This use of this innocuous-looking weapon made of two equal lengths of hardwood hinged by a short piece of silk cord is typically Okinawan. Nunchakus are common as plain agricultural grain flails all over Southern Asia and larger versions used to be found in Europe. Under the severe dominance of the Japanese, the islanders developed this weapon as a subordinate branch of the “te” style of combat. The size of the weapon dictates that it must be employed in close fighting, always from “te” postures. It is first whirled in a fast figure-of-eight or zig-zag fashion before the opponent with the object of disturbing the composure and gaining the mental initiative.
The free hand carries out the normal “te” movements of blocking or defending and, as the chances occur the nunchaku is capable of delivering smashing blows to the face, hands, wrists, knees, shoulder blades, or the ribs. Alternatively or in combination with such attacks, the weapon can thrust at the several other vulnerable parts of the opponent, such as the throat or groin. When really close, the nunchaku can strike at the kidney regions of the back. One particularly effective technique is to crush the opponent’s hand or fingers between the two pieces of wood, leaving him no choice but to give in.