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Portland Joe Wants to Know the Practicality of the Japanese Rice Flail as a Defensive Weapon: 11/24/21
“I have a question about nunchucks. I searched your site. The search function is very useful, good job. I found the one reference to the gang members where you were doing security near D.C. and one was showing a gun and the other nunchucks. Well, the ten inch pipe just doesn’t work in the back pocket. So I was wondering about a small pair of chucks.”
-Portland Joe
I once carried a small pair of chucks for defense. I could use them well but had not fought with them. They were actually chains with an eight inch black wood belly. I stopped carrying them because they took too long to deploy and were just as illegal in Baltimore as my Bowie knife, which slid out of the sheathe from inside of the rear waist band of my jeans more quickly. Since I could basically get a small sword out faster than the 8-inch chucks, I just hung them in the closet at home.
I have been hit with chucks on purpose and by accident, know a friend who knocked himself out with a pair when they broke, and actually fought a stick versus chucks bout once.
I value chucks as a forearm development tool, mostly.
I am not dexterous enough to feel comfortable with flexible weapons, though they have their advantages. I have generally done poorly in bouts against chain weapons as well.
I would suggest a half inch pipe of eight inches in length. Remember, that the chucks are thrice as fat as your pipe.
Flexible weapons that are not in the hand are a problem to deploy. My favorite flexible weapon is two plastic shopping bags knotted over a can of sweetened condensed milk.
The big problem with chucks was that Bruce Lee movies seem to have had more impact on American Criminal Codes concerning use of force and definitions of deadly weapons than actual case law. Check your state and municipal statutes. Chucks are clearly outlawed by the Annotated Code of Maryland. In some states the fact that they are club-like could be a reason, as any thing regarded as a club is thought to signal criminal intent.
A martial arts weapon I much prefer over the rice flail is the rice hoe, or Sai.
If you use chucks, know the following:
-They are a warm weather weapon and are difficult to shoulder [the chamber for the slash] and tuck [the chamber fort he jab] with a coat and especially with a padded vest.
-Shorter chucks have longer chains, which makes them more prone to waggled off course and out of control after impact.
-Ropes are more reliable, quiet, and do not shine like a gun or knife in the dark under a street light and might save you from getting shot by a cop.
-Rounded, billy club shaped chucks roll on impact and are harder to retain in the sweaty hand than octagon shaped chucks. I like rope octagons. I would be inclined to get a short pair of rope octagons and take out the string, using the wood as two hand sticks, one for coat pocket, one for the car’s driver’s seat.
-Don’t twirl the chucks for any tactical purpose other then regaining control after a stroke. Keep the chucks shouldered under the rear arm, or tucked under the lead arm. The reason you spend most chuck time bouncing them back and forth across your body is so that you can retrieve them to a shouldered or tucked position.
-The two-handed hold of cross arm under the shoulder and shouldered hand over for either a back hand slash or forehand slash, is a trap, as it takes your checking hand out of action and means that you can be tackled after hitting only one stroke, which will not stop most serious aggressors, let alone a group. The problem with flexible weapons is they do not stop forward progress so must be paired with a checking hand to avoid the clinch. Strangling someone with chucks will not endear you to post Erik Gardner America.
-Initial deployment of chucks should focus on using them held together as a double hand stick, for which octagon’s are far superior than rounded hafts. Draw them from the back pocket, stab him in the temple with the rope ends of the sticks, and then throw them over your shoulder as you step off and check with the left hand, ready to slash with the rear hand.
-If facing someone who has chucks wait for them to twirl them and then stick your left hand into them and neutralize the weapon. Stiff and passive shielding blocks to save your head will result in the weapon reaching around and hitting the back of your head. To defend against chucks aggression and clinching are the best unarmed options, which should inform your use of them as a defensive weapon.
In my 2004 duel against Robert Geyer I could not read his reach as he kept his chucks tucked and shouldered and broke my middle stick-hand knuckle. I won the bout by destroying his German police riot shield with 20 strokes of my stick. My burner plate and bailing wire shield held up much better.
The best two weapons against chucks are the chair and the jacket or coat.
I encourage any stick-fighter or swordsman to learn the chucks primarily as a forearm development tool and secondarily as a weapon of defense on your home property.
If you are serious about the chucks, next year when I come back to Portland, Evil Fortuna willing, we can spar stick against chucks and do self defense drills with me as the bad guy with mask and gloves on.
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MannyFeb 16, 2022

Unfortunately the search function didn’t bring up the 2 Puerto Ricans swinging heavy buckled belts vs 1 Mali African armed with nunchucks story. Resolved with the use of the European shovel in a Northeast American shithole. I believe James has written about such things.
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