Nunchaku made in this style are round and taper from 1"
at the cap to 1 1/4" at the bottom. The bottom is specially rounded in a style called the "Baseball
Bat" style (abbreviated BB). Combining both features results in the style known as the Round
Tapered Baseball Bat (RTBB). It is available in lengths from 8" to 16" depending on the type of wood.
The above photo shows the typical RTBB style.
This particular wood is Cocobolo and you can see at the extreme right side, it has the chain cap option. As with most things,
there are pros and cons to this shape.
This shape is excellent for high speed motion because the surface
is round and smooth for fast hand transfers. Octagon or Square Nunchaku have edges which can "sting" the hands during
hand transfers. The extra wood at the bottom of the handle (the 1 1/4" end) moves the center of gravity
down closer to the user's hands making the Nunchaku feel less top-heavy.
Many martial artists want a heavy Nunchaku. The extra wood at the bottom of the
handle helps give this style of Nunchaku more weight. The wood is also wider at the bottom which helps to keep the
Nunchaku from slipping out through the hand.For many new martial artists dropping their Nunchaku is a rite of passage
for about a year of training. While I advise practicing on grass or carpet for that first year, that sometimes is not an option.
Pulling out a mat during practice at weapons class would probably be highly discouraged. The Baseball Bat end of the Nunchaku
won't chip out like Nunchaku which has a flat end (like the Octagon Non-Tapered (OCTNT) or Octagon Tapered (OCTAP)
mentioned further down). The photo below shows the damage which can occur to an octagon
On the downside,
if your kata or demonstration uses throwing or tossing techniques, the tapered shape of the RTBB Nunchaku will not be as easy
a shape to throw compared to shapes which are consistent from end to end (such as the Round Non-Tapered or Octagon Non-Tapered
shape, see description below).
Also since this style uses more wood, this shape costs a little more (pricing information is
available in the Online Store and won't be repeated here.
The second of five Nunchaku Body Styles
Non-Tapered Baseball Bat (RNTBB) Style Nunchaku
The Nunchaku on the left is an 11 link Indian Ebony Nunchaku. Tthe center is a 12 inch Nunchaku
make from an extremely rare wood from Suriname called Snakewood and the right Nunchaku is made from a West African wood called
Here are three examples of Nunchaku we make which are Round Non-Tapered Baseball Bat (RNTBB)
DescriptionIt is round and has a consistent diameter
from end to end; it is 1" at the cap and 1" at the bottom. The bottom is also
rounded in a style called the "Baseball Bat" style (abbreviated BB). Combining both features
results in the style known as the Round Non-Tapered Baseball Bat (RNTBB).
The above photo shows the typical RNTBB style.
This particular wood is West African Padauk. Below are the pros and cons of this style.
This shape, like the RTBB, is excellent
for high speed motion because the surface is round and smooth for fast hand transfers. As I mentioned in the RTBB section,
Octagon and Square Nunchaku have edges which can "sting" the hands during hand transfers.
If your kata or demonstration uses throwing or tossing techniques,
the non-tapered shape of the RNTBB Nunchaku will be easy to throw compared to shapes which are tapered (such as the Round
Tapered or Octagon Tapered shape, described elsewhere here).
Also since this style uses less wood, this shape costs a little less (pricing
information is available in the Online Store and won't be repeated here.
As I mentioned in the RTBB section, many
new martial artists drop their Nunchaku. While I advise practicing on a soft surface for that first year, that is sometimes not
practical. The Baseball Bat end of the Nunchaku won't chip out like Nunchaku which has a flat end.
at some of the pros of the RTBB will reveal some cons for the round non-tapered Nunchalu. Having a consistent diameter from
end to end means the Nunchaku is lighter overall than the RTBB. Not having that extra wood at the bottom will make the
Nunchaku feel more top heavy compared to the RTBB.
The third of five Nunchaku Body Styles
Tapered (OCTAP) Style Nunchaku
Here are three examples of Nunchaku we make which are of the Octagon Tapered style.
The Nunchaku on the left is an exotic wood from Southeast Asia called Bee's Wing Narra. The middle Nunchaku is
made from a stunning wood called African Tiger Bubinga which is no longer available. We sold our last pair of African
Tiger Bubinga Nunchaku early in 2008 and all we have left are photos! The photo on the right is a 11 link Octagon Tapered
(OCTAP) Black Walnut Nunchaku. This Nunchaku is a reproduction of the Nunchaku Bruce Lee used in his film Way of the Dragon.
Nunchaku made in this style are Octagon
(tapering from 1" at the cap to 1 1/4" at the bottom) with a flat bottom. It is available in lengths
from 8" to 16" depending on the type of wood.
The above photo shows the typical octagon tapered (OCTAP) style. This particular
wood is Mexican Cocobolo and you can see at the extreme right side, it has the rope option. The pros and cons of this style
are mentioned below.
The Octagon Tapered (OCTAP) shape of this Nunchaku gives some
extra wood at the bottom resulting in a heavier Nunchaku and like the RTBB, the extra weight at the bottom keeps this Nunchaku
from feeling top-heavy.
The Octagon Tapered (OCTAP) Nunchaku is difficult to find in the marketplace because it
is more difficult to make. It is one of the more popular shapes that we make.
above, this style of Nunchaku has a flat bottom. If you are new to Nunchaku, dropping them onto a hard surface can cause
the bottom to chip out.
Also since this style uses more wood than the Octagon Non-Tapered Nunchaku, this shape costs
a little more (see pricing information in the Online Store).
The fourth of five Nunchaku Body Styles is:
Octagon Non-Tapered (OCTNT) Style Nunchaku
Here are three examples of Nunchaku we make which are of the Octagon Non-Tapered style.
The Nunchaku on the
left is a pair of Nunchaku made from Mexican Cocobolo. The middle one from a West African wood called Movingui and the right
Nunchaku is made from Bocote, an exotic wood from Central America.
Nunchaku made in this style are Octagon and have
a constant diameter of 1" from end to end.
The above photo shows the typical Octagon Non-Tapered (OCTNT) style. This particular
wood is Snakewood from the South American country of Suriname, a wood which is currently unavailable. At the far right, you
can see the swivel cap option. The pros and cons of this style are listed below.
your kata or demonstration uses throwing or tossing techniques, the Non-Tapered shape of the OCTNT Nunchaku will be easy to
throw compared to shapes which are tapered (such as the Round Tapered or Octagon Tapered shape).
Also since this style
uses less wood, this shape costs a little less (see pricing in the Online Store).
As mentioned above, this
style of Nunchaku has a flat bottom. If you are new to Nunchaku, dropping them onto a hard surface can cause the bottom
to chip out and during high speed hand techniques, the edges can cause the hands to sting.
Also, since this has
a constant diameter from top to bottom, the addition of a chain cap will make these feel top heavy. Some martial artists counter
this by getting this style in rope (which keeps them from feeling so top heavy).
The fifth of five Nunchaku Body
Square (SQ) Style Nunchaku
Here are three examples of Nunchaku we make which are of the Square style.
on the left is a pair of Nunchaku made from Argentine Verawood, a wood in the same family as Lignum Vitae (Verawood
is commonly sold as Lignum Vitae). The middle pair is made from Bloodwood, a wood from Suriname in South America. The right
Nunchaku is made from Mexican Cocobolo.
Nunchaku made in this style are Square and are a
constant diameter of 3/4" or 1" (you choose the diameter in the Online Store). In trying to research the history of square Nunchaku, I was able to get some verbal stories of how they were used
in Old Japan by the city police but I can't confirm that with any documentation.
Others way that they were used in Japanese prisons
to subdue inmates without harming them. It immobilizes the inmates by cutting off their air supply.
The above photo shows the typical Square (SQ) style. This particular wood is
Bloodwood from Suriname in South America. At the far right, you can see that it is strung with red Paracord.
This shape allows them to fold closed so they are harder to detect when
tucked into a back pocket or jacket. Although these can be ordered with any length rope, most customers order them with very
short rope which allows the Nunchaku to "fold" closed. This is useful when used with pain compliance techniques.
Pressure on a surface is force divided by area. The reduced area of the Nunchaku allows the force generated by your
hand to result in greater pressure being applied to joints. This results in better pain compliance when compared to Nunchaku
of larger area or of longer rope.
Another useful feature
of Square Nunchaku is the ability to snap them together which produces a very loud crack ! .
This loud cracking can be intimidating to a would-be attacker. During your practice sessions
try to incorporate this cracking sound by simply letting the Nunchaku clap together during the routine not just during
the closing moments when you fold them closed.
the Octagon shaped Nunchaku these Nunchaku have edges that can sting the hands during fast hand transfers. These also have
a flat bottom which we have seen above can cause the bottom of the Nunchaku to chip out if dropped on a hard surface.
We have completed our discussion of the different Nunchaku Body Styles which are available.
How long should your Nunchaku be?
The ideal length
of your Nunchaku should be the length of your forearm. Measure the forearm from the elbow to the wrist. This will be 12 inches
in most cases. For martial artists who might have broad shoulders you might find that a longer length, say 14 inches, is required
for you to complete behind-the-back passes.
Twelve inches is not an absolute value. Maximum performance requires
you to find weapons that fit your body style. We specialize in customizing weapons to fit the need of martial artists like
Okay, we've discussed the five shapes that the wood and the pros and cons of each. Let's move on to the next
section highlighted below. This section is known as the Connector Style. This is where you decide whether to choose Rope
Chain vs. Rope
Let's discuss chain first. The "path" for your chain option is shown below.
must decide on the number of chain links for your chained Nunchaku. The options are 3 links to 11 links. Since 2007,
Woodall's Custom Workshop has been the only place where you can get 11 links for your chain
Nunchaku. The typical martial arts supply stores provide chain up to 7 links only.
Here are some guidelines and recommendations for choosing the chain length:
· Shorter lengths allow better control of the Nunchaku but give shorter reach for strikes.
links are the number of links available when purchasing mass produced Nunchaku from the typical large martial arts supply
· Most experienced martial artists which order chain from us choose the 5 link length option.
· Those who incorporate the study of Lissajous into their Nunchaku work choose the 3 or 4 link option.
· Those who study the Dynamic Chux Freestyle Nunchaku System requiring the long chain Nunchaku will choose
the 11 link option.
For those of you who have Rope Nunchaku and would like to try chain in the same length as
your rope, use the conversion table below:
1.75" long rope = 3 Chain Links
long rope = 4 Chain Links
3.20" long rope = 5 Chain Links
long rope = 6 Chain Links
4.70" long rope = 7 Chain Links
long rope = 8 Chain Links
6.25" long rope = 9 Chain Links
long rope = 10 Chain Links7.65" long rope = 11 Chain Links
Our online store has a
pulldown menu which allows you to select between Rope and Chain and then lets you choose your chain length (from 3 to 11 links).
Now you have to decide between the two chain link connector styles:
Ball Bearing Cap
U-Swivel CapBelow is the typical ball bearing cap.
This is hands down the most common connector style for chain Nunchaku in the world today. Ball bearings
rotate inside the top of the metal cap allowing the chain to rotate. This is important because the twisting of the chain during
use is straightened out by the ball bearings ensuring that the Nunchaku will always swing straight and true.
cannot rotate during use and you will notice the wood handle of the Nunchaku twist in flight in an attempt to remove the twist
in the rope.
The U-swivel cap is also designed to remove the twist in the chain allowing the Nunchaku to swing
straight and true.
Above is a photo of a Reproduction U-swivel connector that Woodall's
Custom Workshop has created.Woodall's Custom Workshop has
worked very hard to recreate the tooling required to stamp out and bend the steel parts of the Reproduction U-swivel.
As a result, there will be a charge for ordering the Reproduction U-swivel until we recover the cost of the
tooling for it.
The 1970's version of the U-swivel had a design flaw which caused the wood to split at
the top of the Nunchaku which we at Woodall's Custom Workshop have solved. More on that later, though.
Other advantages of ball bearing or
U-Swivel cap with chain include:
- Incredible strength of the chain. If you practice strikes or do demos
in public places where the possibility of a Nunchaku coming apart is something you don't want to consider, chain might
be for you.
- Also, the chain part of the Nunchaku can be used to trap and capture other weapons
including Bo staffs, Spears and Swords.
- Sticks remain true in flight as the rotation of the swivel removes the twist in the chain
of the Nunchaku.
- The cap and chain don't experience the wear that rope Nunchaku face.
- The ball bearing cap and reproduction
U-Swivel add weight to the Nunchaku, specifically 4 ounces. I list this as an advantage because many martial artists
want heavier Nunchaku. However if you are using your Nunchaku during a kata or demo and really want speed, this may
be a disadvantage.
Reproduction U-Swivel have an added advantage over the ball bearing cap. They are a metal connector style but do not have
ball bearings. Ball bearings can get contaminated with dirt which causes them to stick and freeze eventually requiring replacement.
As with all things, there are disadvantages as well, which
- The ball bearings can become contaminated with sand and begin to growl. If not corrected they will require
replacement. A simple way to prevent this is to always store your Nunchaku in a case (black
leather or vinyl with a zipper up the side) to keep out sand and dirt. Rolling around in the bottom of your karate bag along
with your sparring gear is a quick way to pick up dirt or sand and ruin the ball bearing cap. Also, as long as your bearings
are clean occasionally add a drop of oil to your ball bearing caps to lubricate the bearings. Don’t over do it as excess
oil tends to attract dirt. As a rule, Woodall's Custom Workshop adds a small amount of oil to your ball bearing caps just
prior to shipment.
- As mentioned above, the ball bearing cap adds 4 ounces of weight to your Nunchaku, unfortunately at the top of the
Nunchaku making them feel top heavy. This effect can often be counteracted by getting your Nunchaku in Round Tapered or Octagon
Tapered Body Style. The extra weight at the bottom of the Nunchaku helps move the center of gravity of the Nunchaku back down
closer to the hands.
- The ball bearings are noisy compared to the quiet speed of rope. I list this as a disadvantage because when I first
started teaching weapons class, the ball bearing cap was so noisy on the pair of Nunchaku that I was using, the class had
a hard time hearing what I was saying. I have since changed to rope. Of course, if you use your Nunchaku to defend yourself,
your attacker would be more intimidated by the sound of your Nunchaku whirling around him. In this case, this would
be an advantage. The sound of two Nunchaku, one in each hand, would be very intimidating.
Rope vs. Chain
rope now that we've discussed chain. The "path" for your rope option is shown below.
Your first choice when choosing rope is to choose the length of the rope. Below
is a photo showing how we measure the length of the rope when we add it to your Nunchaku.
If you have
used chain Nunchaku and would like to try the equivalent in rope, use the conversion table below to convert the number of
chain links you use to the length of rope (in inches). Our online store has a pull down menu which allows you to choose your
length of rope.
3 Chain Links = 1.75" long rope
4 Chain Links = 2.50" long rope
5 Chain Links = 3.20"
Chain Links = 3.95" long rope
7 Chain Links = 4.70" long rope
Chain Links = 5.50" long rope
9 Chain Links = 6.25" long rope
10 Chain Links = 6.95" long rope11 Chain Links = 7.65"
Just how did we decide how long the rope is for
a given chain length listed above, you might ask?
We simply used a test called the "Hang Test".
Below is the "Hang Test" for the 5 chain link Nunchaku. The two boards are adjusted to find the maximum distance
that makes the Nunchaku hangs straight down. Any further out and the bottom of the Nunchaku will pull away from the boards.
See the photo below.
The next thing to do is to rope a pair of Nunchaku and adjust the rope to get
the same hang. See the photo below.
Once the rope Nunchaku hangs straight, the next thing to do is to measure the
actual spacing between the tops of the Nunchaku as seen below. The dial caliper reads 3.20 inches.
The photos below show how the length of rope for the 7 chain link Nunchaku was determined.
The remaining rope lengths for the 3,4,6,8,9,10 and 11 chain link Nunchaku were
determined using the same techniques to fill out the table above.
In addition to the chain link equivalents above, we also offer
a rope length of 1.0" and an option called "custom length". In our online store, the pull down menu has a "custom
length" option. Choose that and mention in the "Notes" section of the checkout page the length (in inches)
that you would like for your Nunchaku. We can't make it any simpler than that!!
Still not sure?
The traditional way to measure the length
of rope or chain needed is to have the user lay the Nunchaku over the palm of the hand and have the Nunchaku "sticks"
hang straight down. This usually results in a length of 4.7 inches.
you are still not sure how long your rope should be use the following as a guideline (which is similar to the text from the
chain section above):
· Shorter rope lengths allow
better control of the Nunchaku but give shorter reach for strikes.
· A rope length of 4.70" is equivalent in length to the typical seven link Nunchaku sold at the typical
large martial arts supply companies.
· Most experienced
martial artists who order rope from us get it in the 3.2 inch length (5 link equivalent), the next most popular is the 1.75"
(3 link equivalent).
· Those who incorporate the
study of Lissajous into their Nunchaku work choose the 1" length.
· Those who study the Dynamic Chux Freestyle Nunchaku System requiring the longer reaching Nunchaku will choose
the 7.65" length (11 link equivalent).
Rope, Four Rope or a custom option
Hang in there,
we are about halfway through the discussion for your rope options.
Typical rope Nunchaku are made using the "Two Rope" option. Even though the Nunchaku is strung with one
continuous piece of rope, this is called the Two Rope option because the rope leaves each Nunchaku stick twice. This option
is good for Nunchaku which are made of lighter wood or which have a diameter of 1" at the top.
Woodall's Custom Workshop developed the "Four Rope"
option in response to customers who ordered heavy or large Nunchaku. Even with the fact that we use only Mil-Spec Type III
Official Issue MIL-C-5040H Parachute Cord, two ropes on heavy Nunchaku didn't feel right. We developed the "Four
Rope" option to beef up the connection and now it feels right. Again even though we call this the "Four
Rope" option your Nunchaku will be strung with one continuous piece of rope.
this option for Nunchaku which are made from heavier than normal woods (usually exotic woods), are 12 inches or longer or
for Nunchaku which are thicker than normal. You can order this for normal size Nunchaku also just to see how it would work
The hole at the top of the Nunchaku for the four rope option is 12% larger than the hole for the two
rope option - required to fit the extra two strands of rope. The larger size hole in the 7/8" wood leaves too little
wood intact at the top of the Nunchaku leaving the potential for the top to crack if the martial artist drops their Nunchaku
(and who doesn't occasionally?). As a result, Woodall's
Custom Workshop will not allow the four rope option to be installed onto Nunchaku which have a diameter of 7/8"
or less at the top.
"Airport Loop" Nunchaku
This section was created for those rope options which are unusual - like the "Airport Loop". This unusual
style of rope was created for those martial artists who travel a lot and want to take along their Nunchaku. Below is a photo
showing how the "Airport Loop" Nunchaku work.
We at Woodall's Custom
Workshop can't take credit for creating the idea of the "Airport Loop" but you've got to admit, the idea
is brilliant. This is especially true today with the increased scrutiny and security placed on air travelers. The idea of
the Airport Loop Nunchaku is simple: separate the Nunchaku into two pieces. Put each piece in separate checked
(checked luggage, not carry-on) luggage. If a piece of checked luggage is searched the only thing the inspector will
find is a stick with a rope loop at the top. At your final destination, you reassemble your Nunchaku.
drawback to the Airport Loop Nunchaku is that the loop has to be large enough to fit the bottom of the other Nunchaku stick
through. This makes the Airport Loop Nunchaku rope length no less than 2.75" long for Nunchaku which have
a diameter of 1.25" at the bottom.
The above photo shows the brass grommet that we install in
the top of every rope Nunchaku that we sell. It strengthens the top of the Nunchaku (where the wood is the smallest in
diameter) and also protects the rope from chaffing against the wood as it exits the top of the Nunchaku.
PARACORD ROPE OPTIONS
The photo above shows the eight different color Parachute Cords that we have available.
This is one area where you can let your creativity run wild. Look at the photo below to see what others have chosen
for their Nunchaku. You can choose a rope which complements the color of the wood of your Nunchaku or you can choose a color
which wildly clashes with the wood.
You can see the ropes complement the woods at B, C, E and J very nicely. The
ropes at A, H and I use one of their colors to match the wood and the ropes at D, F, G and K are wildly contrasting to the
woods. For those who just don't know what color to choose, I recommend black Paracord like the customers in the whole
of the Paracord
There is something else to consider.
After extended use, some woods can "dust" the rope from inside the hole. Some color-intense woods like Padauk,
Bloodwood, Snakewood, Bocote, Cocobolo, Indian Ebony and African Blackwood will transfer their color
to light colored Paracord like White and Yellow Paracord. It is best to choose other colors of Paracord for these woods.
WE'RE DONE !!
- We have discussed the Nunchaku body styles - Round Tapered Baseball Bat Style (RTBB), Round Non-Tapered Baseball
Bat Style (RNTBB), Octagon Tapered (OCTAP), Octagon Non-Tapered (OCTNT) and Square (SQ). We listed the advantages and disadvantages
of each one also.
- We discussed the connector styles - Rope
and Chain. We discussed the two types of chain style - the Ball Bearing cap and the new Reproduction U-Swivel cap.
We also discussed the options for rope Nuchaku including the Two Rope, Four Rope and the custom options (which is currently
limited to one custom option - the "Airport Loop").
also discussed how your rope Nunchaku is constructed. We use a brass grommet at the top of the Nunchaku to minimize rope wear
and we also give you a choice of eight Paracord rope colors to blend or contrast with your choice of wood.
Where to from here?
If you still need to determine the
type of wood you want for your Nunchaku go to the "Wood Choices" page using the navigation menu
at the top of this page.
If you would like to see more about the hardness and weight of the woods we use for Nunchaku,
go to the "Wood Charts" page using the navigation menu at the top of this page.
are ready to order now, go to our secure online store. See the link in the navigation menu above.
Looking at the photo below we have two optional area which
we have not discussed. These are the Inlay Service and the Kanji Service. Use these sections to really personalize
the Nunchaku that we are making for you.
Since these apply to all the martial arts weapons we sell,
I am not including these sections here but you will find them on other pages on our website labeled "Inlay Service"
and "Kanji Service".