Nunchucks, or nunchaku in Japanese, is one of the most iconic weapons of Eastern Asia. From the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, all the way to Bruce Lee, many martial arts themes movies have depicted fighters using this originally Okinawan weapon. However, Taekwondo is a Korean martial art, so it makes sense if they don’t use nunchaku, right? Maybe. That is the question we are looking to answer in this article.
Most forms of Taekwondo do not use nunchaku, or any weapon in their fighting style, however, they can be implemented into the art and sometimes are used as a way to enhance martial arts demonstration and technique.
Taekwondo is generally seen as a weaponless, empty-handed martial art. It can seem weird for many to even mention TKD and nunchaku in the same sentence, however, there are videos on youtube and a few articles as well which describe the use of these weapons for improving speed and coordination, or just for the sake of the show. Either way, it is a topic which needs to be examined closely, so read on if you are interested!
What are Nunchucks Called in Taekwondo?
Nunchucks, or more precisely nunchaku, are traditional Okinawan weapons, mostly used in Okinawan Kobudo and karate. They are also one of the most famous martial arts weapons of all time, sharing the first place with things like the Katana or perhaps the Sai. Bruce Lee is credited with having introduced nunchaku to the Western world more than anybody else, which is also why he is considered to be the most important person in the popularization of the weapon.
However, Bruce Lee, Sais, and Katanas are all from different countries than the art form of Taekwondo is from. TKD is technically Korea’s national martial art, and it was created as a way to develop a unified martial arts form that can be called Korean. The art is almost completely and everywhere weapons-free, so it makes sense if they don’t have a specific name for this weapon right?
Wrong. In Taekwondo, and in Korean, nunchaku is called by a variety of names (depending on the dialect or historical background of the given place or people), the most common of which are Yi Jeol Bong (2 section sticks) or Ssang Jeol Gon (twin section staff).
How are nunchuks Used in Taekwondo?
Taekwondo is a martial art that primarily uses the hands, legs, and the body in general, to block and attack. In most major organizations like the WTF, ITF, or ATA, there is absolutely no mention of nunchaku, or what’s more, of any weapon use. At the beginning of its creation and development, taekwondo was supposed to be a fighting style that, when trained, turns the body itself and especially one’s legs into weapons. It didn’t want to rely on using weapons for combat, for a couple of reasons. Not everybody had access to weapons, and the weapons aren’t carried around by anyone when going somewhere. For this reason, building and developing a martial art that is based on weapons seemed impractical and unnecessary.
However, there are some more “freestyle” Taekwondo practitioners who started to incorporate the use of weapons into their art form. This is very hard to do with TKD, seeing as it is a very kicking-based art, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t impossible, or that techniques cannot be borrowed from other martial arts.
The reason we said “freestyle” is because traditionally, TKD is an art form without weapons. This means implementing weapons practice into your training isn’t really Taekwondo, it is a hybrid art form that connects different traditional styles.
There doesn’t have to be anything necessarily wrong about this, though. TKD practitioners have pretty poor hand-fighting skills since they are so kicking-based. Thus, training with nunchaku can increase their hand dexterity, power, and toughness, while also increasing hand-eye coordination. Sometimes, nunchaku is also used for demonstration purposes, since it takes skill to perform all the fancy and acrobatic TKD moves, but even more to perform them while spinning nunchaku in your hand and performing countless strikes and blocks with them at the same time.
Best Nunchuks for Taekwondo
There can be many benefits to using nunchaku in Taekdonwo, like better reflexes, arm strength, speed, and coordination. For this reason, we have chosen two pairs of nunchaku you can buy now, which will improve your training experience. Although, we have to mention that for two specific reasons, the nunchaku we will talk about are practice nunchaku, made of foam, rubber, or similar materials.
One of the reasons, the main one, is that Amazon doesn’t sell anything which can be legally labeled as a weapon, and nunchaku are illegal in a number of state in the US. The other reason is that in Taekwondo, you will never use nunchaku for fighting anyway, but much rather for practice, and we believe it is better to practice safely, seeing as nunchaku can cause serious damage.
Estink Nunchaku – Best Overall
If you are looking for one of the best (if not the best) nunchaku you can practice Taekwondo with, the Estink Nunchaku is definitely one you should consider checking out. We have tested it, and we love the fact that even though it is a practice nunchaku, made of rubber, it does hurt enough that it gives a realistic experience. In addition to that, the caps on the rubber sticks and the chain connecting them are made of stainless steel, which again, makes it feel just that much more real, and also durable. Check it out on this link here if you are interested!
Jandays Foam Nunchaku – Budget Pick
If you are looking for a cheaper alternative to the Estink Nunchaku, but one that doesn’t sacrifice much of the quality, design, or durability for the price, these Jandays Nunchaku will be your best bet. It is not fully made out of rubber as the Estink, but rather had a soft foam coating on the outside of the sticks, making this nunchaku somewhat less painful and thus also safer to train with than the Estink. It also has a really cool Asian dragon design on it and is also connected by a cord, which is the traditional Okinawan way nunchaku were connected. Check it out by clicking on this link to Amazon if you are interested!