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You know, like numchuck skills, bowhunting skills, computer hacking skills... Girls only want boyfriends who have great skills.

You are a Ninja. What's this? You don't have a Katana? Fine, then you may get the second most popular ninja weapon: Nunchaku.

Nunchucks, like the katana, are the Japanese weaponization of the Rule of Cool. All ninjas that don't use swords use chucks and anyone that knows karate knows how to use them. They are even so easy to make that you can just chain two things together and make Instant Chucks. Unfortunately, nunchucks are to Luigi as the Katana is to Mario, Badass on its own but is never given the lime light.

The Nunchaku are a popular martial arts weapon developed from the rice flail in China, Okinawa, and possibly other places in the Far East, consisting of two hard sticks of wood or metal joined together by a cord or chain. In addition to being used for powerful strikes, the cord can also be used for strangling enemies. A three-stick variant of this weapon exists called the three-sectional staff (sansetsukon in Japan and san jie gun in China), which is primarily used in Chinese kung fu.

Often wielded by the Bruce Lee Clone. As such, in comedic series, expect anyone wielding nunchuks to make lots of Funny Bruce Lee Noises, just before their inevitable failure.

It should also be noted that ninja never actually used nunchucks.

For a greater variety of flail weapons, see Epic Flail.

This trope is not about fighting with a pair of shoes, by the way.

Examples of Fighting with Chucks include:


  • One Piece: Franky's "Heavy Nunchuck" from the Thriller Bark Arc. Giant steel nunchaku with half a marble pillar inserted over each stick. Seriously.
  • Bruno of the Kanto Elite Four in Pokémon Special uses chucks.
  • Might Gai of Naruto used nunchaku against a clone of Kisame at one point.
  • Bleach: Ikkaku's zanpakutou initially looks like a spear when it's released. However, this simply disguises the fact that it's really a three-sectioned staff. Justified in that Ikkaku's themes are based on Chinese warrior monks, so his weapon (in all its forms) is based on weapons associated with Chinese warrior monks instead of being based on Japanese versions.



  • Discussed in Napoleon Dynamite, which gives us the page quote. His mad skills are never shown, but his pronunciation of the weapon as "numchucks" gives a pretty solid indicator of his actual proficiency.
  • Undercover Brother. The title character knows how to use nunchucks as part of his martial artist skills. He also hits himself in the nuts while using them during his fight with Mr. Feather.
  • Dreamscape. When Tommy Ray enters the President's dream in order to assassinate him, he dresses as a ninja and uses nunchucks.
  • In the 2011 Green Hornet, Britt Reid insists that Kato must have nunchucks. Kato seems reluctant at first, but does use them quite effectively in the climactic battle.
  • Bruce Lee made chucks popular in the famous scene from Fists Of Fury. In Enter the Dragon, where he takes them from a clueless Mook and demonstrates how to really use the nunchaku. Which, like the Ninja thing, is not how one really uses the nunchaku; it was just used to go upside someone's head with, like a western flail. All the fancy spinning and twirling was popularized by none other than Bruce Lee himself, who did it so spectacularly that everyone just assumed that's how you were supposed to use nunchaku.
  • The Chosen One in Kung Pow! Enter the Fist: Enter the Fist uses improvised nunchuks made out of gophers.
  • The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies had Mikey as the resident 'chucker of the four.
    • In the first movie, during the siege of April's apartment, one Foot Clan guy shows off with his nunchaku, prompting Mikey to go "Ah, a fellow chucker, eh?" before proceeding to have a show-off match with him which Mikey handily wins.
    • In the second movie, Mikey uses two sets of coldcuts as makeshift nunchaku to scare off the last of the robber mooks during the first fight.
  • Although never used for fighting, the main character of Sidekicks learns to use nunchaku and uses them for an impressive kata near the end of the film. After a training montage involving Amusing Injuries as he keeps hitting himself while practicing.


  • In the rather odd future of The Diamond Age, nunchucks are one of the choice weapons of the gangs in Hong Kong; Nell uses her brother's pair to break the leg of a molester after they run away.
  • Blackcollar — In Timothy Zahn's trilogy, nunchaku are one of the primary weapons used by the titular characters.
    • Also by Timothy Zahn, in the Quadrail Series nunchaku form part of one successful attempt to get around the Quadrail's ban on taking weapons on board. The Bellido race routinely carry guns as part of their culture, and on the Quadrail carry harmless plastic copies instead. But the plastic guns can be filled with water and strung on lanyards to make quite effective nunchaku.
  • In Bruce Sterling's The Artificial Kid, the eponymous protagonist uses a set of nunchaku in his televised battles that included a holdout pistol in the base of each stick.
  • The hideously-beweaponed Special Constable Andy "Two Swords" Hancock, in the Discworld novels Thud and Snuff, carries an Agatean weapon that he calls "numknuts", and that Commander Vimes thinks of as two truncheons fastened together. In untrained hands the most likely effect is to hit your own ear.

Live Action Television

  • In the Babylon 5 episode "Messages From Earth," Ranger Marcus Cole defeats a group of bad guys that includes a nunchuck wielder. Done, perhaps, to show that the Anla-shok are truly Badass.
  • Jan from Juken Sentai Gekiranger and his Power Rangers Jungle Fury counterpart, Casey. The megazord also has a setsukon, but doesn't use it all that often.
  • Back in Chouriki Sentai Ohranger and Power Rangers Zeo, the Yellow Ranger also fought with them. Again, however, she didn't really seem to use them that much.


Video Games

  • Ryu of Ninja Gaiden can buy and use a pair of Nunchucks. He can pick up a modified version later: Nunchucks with small scythe blades on the ends.
  • In Final Fantasy I, the Black Belt can use five weapons (in descending power level): his fists, iron nunchucks, iron staff, wooden nunchucks, and wooden staff. The Ninja can also use the nunchucks, but by the time you get a ninja, he'll have vastly superior weapons anyway.
  • Selphie in Final Fantasy VIII.
  • Maxi of the Soul Calibur series uses chucks, as did his predecessor and mentor Li Long from Soul Edge. In games and versions where nunchaku are banned, these are replaced by a sansetsukon. The third stick apparently makes it a-ok by the law.
  • Freyjadour, the hero of Suikoden V, uses a sansetsukon.
  • Zero The Kamikaze Squirrel uses a nunchuck. It's quite powerful, but short ranged, and it's the only way to attack the final boss during one of his phases.
  • Ling Tong of Dynasty Warriors also uses nunchucks.
  • Mortal KombatLiu Kang and Johnny Cage.
  • Devil May Cry's Dante owns a three-piece nunchaku made from the collar of a Cerberus.
  • Bayonetta has a pair nunchucks called Sai Fung including Funny Bruce Lee Noises.
  • In The Legend of Zelda the Wind Waker, if a Stalfos looses his mace, he will use his arm as one of these!
  • Deus of Asura's Wrath fights with electric nunchucks.
  • In Vigilante, nunchakus are the only weapon you can obtain and use. A nunchaku is more powerful than your bare fists, but it's less effective for Scoring Points.
  • Nunchucks appear in Makai Kingdom as a powerful short-ranged weapon, favored by Merchants, Chefs, Berserkers, Hellcats, and the masked Muscle Demons.
  • There's a scene in Dead or Alive 4 where Jann Lee & Ryu Hayabusa both show off with a set of nunchucks before they fight.

Web Comics

Western Animation

  • Mikey, again. Though in the original cartoon, he was resorting to alternatives like tonfas and a grappling hook in the last seasons (probably because nunchuks are forbidden in some countries).
  • The Transformers Animated incarnation of Jazz is a cyber-ninja (who learned from the same master as Prowl) and uses "laser-nunchaku" in battle.
  • Panthro from Thundercats and ThunderCats (2011) wields a pair of nunchaku with sculpted cat claws on the outer end of each stick.
  • In Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension, Ferb at one point ties his shoes together by their laces to make some improvised chucks. He never actually gets to use them, but knowing him, it probably would've worked.
  • Of all people, Uncle Ruckus from The Boondocks is a master of Nunchuck fighting.

 "I got 3-stick nunchucks!"