Category: Journey second to nun … chuk!

My efforts in the world of karate to come to grips with (‘scuse pun) the art of nunchaku!


It’s here. Day SEVEN. End of my mini nunchuck experiment. Time for assessment …………..

Now – first of all, kindly note that this is a SELF-assessment! Unfortunately, this is the way it’s going to stay for now. I know, I know, but even after 3000+ attempts at improvement …. I’m ashamed to say my nunchuck skills are as yet unfit for public viewing! *cue sobbing*

But then again ………… please please PLEASE remember that when you DO see my horrendously insulting nunchucking (with apologies to anyone who has to watch!), I would ask you to think – at the very least – ‘Holy Crap! How bad was she when she started if that’s what she’s like now!!!!’

Many thanks.

But hey – can’t say it wasn’t fun. Will it be my preferred weapon? Erm…. Not convinced that I wouldn’t do better with a stiletto and a dangly earring – although the chances of me walking around with ANY of those on my person are roughly the same …

Summary of the week? I’ve laughed! I’ve said ‘Ouch’! (or something similar) I’ve been laughed at! I’ve sweated (it’s actually very hard work when you don’t know what you’re doing), my shoulders have ached, I’ve suffered impressive bruising (the source of much amusement …), and … and … AND …

  • I’ve learned something I never thought I’d learn (No, I don’t mean how to hurt myself, I mean nunchucking, silly!)
  • I’ve completed what I set out to do – 500+ strikes a day
  • I’ve (sort of kind of) learned my nunchuck kata. Well, I can just about put the moves together, although there’s still some discrepancy about how many swings and whether the front kick is at the same time as the forward strike or just before it (I’ve seen both …) …
  • I’ve (sort of kind of) learned my nunchuck kata! No, it’s not a misprint. I’m really a little proud that I’ve even managed to do something that vaguely resembles a nunchuck kata (or maybe it doesn’t, but keep that to yourself for a day or two, would you? Plenty of time to burst my teeny nunchucking bubble later …)
  • Has my mini-intensive training helped? (I’ll let you know if I ever get to grading. Hopefully I won’t make history by performing the worst, most ridiculous and genuinely insulting nunchuck kata ever witnessed!)

ENOUGH! The week is over, my task complete, my skills ………………………… remain non-existent.

So … in the words of wotzisname …

So long – and thanks for all the fish!

This nunchucker says OVER and OUT!

DAY SIX of my journey second to nun…chuck!

Hmmmmmmmmmmmm! Well, before I go any further can I first please apologise to Caitriona for laughing at her nunchuck skills! I mean, really – me? Laughing at somebody else’s nunchucking??? BWAHAHAHAHA! OK! Absurd. I admit it. And besides, it was the first time she’d held them, let alone tried to swing them. Sadly, although it pains me to say …. My current skills after ALL this practising – are not much better than hers!

BUT …………… forever onwards, right?

So … today’s plan: Same old, same old PLUS – Finish the damn kata. Yep! All the way to the end – including the dreaded figure of eights.


  • It’s going to take a lot more than a week …………… Ho Bloody Hum!
  • My shoulders really ache!
  • Residents of Goring beach had definite looks of concern on their faces. Note to self: don’t do this in public!!!
  • The figure of eights are still bloody scary. Am thinking Tena Lady for grading day!
  • Grading day is getting further and further away LOL
  • Giving up is still not an option! We (my nunchucks and I) will not give up on each other!


(a)    Just try and get the kata together … preferably in the right order?

(b)   Reassess progress.

(c)    Glass of wine at the ready to boost self-esteem after fatal blow of reassessment! Lol

DAY FIVE of my journey second to nun…chuck

Loving it, loving it, loving it …

I have a new friends. Well, sort of. No, we’re not going to move in together and – actually, I think the pair of them are quite bossy and don’t do things quite the way I like things to be done – but we get along. We’ve grown to tolerate each other to some extent and that will do just fine. I’m working out a way to blackmail them into good behaviour during my next karate grading, whenever that might be. I’m not sure they’re liking the idea of blackmail – I’m going to have to work on this …

However, meanwhile …

TODAY’S HIGHLIGHT:  Caitriona kept me company and counted out my ‘strikes’ practice – all the way to the 500. After laughing her head off at my attempts at the kata (understandable? Yes; Acceptable? Hell, no!!! Not if she wants dinner tonight …) … I pulled out Sebastian’s foam nunchucks – and guess what? There is a person in the universe who is JUST AS BAD AS I AM!!! My day is made …


No matter how bad I am with nunchucks, there is someone in the world who is actually worse! Yay!

  • My nunchuck practise has turned into a calorie-burning exercise! Is this because I’m so bad at it? I’ve been working up a decent sweat by the end of the 500 strikes! I wonder is this oh so wrong???? Lol
  • My children think I’m nuts, my friends think I’m nuts, others are just wondering ‘What the hell is this nunchuck rubbish about?’ … Oh well … I guess you’ve just got to be me!
  • Giving up is not an option. A tiny step has been made – Woo Hoo!


(a)    Add on next section of kata

(b)   Keep going! Two more days and my personal nunchuck challenge is complete

(c)    Giving up is not an option! (Where have I heard that before? Oh yeah – I said it three sentences ago)

(d)   Anything is possible

DAY FOUR of my journey second to nun…chuck

While learning her nunchaku kata,

She sobbed when I asked ‘What’s the matta?’

‘My head’s been nunchucked

And my elbow is ****ed,

Can’t do it, I quit and that’s thatta!’

And that kinda sorta sums up my progress to date!

Just kidding – about the quitting bit at least. I don’t care how much you laugh at me, giggle, snigger and snort. I will NOT give up. My mantra for this week has now changed. I WILL learn this kata, I WILL learn this kata, I WILL learn this kata … Until I’m laughed out of the grading room I’m going to stick with it. For crying out loud, it can’t be that hard, can it? *she sobs*

Today’s plan:  Strike 1 x 500 … Strike 2 x 50 … First few kata moves strung together … x 20 (erm … perhaps a tad optimistic???)

Well – can’t whinge too much. I feel like I’ve taken a tiny step forward. After all, I’m not in hospital, I haven’t had to raid the First Aid box today, I haven’t been arrested for brandishing lethal weapons in the park and my general self-destruct sequence seems to have switched to ‘PAUSE’.

Not that any prospective burglars, thugs or vandals are in any danger just yet LOL  My strikes aren’t going to keep anyone away for very long but …

I’m getting there. I think the Hyatt-Nunchuck relationship is a little friendlier, which has to be a positive. Now all I need to do is to learn which sequence of strikes goes where. This is a big issue for me – and not just in the nunchuck kata – in any kata. I know all the separate moves, but the order? Ho hum. Worse still, I’m always at my most creative during gradings when the instructors must wonder exactly which school of karate I’ve been attending.  Wado Ryu? Shotokan? Nope! In grading I have the unique ability to show off my very own Hyatt School of karate – all original moves, never-before-seen kihon …. Oh, you name it! So I’m not holding out too much hope for my nunchaku kata bearing any resemblance to what it’s supposed to look like. Still, we can but try!

A very kind and patient sempai reviewed the first ‘mini’ sequence of strikes with me this morning. I can only pray I’ve remembered them correctly – in this instance, it’s less a case of which order and more a case of how many of which strike – but hey ho, we’re getting there!


  • Don’t quit
  • Never give up
  • Did I mention ‘Don’t quit?’
  • When is it a good time to say ‘Quit’?
  • Repetition is the only way


(a)     Oh boy! Here they come! Those damned figure of eights (they scare the crap out of me)

(b)   Possibly wear motorbike helmet while practising!

(c)    Learn to expect absolutely NO sympathy from my family when I self-destruct with nunchucks

(d)   Add on next step or two of kata

(e)   Goal:  Be able to remember the whole kata sequence by the end of Day Seven

The word nunchaku appears to come from the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese word which means ‘two-section staff’ (but don’t quote me on that …. If it’s wrong, tell me!)

DAY THREE of my journey second to nun…chuck

How many nuns would a nunchuck chuck if a nunchuck could chuck nuns?

It’s Day Three! The goal?  Strike 1 x 500 and Strike 2 x 100.  Yesterday I discovered a new meaning to the term ‘Three strikes and you’re out!’ as I attempted to go for KO to round off my nunchuck ‘spinning’ technique. Result? I’m leaving Strike 3 for another day.

It’s a short summary today because – you’re not going to believe this – things actually went quite smoothly. Circumstances forced me to find a spot indoors to practice so the kitchen table had to be moved and the kids (three of them) all wisely treated to play Pictionary on the other side of the table at, hopefully, a safe distance.

After a couple of very tentative strikes and catches to begin with, I stopped, re-grouped and started again. My bruised elbow is still massively painful, causing much amusement in the kitchen as my ultra-sympathetic kids roled around with laughter because I was blinking every time I swung the bloomin’ nunchucks. This was not a way to approach a session, so I decided I’d employ a dose of Cesar Millan … a few deep breaths, change the energy, be calm and in control (leader of the pack!) … and begin!

Yep! Like I said – much more smoothly. Yesterday the score was definitely 1-0 to the Nunchucks. Today I think it was approximating 1-1. That’ll do for now.


  • My lightbulb moment of the day?  Hard to explain, but I discovered the strikes of my Strike 1 routine seemed to work better if I didn’t move my holding hand down so much in preparation for the strike from under the arm. If I bring it straight out it felt more controlled. Not sure if I’m making myself clear here but it’s something I’m going to try and figure out tomorrow again.


(a)    Explore the lightbulb moment as above!

(b)   (with caution) …… try spinning and catching (Strike 3)

(c)    And finally, I am going to attempt to string together the first few movements of the nunchuck kata … I hope I remember it correctly since the goal will be to do this 30 times!

(d)   Remember to celebrate a day without injury and pray for another!

p.s. I came across a confusing description of some nunchucks that – and I quote – ‘made solely for sporting’! These ‘sporting’ nunchucks are called ‘bleeders’ or ‘sharpers’. Bleeders, it seems, are made with sharp or dull razorblades; sharpers, on the other hand, are made with nails! I have to admit that the descriptions simply don’t fit my idea of sport. I’m obviously far too soft!

(pssssstttt! But I’m getting better with my nunchucks! Watch out, Thugs! Step away from my zimmer frame!)

DAY TWO of my journey second to nun…chuck

The summary of today’s efforts could be put into one word:  OUCH!!!

A brief look at my goals for today’s journey into nunchuckdom …

STRIKE 1 X 500 (Yes – upping the stakes a little) STRIKE 2 X 100

For the most part I was simply trying to draw on yesterday’s gleaned wisdom (which, as you can imagine, didn’t take too long …).  Let’s take today’s goals one by one:

Think ‘wrist’!  Yes, I definitely tried to do that and when I managed to do it there were glimmers of occasional hope! It works! It really does! Building on the consistency of glimmers could be a problem …

Look straight ahead, not down:  Yes, managed to execute this one.

Think ‘strike’, not ‘caress’! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Yes. I seem to remember this being linked with my idea to ‘commit’ to the strikes rather than attempting anything half-hearted. Well, I’m still going to stick with this strategy as it definitely helped. Somehow, you have to take the fear out of walloping yourself and aim it elsewhere! Doing this certainly helped with speed and, I think, accuracy. Needs work, but reasonably happy with this theory and how it’s progressing.

Focus! – Yes, well, erm … herein lies the key. I vaguely remember saying something about the benefits of wooden nunchucks because when you ‘miss’ something it’s going to hurt more than the rubber nunchucks. I can confirm that my ‘hurting more’ theory is correct. I’m taking back the bit about the benefits! For now, at least (she says, cradling a golf-ball sized squidgy bruise on her right elbow that, yes, also has two CUTS across it). Ouch and double bloody ouch and other unprintables! That really REALLY hurt (and jab-cross blasts at kickboxing tonight were NOT fun, as a result). It’s not even just a simple bruise – it’s a large bloomin’ lump – and I didn’t expect to get cut, but hey! That’s what this journey is all about, isn’t it? Live and learn! My only real complaint is that I got plenty of sympathetic ooo’s and ah’s from my family members and friends UNTIL I told them how I did it – when they proceeded to roll about the floor laughing their heads off! Some family! Hrrrrumph!

OK – so I appreciate that the vision of Granny here, playing with nunchucks in the corner of the park is probably a sight that could reduce many to tears of hysterical laughter …. but my elbow hurts!

Lack of focus – that’s what it was. Things were going so well ……… and I relaxed and started to feel a little chuffed with myself, and hey ho, I have a very clear reminder to carry around for a few days to NOT lose focus or get cocky.

Which reminds me ………. that bit about getting a little cocky? That doesn’t work, either. Not a good idea. I was about halfway through my planned practise when I decided that maybe I should throw in a few spins and catches. I was trying to spin about five times and then catch under the same arm. It was fine until for some reason as I was going for a catch I decided to move my wrist in the opposite direction (don’t ask …) and promptly ended up with a healthy clout on my head, the nunchucks went flying and …………… it was quite funny actually!

The rest of the session went quite well. Completed what I set out to do.


  • When things are seemingly going smoothly it’s vital to maintain focus and not relax!
  • Nunchucks don’t just bruise – they cut, too!
  • I seem to remember saying yesterday that the only ‘pain’ I felt was in my knuckles, when I missed the catches. I can now safely add ‘head’ and ‘oh yes elbow!’ to that list.
  • When you’re spinning nunchucks and getting ready for a catch, don’t bloody change direction, you idiot!
  • The chances of me getting to grips with this weapon in time for forthcoming karate grading is less and less likely
  • Strike 2 (over the shoulder and catch under – same arm) … is trickier than it appears – or is it? If you do it fairly slowly, then the nunchuck wraps under your arm (or tries to) when it’s over your shoulder – making it more difficult to bring back with enough momentum to catch it at the front. To avoid this, today I was trying to use lots of wrist action to start it coming forwards again before it ‘settled’ behind my shoulder. This kind of appeared to work – except that it has to be very fast and I’m not sure if this is necessary or if I’m wasting time trying to make something simple appear difficult! Will have to ask about that …


(a)    Focus!

(b)   Watch that elbow because another blow on the same place and my sessions are going to have to come to a halt for a couple of weeks!

(c)    KEY GOAL FOR TOMORROW: I am going to try a slightly new tactic and attempt to forge some kind of friendship with my nunchucks, rather than fighting them, as I seemed to be doing today. It’s a tricky one – because no matter how friendly, somehow I still need to convince them to play by my rules – and being the boss AND a best friend seldom works. Will be working on this.

That’s it for now. Where’s the arnica?

Philosophical end to Day Two:  Feel sorry for the Director of the North American Nunchuck Association – would you really want to be head of NANA? I wonder how many calls he gets enquiring about babysitting?  Mind you – guess it’s a positive that it’s not the British And North American Nunchuck Association!

DAY ONE of my journey second to nun…chuck

The plan:  Rise at dawn, two hours solid nunchuck training before breakfast, one hour training midday, two hours before bed.

Don’t be ridiculous! That’s next week – when I’m doing aerials!

Five or ten minutes a day should make some kind of difference, shouldn’t it? (Shouldn’t it?) – Considering I’m going from NO minutes a day? Well – ask me in seven days and I’ll answer that myself! But for complete no-hopers like myself, I think any kind of consistency must be good.

Let’s begin.

Simple! 250 basic strikes with alternating hand catches. You guessed it. I made that up – but only because I have NO idea how to describe the moves and I certainly don’t know the Japanese terms (if, in fact, there are any)! Did you know that nobody seems to even know where nunchucks originated? The most popular theory is that they came from peasants – but martial arts were only practised by the aristocracy, so ………….. Yep! Clear as mud! (Note to self: do more research!)

So for the purpose of the next 7 days I’m going to be talking about Strike 1 and Strike 2!

Strike 1: Strike with left hand holding, swing over left shoulder, catch under left arm with right hand and repeat …….

Strike 2: Right hand holding, upward strike, swing over right shoulder, immediate downward strike and catch under right arm.

Glad that’s cleared up, then.

So …………… 250 x Strike 1 and 100 x Strike 2

The lessons learned/Questions to ask:

  • Everyone jokes about black eyes, bruised heads, etc. etc. The danger (at this level) has nothing to do with heads, eyes, faces in general. The only pain was in my fingers – from missing the catches.
  • How the hell do you stop that chain from ‘wriggling’ mid-swing, making an annoying noise, not to mention making everything look really sloppy (which, of course, it was!)? Need to work that out …
  • Well …. If you straighten your arm and actually do a full type of ‘swing’ for the strike, the chain doesn’t wriggle so much BUT this can’t be right, since it’s slow and ineffective, therefore hardly of any use in combat, right? So …
  • Wrist! The trick has to be in the wrist action ……….
  • Rubber nunchucks or wooden ones for beginners? Ho hum! In spite of the ouch factor, the wooden ones appear to be less unruly in my inexperienced care and …. that ouch factor is a serious incentive to get the catch right!
  • It’s very easy to get drawn into ‘going through the motions’ simply because the moves are so basic but I still can’t do them. The strikes improved dramatically when I was really focussed on what I was doing – rather than simply thinking ‘strike catch strike catch’!
  • Thinking aggressively (not a natural instinct for me) was a surprising help!
  • Focussing my eyes somewhere on the ground ahead of me while I was ‘thinking’ about what I was doing seemed to be ‘natural’ response – however, the strikes were stronger and better (I use the term loosely!) when I looked straight ahead at an imaginary opponent! Logical, I know – and I guess the whole purpose of the exercise – but not something that came unconsciously!
  • Strike 2 in a tee-shirt is quite unpleasant at my inexistent level of experience. A gi or at least a sweatshirt required!


(a)    Think ‘wrist’

(b)   Look straight ahead and not down

(c)    Think ‘strike’, not ‘caress’!!!! lol

(d)   Focus!

(e)   I think the key behind these nunchucks is to treat them a little like life:  pussy-foot around it and you’ll end up on the wrong side; go for it, commit, enjoy the challenge and at least you should have some fun! That’s the philosophy I’m taking into tomorrow’s efforts!

Introduction to my Nunchaku journey

Oh yes! Barmy as it may seem – and things could get even wackier, I warn you – I am determined to somehow get to grips with my new friend Nunchaku before said friend reduces me to the depths of utmost humiliation in front of a small but highly critical audience as I attempt to conquer the basic techniques required for my next karate grading. In preparation for said forthcoming event – and after a truly pathetic effort on my behalf to persuade this pair of uncommunicative and decidedly uncooperative sticks to give the impression of harmony for a required 90 seconds give or take … I’ve come to the conclusion that if I’m to have any hope at all of getting to even the equivalent of a potty training stage with these two unruly toddlers, some serious parenting needs to be put into place. Unfortunately, my parenting skills could also do with some improvement – but perhaps we can come to some kind of mutual agreement and everyone will be happy, yes?

Good, then. Now … where to begin …

Let’s put this into perspective, just so we don’t get too carried away. With all due respect to the many masters of nunchaku out there, when I personally speak of ‘mastering’ these nunchaku, I have no intention of lighting cigarettes with them á la Bruce Lee – or indeed of presupposing that for me to achieve my menial goal I would need to have been conceived by nunchuck-carrying sperm and started training in my mother’s womb! Nope! I just want to pass this bloomin’ grading, since in all probability it’s likely to be my last! (Note: this is less to do with my extreme crapness and more to do with future gradings requiring one to have one’s memory intact!! – a whole other story).

So, with this in mind, I’m simply going to embark on a very short, seven-day nunchuck journey in the weird world of ‘me’. Why seven days? Because for crying out loud if I can’t see the tiniest of improvements in my control of these two aliens in seven days then there is little hope!

And finally – why am I writing this at all? Well, because by writing down things I’ve learned, things I’d rather forget, etc. etc. etc. it helps keep things clearer in my weird head, helps me learn and helps me focus on where I’m going …

And so ……….. introductions over! Let us pray begin! Or … jeez, let’s pray as well! I need all the help I can get!

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