Are Nunchucks a Good Self Defense Weapon?

Nunchucks, or nunchaku as they say in Japan, are a traditional martial arts weapon. But we mostly see them used in movies in a flashy way, so are nunchucks a good self defense weapon?

Nunchucks are very effective for self-defense against an attacker, but only if used by a practitioner with a lot of experience. Without enough experience, the user risks striking and harming themselves. Or they risk having the weapon taken and used against them.

But in the right hands, with a nunchuck, you can skillfully hit your opponent from a distance, and this can knock them unconscious or even kill them.

However, what are the odds of having a pair of nunchucks on you? This weapon is illegal to carry around in many states in the US.

Historically, the nunchucks are designed to be used as a training weapon since they allow you to develop rapid hand motions and enhance your posture. Instead of conventional wood, modern nunchaku might be constructed with metal, plastic, or fiberglass.

The nunchuck looks like a really cool weapon from the movies we watch. However, is it a good weapon as the movies make it seem, or is it for show?

Let’s find out.

nunchuks good weapon lg

Are nunchucks a good weapon?

From my experience, the nunchuck is an effective weapon against attacks if you know how to use it well.

They can quickly generate tremendous amounts of striking force, and they are hard to defend against because they will bend around a defensive limb or tool to strike the target on the other side.

Also, most people are unfamiliar with protecting themselves against the nunchucks, which makes it an advantage.

The nunchucks are effective against solo opponents without a long weapon. 

The disadvantage is that you may easily hit yourself and become incapacitated. You might even unintentionally disarm yourself if you strike your own hands. However, daily practice of the nunchucks not only enhances your attention and fitness but also prepares you to defend yourself in a hostile situation.

Despite their obvious advantages, nunchaku is probably not a practical choice for most people, but practicing with them may enhance your general talents even if you’ve never used them as a weapon.

A person who is skilled in nunchaku can easily defeat a couple of opponents who are armed with knives.

With this, you might be considering getting a nunchuck for yourself. If it is legal to have one in your area, you can pick one up in a martial art store online or close to you.

Now one place that crops up a lot on internet searches for martial arts weapons is KarateMart. But is that the best place to buy them? Is it a scam site? And how do the prices compare to Amazon?

Luckily in a recent article, I break down all there is to know about KarateMart, including price comparisons with other sites and their actual Better Business Bureau score.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Does Kung Fu use nunchucks?

Initially, Kung Fu did not use nunchucks. But when martial arts instructor Dan Inosanto introduced the weapon to Bruce Lee, who initially practiced the Wing Chun style of Kung Fu, it began to gain popularity with Kung Fu schools.

Eventually, Lee left traditional Kung Fu (he practiced the Wing Chun variation) and started his own martial art called Jeet Kune Do, which was a custom blend of multiple arts.

And nunchucks are used at Jeet Kune Do schools.

But these days, there are a few Kung Fu schools in the United States that teach students how to use the nunchucks. While there is a clear Chinese Kung Fu impact on the formation of Okinawan Karate, the nunchaku appears to be a totally Okinawan implementation.

But is practicing Kung Fu is safe?

Find out in a recent article I published. I get into some of the most dangerous moves students learn and what the risk factors are.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Does Jiu-Jitsu use nunchucks?

Jiu-Jitsu does not use nunchaku or any other weapons. Jiu-Jitsu is designed for hand-to-hand combat and specifically designed for smaller and weaker practitioners and is primarily practiced on the ground.

Now one similar-sounding martial art that does use a lot of weapons is Ninjutsu.

In a recent article, I explained if Ninjutsu is good for self-defense or whether it’s just a showy art mostly used in movies. And do real ninjas even exist?

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Jiu-Jitsu is Japanese in origin, and Judo is one of the spin-offs from it. But of course, the best-known spin-off, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, combines both Japanese Jiu-Jitsu and Judo.

BJJ is really beneficial to learn since it instills confidence in you when someone intrudes on your personal space. Other martial arts can help you gain confidence to some extent, but not as much as BJJ.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu routinely places you in a worst-case scenario and then teaches you how to improve your situation. You may be lying on your back with someone much larger than you on top of you.

Unlike most other martial arts, however, Jiu-Jitsu will provide you with a realistic and repeatable means to escape without requiring your opponent to be gentle with you or move in a certain way for the move to function.

In Jiu-Jitsu, the aim is to disable, disarm, cripple, and dominate your opponent, as well as to learn how to use lethal techniques.

Did ninjas use nunchucks?

Ninjas never used nunchucks to fight. The nunchaku was not well-known on the Japanese mainland until the early twentieth century.

Ninjas utilizing nunchaku are mainly inspired by low-budget American and Hong Kong Ninja films. The first time I heard of “Ninjas” using nunchaku was in the James Bond film You Only Live Twice.

The cartoon, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, might have given the wrong impression that ninjas use nunchucks. Nunchucks and Sai are not traditionally Japanese but Okinawan (Okinawa is an island off the coast of Japan).

The kusari-fundo, also known as manrikigusari, is a weighted chain (imagine nunchucks with two tiny but hefty weights on each end). The closest thing to Sai is Jutte, which looks similar to a Sai but lacks one of the smaller prongs.

Ninjas are like assassins and spies. 

Their weaponry and tactics are focused on stealth and concealment, with an emphasis on escaping and avoiding confrontation, particularly pitched battles and open warfare.

Ninjas employ a variety of lethal and concealed weaponry.

The simplicity of these weapons is their distinguishing feature. It is designed in such a way that the weapons may be handled effortlessly and discreetly by a true ninja.

They are lethal enough to take on any challenging issue. Most of the weapons were intended for farming, but once the ninjas arrived, they were transformed into murdering implements

What nunchucks did Bruce Lee use?

The nunchucks that Bruce Lee used were the ones introduced to him by Dan Inosanto.

The nunchucks were tapered lightweight but solid wood stained black with chain and 3 deep grip grooves on each baton. They used to hang from his Barrington Plaza LA bookshelves.

The nunchucks originally had 6 long chain links at the time of filming, which Bruce later changed for 8 shorter links as he started to favor longer length and more fluid chains.

The first nunchucks that Bruce Lee used were in the 1966 TV show The Green Hornet, where he was introduced to the world as the Green Hornet’s sidekick, Kato.

After Bruce Lee was introduced to the nunchaku by Dan Inosanto, he started to teach Bruce how to use it. Inosanto taught him the basics and some exercises to get him started with his weapons training. Lee, of course, became a master of them.

Dan Inosanto continues to lead Lee’s Jeet Kune Do schools and Lee’s legacy to this day.

Century Martial Arts sells a reasonably good replica of Lee’s nunchaku. Currently out of stock, but you can check back – (not a paid endorsement).


If you have never used nunchucks before, you are more likely to injure yourself than your opponent. However, if you learn a few fundamental strikes and blocks and practice them on a regular basis, the nunchaku may become a highly rapid, adaptable, and lethal weapon.

Nunchaku is obviously tricky and dangerous. While they are not the best weapon for most people, they may be good for training since they can help you improve your coordination and reflexes, which is always beneficial.

Image by Kris Ward from Pixabay

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