Nunchaku Buying Guide

Part of a long-standing fighting tradition, nunchaku are tools used in karate and other martial arts of Okinawan origin. They are often the first martial arts weapons that people see and learn about, having been exposed to a mass global audience by Bruce Lee. These tools, which consist of two solid stick handles of varying lengths connected by a chain known as the kusari or a rope known as the himo, are used to develop quicker hand movements and improve posture. These weapons require great care and knowledge, as they can spin at extremely high speeds. AWMA has nunchaku to suit your needs, from training to demonstrations.

Getting the Right Size

One of the factors to consider when picking out nunchaku is the length of the connecting rope, chain, or cord. This part should never be longer than the width of your palm in order to protect your own safety. Find the proper length by dangling the nunchaku from your wrist with your palm face down. Grab the outer stick with your opposite hand and then pull it towards you in a tying motion. You should feel slight pain or pressure from the squeeze. If you don't, then the pair is too long for you and you'll need to go down a size. AWMA offers nunchaku in various lengths, including the standard 12-inch length that is common among beginners.

Importance of Balance

Size isn't the only important factor when selecting nunchaku. You'll also want the sticks to be evenly balanced. To test for proper balance, lay the nunchakus over your palm and perpendicular to the floor. The weight should be balanced to the outer edges of the sticks. Proper balance allows the user to perform flashier tricks, such as overhand twirls that involve a low grip. The right balance also ensures maximum ease and control of the swing arcs when executing moves.


Nunchaku are made from wood, foam, plastic, and metal. Wood is the most common material used in the making of nunchaku, with foam and plastic being the next two most common materials. Our ProForce® Zebra nunchaku are made of a PVC core with shock foam grip that is dynamically lightweight and allows you to securely grip the weapon. The six color combinations, including white, red, pink, gold, blue, and black, allow you to dazzle opponents and spectators alike. ProForce® Super speedchucks are made of lightweight, high-quality wood. The high-capacity ball bearing swivels for 360-degree rotating action, allowing greater mobility for tricks, rolls, and spins, making these speedchucks the ideal choice for demonstrations and performances. If you are choosing wooden nunchaku, look for wood grain in a diagonal direction, which provides greater grip.

Best Choice for Training

Foam-padded nunchaku are ideal for beginners and for training. The foam padding offers cushion for your comfort while learning how to use them. Use foam-padded nunchaku to learn new tricks before trying them out on metal demonstration versions.


Nunchaku are illegal in certain countries, including Spain, Germany, UK, Canada, and in one state in the U.S., Massachusetts. Some states make exceptions when these weapons are used only at martial arts schools. It's important to check the laws where you live before purchasing to ensure you are in compliance. AWMA and ProForce® offer nunchaku that are designed for demonstration or decorative purposes only. Use nunchaku only under supervision and perform techniques appropriate for your skill level.

Proper Use

Most commonly used in Japanese, Korean and Filipino martial arts, each martial art uses nunchaku in unique ways. Nunchaku can be whirled around to strike an opponent or used as a wrapping movement to disarm or immobilize an opponent. When used for demonstration displays, these tools highlight the swift movement of hands and the delicate control of the user. Okinawan fighters use nunchaku mainly to grip and pull while Filipino martial arts masters use these tools for striking as they do with martial arts sticks in eskrima. Korean fighters combine both offensive and defensive moves.


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