- They are well balanced: the weight is more focused on the top of each stick (near the chain) instead of their bottom.
- They make sound: free metal parts or simply extra links inside the sticks make noise varying along performed moves.
- Some of them have two free rings round the chain: on part of theses Chinese Nunchaku, we can found two little rings able to move freely along the rope. Theses rings have two main uses: they first lightly modify the gravity centre of the Nunchaku while performing moves making it more stable and, secondly, they allow performing specific moves only available with that kind of Nunchaku.
In view of its chain length and its weight, Chinese Nunchakus wouldn’t be easy to handle if they were not well-balanced: a skilful weight dividing up confers amazing abilities on it, making it able to reach high control, power and velocity levels.
Focused around the chain, that’s to say near the Nunchaku gravity centre, the Nunchaku weight makes it to remain more stable and handier. A little impetus will be directly amplified, generating power and velocity. Nunchaku control loses while attacking or while striking is really softened.
Length and chain balance make the handling easier: with a common Nunchaku, when we attack having our hand near the rope, we will have more velocity and control but less power and reach, whereas if we handle it having our hand below on the stick we will have more power and reach but lower velocity and control. Chinese Nunchaku, as for it, gathers velocity, control, power and range having one handling possibility: the hand is on the top of the stick. It avoids to be forced to change the hand position while handling which can be quiet tricky.
Chinese people who handle really like the sound brought by their Nunchaku. Originally, it was made to frighten opponent and make him confused: indeed, the sound is so diffuse that is impossible to rely on to know where the free part of the Nunchaku is but human body is used to trust it instinctively. So, it is not possible to anticipate the attack and to know from where it will come up. Up to now, this noise have been kept either traditionally or to have a more aggressive way of handling Nunchaku.
The really first martial art using Nunchaku is the Chinese kung fu, Wushu style, originating from Shaolin temple. All the other Asiatic martial arts, excepted Japanese ones, get influenced by Kung Fu regarding Nunchaku way of handling. Although each martial art has evolved apart, we can distinguish a lot of similarities between them and basic moves taught are often the same.
Chinese way of fighting is clearly specific and it is in a real opposition of the Japanese one: whereas Japanese people strictly perform moves to attack and get back in guard position, making a jerky but efficient way of handling Nunchaku, Chinese people perform moves more flowing with much more bends before the attack. It shows well each country state of mind: Japanese people as a whole are straight and serious while Chinese people as a whole are kind of what are attractive and flowing.
Chinese way of fighting use basic Nunchaku moves but more abilities from this weapon are highlighted: indeed, performing one or two spin(s) before an attack is really attractive but it also make the opponent absent minded and unable to know when and from where the attack will come up. It also allow to gather more speed and, finally, to hit really harder.
Chinese people are used to integrate their own body abilities into their Nunchaku handling: body spins, jumps, kicks, flips and other martial arts stunts, etc.
It is generally a quite nervous way of performing according to a nonstop moving behaviour adopted to merge with their weapon. Martial techniques range is wide and it is really hard for the opponent to defend himself, whether he is armed or not.
Chinese martial arts also use fighting technique having both hand armed, for example two sabres: it has been echoed to Nunchaku way of handling with the development of a two combined Nunchaku way of fighting, really efficient.
It is quite impossible to block a two combined Nunchaku attack: dodge is often the only option in front of such an opponent.
Traditionally, training is used to be divided in two separated stages: first pupils learn a lot of martial techniques and train themselves to handle them well. Then, short fights are organised between pupils to make them able to be in a true fighting situation. They had to be very careful because without any item of protection, a simple attack could become rapidly fatal. The aim of theses short fights is to acquire, for pupils, martial reflex and a necessary perception for real fights. Nowadays, theses fighting exercises are performed with safety Nunchaku (foam rubber Nunchaku), to avoid injuries excepted for advanced pupils.
Chinese way of handling Nunchaku is still full of values and lore: we can easily feel its heritage trough each people who handle Nunchaku that way.