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Nunchaku, also known as nunchucks, chucks or chain sticks, are a traditional Okinawan weapon and consists of two sticks connected at their ends with a short chain or rope. The popular belief is that the nunchaku was originally a short Southeast Asian flail 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, farm tools such as the sickle. A nunchaku is two sections of wood connected by a cord or chain, though variants may include additional sections of wood and chain. Chinese nunchaku tend to be rounded, whereas the Okinawan version has an octagonal cross-section (allowing one edge of the nunchaku to make contact on the target increasing the damage inflicted). The ideal length of each piece should be long enough to protect the forearm when held in a high grip near the top of the shaft. Both ends are usually of equal length, although asymmetrical nunchaku exist. The ideal length for the connecting rope/chain is just enough to allow the user to lay it over his or her palm, with the sticks hanging comfortably and perpendicular to the ground. Weight balance is extremely important; cheaper or gimmicky nunchaku (such as glow-in-the-dark ones) are often not properly balanced, which prevents the performer from doing the more advanced and flashier 'low-grip' moves, such as overhand twirls. Freestyle nunchaku is a modern style of performance art using the nunchaku as a visual tool rather than as a weapon. With the growing prevalence of the Internet the availability of nunchaku has increased greatly, combining this with the popularity of YouTube and other video sharing sites many people have become interested in learning how to use the weapons for freestyle displays. Freestyle is one discipline of competition held by the World Nunchaku Association. Some modern martial arts teach the use of nunchaku as it may help students improve their reflexes, hand control, and other skills. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]
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