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Nunchucks (Shuangjiegun)

Everyone calls them “Nunchucks”, but this is not the appropriate term: Shuangjiegun (雙 Shuang = rope, 節 Jie = to join,  棍 Gun = stick, pronounced “shan-jia-goon”) is the original name of this weapon.

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Born in China as an agricultural tool, the versatility of the Shuangjiegun soon became clear to Japanese Karate practitioners (hence the Japanese name “nunchaku”, and then the Americanized term “nunchuck”), although its with Bruce Lee’s Kungfu movies in the 1970 that its popularity exploded. Since then, everything that now has a Shuangjiegun-like shape, is called nunchuck, but here at Martial Arts Explained we want to give this weapon the prestige it deserves, by first calling it the right way.

Body mechanics in the service of Self Defence

The similarity of the Shuangjiegun with Human Body makes this weapon one of the most efficient weapon out there. Here’s why: the efficiency of our arms (and same concept applies to our legs) is given by the possibility to extend them and contract them as we please. Of course, physical training and technical training are the two factors making our arms and body deadly, but basically speaking we can state that

arms, legs and Shuangjiegun share the same principle of contraction-extension

Shuangjiegun NunchucksNow, imagine if your arms and legs didn’t have to be conditioned in painful BMC exercises, but were naturally immune to pain and ready-to-fight… wouldn’t it be everybody’s dream…? Well, the Shuangjiegun fulfills this dream, by providing an extension of your arm, but faster and immune to pain caused by impact.

Fast on the crop-field, Deadly on the Battle-field

The efficiency of the Shuangjiegun is given by its speed, range of movements and, as stated above, by its contraction-extension feature.

  1. Speed, because they will always be lighter than your arms. No doubt on that.
  2. Range of Movements, unless you think you can bend your arm in the opposite and side direction. This is the best skill of the Shuangjiegun, as it can go everywhere with no risk of over-extension.
  3. Contraction-Extension Mechanism: when you throw a punch, your fist draws a path that goes from your chest (or face) to the maximum excursion of your arm. The Shuangjiegun doubles this range, by reaching a longer distance (again: your opponent), but allowing you more protection, as you can now attack by a longer distance.

Weaknesses of Shuangjiegun

A deadly weapon like this can turn out to be your opponent’s sidekick if you are not trained enough. There are two situations where you’d rather run away in front of your opponent:

  1. you hit yourself (and maybe you will be hitting just down there)
  2. you hit you opponent, but you don’t consider the force feedback given by the impact of the terminal stick on him.

Remember: being a skilled Shuangjiegun free-styler is not equal to be skilled with its application as well

Light wood. Period. Rattan would be the best and cheapest choice. Aluminium and Carbon are great too, but they are famous for their "side effects".

It depends: generally speaking, the shorter the sticks, the longer the chain, and viceversa. My suggestion is to try with some wooden sticks and a rope: play with that prototype, and when you are happy with your choice, start over with quality material and components.

Aluminium stains hands: your joy after using them as fast as you can will be soon become a nightmare after you realize how black your palms will become, so please think twice when choosing Aluminium for making your own Shuangjiegun.

Great choice: super light, does not stain either, but just a tiny chip on the edge of one of the sticks may lead some micro-carbon spikes to hide deep in your hand: you will feel pain, but good luck in finding where the spike (and how deep) is.

Yes. Don't underestimate the rope, as it's silent and lightweight. A chain of course is the ultimate choice in terms of durability, but requires bearings and lubrication.


Ease of learning
Efficiency (short vs long range ratio)
Range of Attack
Athletic Engagement


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Fabio Zambelli
Fabio Zambellihttps://www.martialartsexplained.com/master-fabio-zambelli/
Founder of the Shunlian Shenghuo Kungfu Academy - Master Craftsman of Heart of The Orient - Designer of Martial Arts Explained



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