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My Nunchaku Technique Index

This is an index of all the techniques that make up my own nunchaku practice. Obviously, there are many more moves that lie within the puzzle of the nunchaku, and finding them is a matter of dedication and creativity. Unfortunately, most of these do not have a video clip example, and I don't know when I'll be able to update the clips since I do not have access to the programs needed to process them. I'll get them sooner or later. Remember, the names for these moves are MY terms for them, not the official terms.

-an explaination of some expressions-
"over hand" grip- This is the grip in which the person holds the nunchaku in such a way that when holding them in his closed fist upright and extending his thumb along the stick, the thumb will be pointing to the chain. "under hand" grip- When the person holds a nunchaku stick in a closed fist with an extended thumb, the thumb will point to the bottom (the end not attatched to the chain)of that stick.

"upward" spin is the basic spinning done by swinging them off to your side and they would appear to spin up infront of you. They spin downward infront of you in the "downward" spin. The upward spin is much easier and works better for techniques. I hope that explained those terms!

"Trade Off" moves

These are any technique that involves switching the nunchaku from one hand to the other. A great deal of free style nunchaku wielding involves these moves. Not only are they stylish asthetically, but in combat, it keeps the foe in suspense. It is composed of a "giving hand" which delivers the "free stick" to the "receiving hand." Those are some terms I'll use to explain some of these moves. Unless explained otherwise, all these trade offs begin and end in the overhand grip.

The shoulder pass- This is the classic pass. It is an easy move to start your training with, and is good for arm coordination since your receiving hand must meet the nunchaku in time or receive a sting.

The "reverse" shoulder pass- This is the classic pattern but in reverse. This is difficult and takes a lot of muscle control in order to keep the free swinging stick from hitting the back of your head. The giving hand tosses the free stick up and over the back of the shoulder.

The diagonal back pass- This is similar to the shoulder pass. The giving hand swings the free stick up and over the front of the shoulder in a way that it would strike the center of the back. In order to prevent spinal damage, the receiving hand reaches behind the back to catch it.

The straight back pass- This is very simple in motion, but difficult in timing. The giving hand swings the stick in a straight pack across the lower back and into the receiving hand. This takes practice to do quickly because you must be sure you have a grasp on it before letting go with the giving hand or else it flies off into a nearby windshield.

The neck pass- This is one of the more intimidating moves that is best done very slowly when first learning. The giving hand crosses the chest and swings the free stick around the back of the neck (let it roll across when first learning) while the receiving arm crosses the chest ontop of the giving arm to catch the stick up by the shoulder.

The leg pass- This pass is always the set up for a "get hit in the nads" gag in movies. The giving arm goes around the leg so that the hand is right behind the back of the upper thigh with the free stick swinging downward between the legs. The receiving hand catches the stick as it swings up and over the front of the thigh in either the over or underhand grasp. I HIGHLY recommend foam pairs for this move when practicing for obvious reasons (though it still hurts, trust me, I know!).

The forearm pass- There are many variations to this. It can be reversed or done in different grips. The basic pass is the same path as the shoulder pass, but without the shoulder! In order to see what I mean, perform a shoulder pass, but do not let go of either stick, hold that pose and bring the sticks out infront of you (still gripping and keeping the chain taught). THAT is the position it should be in. That's the best way I can explain it. The variations then make themselves obvious.

"stop" moves and direction changers

These are moves in which the free stick stops and changes direction. Velocity decreases to zero and changes to a direct opposite vector direction (didn't that sound cool? physics payed off!). These involve one of my major themes in practice: learn to control the inertia you create. In order to prevent bruises, you have to lessen the force your body receives by either muscle control, or by rolling it slightly using the chain until it comes to a stop. Many strikes come from these moves.

Waist roll stop- This is the basic front strike. It can be high or low, fast or slow (hey, that rhymed!) but all involve the free stick swinging out infront of the body and then stopping off to the side where the options are numerous as to the next move.

Leg stop- AKA the "ouch, my nads!" stop. Swing the nunchaku straight down and between the legs making painful contact to the family jewels. yeah right, but anyways, you end up stopping them along the inner thigh (right thigh for right arm, left thigh for left arm). This is best done starting with the free stick draped over the shoulder which would create an arc down to the leg.

Wrist stops- these can be painful if done on bare skin with chained nunchucks because skin gets pinched. I recommend weight-lifting gloves with wrist wraps when practicing this. A standard karate gi would most likely cover this area as well. Also, this can be done in either over or underhand grips but basically are the same idea. This is the overhand style: Keep a grip on the nunchakus, but swing the free stick in such a way that it wraps itself and the chain around your wrist and stays there. This comes easy after trying only a few times. It's a good way to finish a demonstration.

Shoulder stops- The upward stop is like a shoulder pass, but instead of the other hand receiving, the giving hand simply pulls it back down. It can actually pull it immidiately into a downward stop where the free stick hits the underside of the upper arm. Practice going these back and forth, just those two stops, and you'll pick up on how to control the inertia.


Any spin or other move that ends up "flipping" your grip on the nunchaku is what I consider a flip move. These are the more impressive moves, and the ones that gave me the most grief when learning. They rely on centripital force and trust that it works.

Wrist flips- These are my favorite nunchaku techniques. Unfortunately these are also the hardest to explain without demonstrating in person. See the clip for a better visual explanation. Essentially, if you are in the overhand grip and are spinning the nunchakus in an upward spin so that the free stick swings right along side your arm parallel to it, all you have to do is let go of the stick at a very precise moment and let the free stick and chain wrap around the back of your hand, and arrive in that SAME hand, but you holding the opposite stick and in the UNDERHAND grip. After completing this, you can find the appropriate release point to flip the nunchucks back to the overhand grip (see the clip for this combo).

Wrist "juggle"- I walk around the house doing this. I do this on the phone. It's just so fun when you get the hang of it. It's a type of wrist flip that begins with an overhand grip changing to an underhand grip, BUT then you keep following the same flip, but starting in an underhand grip and rather than the free stick wrapping around the back of the hand, it wraps around the thumb AND back of the hand, and keeps coming back to an underhand grip.

Finger spin- This is a vertical version of the Michaelangelo "helicopter" move from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (first movie). It begins in the overhand and ends in the underhand. All I know is that it took a long time to get the muscle control right, and it's too hard to explain. Just look at the clip :)


These are the attacks one can do with nunchakus. Strikes are really self explanatory, check the clip for a few examples. Basically, at any point where you make a swipe that would obviously be used to do some damage to the head, limbs, or nads of a person other than yourself, you are doing a strike.

Stiking angles are like those of the unit circle (radius of 1) with a 90 degree strike (straight down, usually followed by a leg stop), or a horizontal strike (angle of 0) which would be followed by a waist roll stop or other creative follow up. Then there is straight up, diagonals, etc. each having an appropriate stop move as well as a plethora of other follow throughs. Aim at an imaginary target in front of you, or at something yielding like a leat, light ball, fruit, etc. I recommend koosh balls.

The thing to remember about stikes is that you are generating a great deal of inertia which must go somewhere. Obviously my suggested follow ups are intended for situations where no contact is made to a real target. If you so chose to hit solid things for practice, watch out. You will get a shock in your hand, or a stinging recoil. NEVER hit a soccerball or basketball, that hurts like you can't believe when it bounces back.

Spin patterns

Spin patterns are the theme of my own demonstrations. I add a spin whenever I can in order to link different moves together. Spins can be verticle or horizontal. They can be performed in either grip. Spins are either inside or outside (inside meaning inside between your torso and arm, outside meaning outside your arm).

The figure 8 pattern- This is the classic spin pattern. It is a simple matter of "drawing" a figure 8 with the stationary stick, as if the tip where it meets the chain were a pencil point. This is a very defense - oriented spin as it would obviously ward off frontal attacks.

My modified figure 8- This is a modification I put on the figure 8 pattern that I learned very early in my practice. I can't explain how I do it, I simply "remember" with my muscles. I have an extra outside spin on the figure 8 and cause that by keeping my wrist down for a longer time rather than complete the other half of the "8." The clip shows both the classic figure 8 and my version of it.

Horizontal figure 8- This is easy as long as you do not hit your forearm during the spin. simply extend your arm perpendicular to your torso and use your wrist to spin the free stick in one circle above your arm, then let gravity pull it down and complete the figure 8 on the bottom, then pull it up and repeat.

Listing all of my individual spins is nearly impossible because there are so many possible combinations. When practicing spins, just try to see where a spin would look good when linking other moves. Instead of taking a direct straight line to a different limb or body part (such as a waist roll stop, leg pass, or shoulder pass), use an arc pattern made by spins. For an example, see the waist roll stop clip. Rather than simply going back and forth, I have an extra spin that occurs mid-pattern.

Double Nunchaku Techniques

Once you have mastered the basic physics and simple moves of the single nunchaku, try doing the same move at the same time with BOTH hands. This is where it becomes important to practice with both arms. My right arm is dominant, while my left is about 70% as good as my right. Doing double nunchaku moves might be intimadating, but they are quite simple when you stay calm and realize that you are simply doing what you know...only twice at the same time! The major hazard that occurs with double techniques is possible collision between the two pairs. Not only will this send your nunchakus flying in unforeseen directions, but you might chip or heavily damage your pairs. Take your time!

Double Crossing pattern- This is one of the techniques that is unique for a double nunchaku display. It is rather difficult, and takes a great deal of practice. The best thing to do is to watch the clip and TRY to follow it. If you were to isolate only one of the nunchakus, you would see that the pattern is rather simple, but when mixing two patters together, it becomes much more complex.

Symmetric patterns- Any double nunchaku pattern that is comprised of one arm's pattern being a mirror image of the other, you are performing a symmetric pattern. When one arm does a shoulder stop, so does the other, and so on.

Assymetric patterns-when each arm does it's own thing at any given moment, you are doing assymetric patterns. These are more difficult as the mind may focus on the right arm, leaving the left to do bad things to your skull. Performing assymetric patterns at high speeds is very difficult and one should practice a great deal before attempting them.

A Few Words on Combos

Combos are not only a great snack, but they are also flashy ways of piecing together your own creative nunchaku routine. Everyone naturally developes their own combinations and you should by no means try to copy the ones from my clips. That would limit you. Instead, focus on learning things that I haven't mentioned in this index, and when you do, tell me them! I may be trying to teach by this page, but I'm also always looking to improve my own skills and learn new techniques. I've already received a few comments about me being retarded for showing all of my techniques step by step to the world, but I told them that it's not about being able to do things that another guy can't's about being able to do your personal best and being creatively unique with them. There is a finite number of elements that make up simple moves like strikes, passe, stops etc. but combinations are limitless.

Use spins and stops as a "glue" to link your strikes, flips, and passes. That clip is one combo. Notice that I ended in the shoulder pass position, and that opens up for a whole different combo.

Other Moves

There are some moves that don't fit in any other category. These might be harder to work into a combo, but don't let that stop you.

The Airial Moves- any technique that involves releasing both sticks to the mercy of the air are airial moves. This move is easy to control compared to simply throwing them into the air. This move is done by performing a wrist roll technique without catching the free stick, instead, let it cause the whole nunchaku to flip up and into the air (it should travel nearly straight up if done right). The key to catching them is to pick ONE stick, focus on it, and catch that stick. Watch the point that you want to grab it it spin around...time it exactly as you want it.

The foot toss- This is a way to start a routine. Place the nunchakus on the ground with the sticks spreading the chain out. Try to work your instep under the chain, and gently lift them into the air and over above you. Catch them and begin your stuff! GENTLE is the key word, don't do an actual martial arts kick or you may never find your nunchakus ;)

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