The words Karate Sticks is the way we in the 70’s described Nunchaku’s .
With the advent of Martial Arts film in the U.S. all anyone knew about the Oriental self-defense Fighting styles was karate.
In my neighborhood everyone, everywhere that were between the ages 2-18 were jumping,kicking yelling and yes weapons .
My actual interest with the weapons began with the movie Enter The Dragon.
And the weapon of choice was the nunchuckus also referred to as nunchucks and in my neighbor and neighborhoods around America as karate sticks.
If you are new to Bruce Lee or my Bruce Blog you are unaware of the fact Enter The Dragon was Bruce Lee’s last film.
You will also be unaware of the fact that He (Bruce Lee) never intended that his movies The Big Boss (Fist Of Fury), Fist Of Fury (The Chinese Connection) and Return Of The Dragon (The Way Of The Dragon) would be available to the American audience.
There was an unresolved issue that Bruce Lee has with Hollywood’s treatment of him with The Green Hornet and his Co-Written drama “The Warrior” (Kung Fu) casting David Carradine in his place.
For more on Bruce Lee and my thoughts on his life as a role model and father figure in my life Check out my previous 13 Blogs.
The movie Enter The Dragon has a scene in the dungeon where Bruce Lee as a secret agent searching for evidence to bring the notorious Han to justice (Lee) is about to be captured.
But not before an amazing display of hand to hand combat followed by a scene where he was seemingly surrounded and placed on what looked like a stage where he performed a weapon tutorial.
It began with the “Staff” and long wooden stick The he used very skillfully to keep the henchmen at bay.
After a brief workout with the Staff, he graduated to the “Batons “ two separate pieces of wood about 16 inches in length. Bruce Lee (Lee) began a breathtaking display after finding the pair one the floor at one point doing a drum solo on one of the guys.
The scene where Lee get his hands on the nunchucks is special because no one had any idea what would happen next.
The pause as Lee unravels the nunchucks from the baton.
I had no idea what was about to happen.
I gasped as Lee begun twirl and spin under his arm around his waist these two sticks held together by a chain and this guy look like a majorette with a paton.
But this was a guy, a man.
I needed them, whatever it was I had to have it and I needed to practice.
The nunchaku (Japanese: ヌンチャク Hepburn: nunchaku, often “nunchuks”, “chainsticks”, “chuka sticks” or “karate sticks” in English) is a traditional Okinawan martial arts weapon consisting of two sticks connected at one end by a short chain or rope. The two sections of the weapon are commonly made out of wood, while the link is a cord or a metal chain. The nunchaku is most widely used in martial arts such as Okinawan kobudō and karate, and is used as a training weapon, since it allows the development of quicker hand movements and improves posture. Modern-day nunchaku can be made from metal, wood, plastic or fibreglass. Toy and replica versions made of polystyrene foam or plastic are also available. Possession of this weapon is illegal in some countries, except for use in professional martial art schools.
The exact origin of nunchaku is unclear. Allegedly adapted by Okinawan farmers from a non-weapon item, it was not a historically popular weapon because it was ineffective against the most widely used weapons of that time such as samurai swords, and few historical techniques for its use still survive.
In modern times, nunchaku (Tabak-Toyok) were popularized by actor and martial artist Bruce Lee and his martial arts student Dan Inosanto, who introduced this weapon to the actor. Another popular association in modern times is the fictional character Michelangelo of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise. Organizations including the North American Nunchaku Association, World Amateur Nunchaku Organization, Fédération Internationale de Nunchaku de Combat et Artistique, World Nunchaku Association, and International Techdo Nunchaku Association teach the use of nunchaku as a contact sport.
The skill level that I would build over time was the result of days and weeks of trial and error, not to mention sacrificing the back of my head and sore elbows.
I also had a friend named James Fair that I would workout with and swiped ideas from. (We swiped ideas from each other)
While most of the guys in the neighborhood were working on speed, my focus was more about technique (doing it the correct way)
Over time I had gotten pretty good at it and that is why I have them on hand. I own (6) pain including a pair that I keep in my car and a pair in my nightstand in the event that I need assistance.
I realize early on that my buddy Kirk was and would be the best at mirroring the dungeon scene from “Enter The Dragon “ but Kirk was also a master of the homemade “Nunchucks”…
He had our attention as we visited his home. He was the first to have nunchucks
It was obvious the he had practiced at a level that would leave the rest of us in the dust ( far behind him) and as you may have learned from earlier Bruce Me Blogs Kirk had to cool Mom.
This meant he had access to an endless supply of the broomsticks at his house. He showed us how he made his and assisted us in making ours.
In our neighborhood most of the residents had dogs. I don’t remember Kirk having a dog however there was no shortage of dog chains.
Another fun fact is that this guy (Kirk) had what looked like a 10 inch chain.
Crazy…I know right? crazy
That was his thing and he was “The Man” at least he was then. The role of who was the best would be up for debate as the movies that would follow would introduce new weaponry.
But as my friends abandoned the nunchucks I began to workout with them even more. I also trashed the homemade “Chucks” and purchased authentic nunchucks.
This was my thing. And even though I don’t have have the skills that I had at 17 or even 30, I can survive an attack by as many as (4) men.
Bruce Lee and the nunchucks:
MEET THE GUY WHO INTRODUCED BRUCE LEE TO NUNCHUCKS
The story of revered martial artist Dan Inosanto is being developed into a movie.
You know that Bruce Lee was pretty damn deadly with a pair of nunchaku. But do you know of the man who first introduced Bruce to his most famous movie weapon? Soon, hopefully everybody will know. The story of martial artist Dan Inosanto is being developed into a feature film.
Bruce Lee Protege, Who Helped Cowboys Win Super Bowl, to Get Film Treatment (Exclusive)
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Mark Gordon Company is developing movie on the life of Dan Inosanto, who was a protege, instructor, training partner and close friend of Bruce Lee, and a martial arts legend in his own right. The film will be produced by Mark Gordon, Matt Jackson, Tarik Heitmann and Dan Inosanto’s daughter (and Bruce Lee’s goddaughter) Diana Lee Inosanto.
A respected instructor and authority in a multitude of martial arts styles, Dan Inosanto was one of three instructors personally certified by Bruce Lee to teach Jeet Kune Do. After Lee’s death in 1973, Inosanto became a key figure in preserving his legacy as a principal spokesman and historian for Jeet Kune Do.
And yes, in 1964, he was the guy who handed Bruce his first nunchaku.
“At the time, he thought [it] was a worthless piece of junk,” Inosanto recalls in the 2012 documentary I Am Bruce Lee. But he eventually trained Lee in how to use his now-signature screen weapon, famously wielded in films like Way of the Dragon and Enter the Dragon. He was apparently a quick study.
“In three months, he was swinging it like he’d been doing it for a lifetime,” says Inosanto.
Game of Death features Lee and Inosanto memorably squaring off in a nunchaku duel.
It is important to understand, as some say of our journey through this life.
It’s either a lesson or a blessin’.
And I try to close out each Blog with a lesson that I learned for Bruce Lee.
Something I’ve noticed:
In the few movies (4) that we get to know the great Martial Arts icon Bruce Lee we observe only one movie “The Big Boss “ (Fist Of Fury) missing his What is now referred to as his signature weapon .
I observe one thing about these movies.
Bruce Lee never needed this weapon.
They didn’t enhance or give him an advantage .
Bruce Lee used them as a prop, an ornament or even a spectacle just for the fun of it or just because wanted to catch his breath.
(Maybe he did need them)
One thing is for certain is that his skill and endurance were remarkable and unmatched.
We have DVD’s,Streaming and YouTube we are the endless benefit of “All Things Lee”…
I’m hope that you are enjoyed this, I certainly am…