Nunchaku

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Nunchaku (ヌンチャク Nunchaku?) are a traditional Okinawan weapon consisting of two sticks connected at their ends with a short chain or rope.

Contents

Etymology

The Japanese word nunchaku is generally believed to derive from the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese term for two section staff.[1] but it may come from nun (ヌン), meaning "twin" and shaku (尺), the approximate length of each arm of the nunchucks.[citation needed]

Origins

The popular belief is that nunchaku were originally a short Southeast Asian flail[2] used to thresh rice or soybeans (that is, separate the grain from the husk). It is possible that it was developed in response to the moratorium on edged weaponry under the Satsuma daimyo after invading Okinawa in the 17th century, and that the weapon was most likely conceived and used exclusively for that end, as the configuration of actual flails and bits are unwieldy for use as a weapon. Also, peasant farmers were forbidden conventional weaponry such as arrows or blades so they improvised using only what they had available say, farm tools such as the sickle.

However, it seems that mythology surrounding the origins of nunchaku has little historical accuracy. Unlike Okinawan rice flail (utzu), original nunchaku had curved arms, resembling an Okinawan horse bit (muge), which gave rise to the theory that nunchaku were originally a horse bridle.[3] Yet another theory asserts that it was adapted from an instrument carried by the village night watch, made of two blocks of wood joined by cord. The night watch would hit the blocks of wood together to attract people's attention and then warn them about fires and other dangers.[4] According to Chinese folklore, nunchaku are a variation of the two section staff.[5]

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