Nunchuks

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20061117 Nunchaku

Standard issue bounty hunter nunchuks above; standard issue ninja wall decoration below.

Nunchuks are a type of weapon from Japan that over time has evolved from the humble pointy stick into a veritable weapon of mass destruction. It is mostly known for looking awesome when flailed with style and for inflicting serious self-harm when flailed with ignorance. In its modern day form it consists of a pair of sticks (mostly wooden, metal or plastic) held together at the ends by a chain, a wire or several rubber bands.

edit History

The first nunchuks were broken pointy sticks, having two solid parts held together by only a single wooden fibre. Even though these first nunchuks (also known as pre-chuks) were both efficient and cheap, the method of crafting was intricate, the durability was quite bad and their suitability for showing off was low. Since looking cool before the battle was an important part of caveman warfare (and still is in nunchuk warfare), the pre-chuks started to evolve as soon as the cavemen did. In other words; not very soon.

edit Early usage

There were two main ways to wield a pre-chuk.

  1. The first way was to stand away from your opponent, flail the pre-chuk around randomly (at which point the pre-chuk fibre would often break), throw it (or what was left of it) at your opponent and attack using your hands, a non-broken pointy stick or a sabre-tooth tiger.
  2. The second way was to stand away from your opponent, flail the pre-chuk around randomly and then time the breaking of the fibre so that the pointy end of the pre-chuk flew at the enemy, piercing his trachea, his eye or his heart and thereby instantly killing him (or, should the opponent be a vampire, turning him into dust).

edit Evolution of the weapon

There have been many versions of this weapon throughout history, but the overall evolution has been somewhat like this:

edit Striking a cord

The first notable improvement was to use a piece of string, leather or - more uncommonly - goats intestine to hold the two pieces of stick together. The second was to remove the wooden fibre altogether, since it was now rather obsolete. This made the weapon more durable, but most early designs also made it unbalanced and even more dangerous to its wielder. Even in the face of grave bruising, early users still prevailed and several people made subtle changes to the design in order to make a pair of nunchuks easier to look good with.

Also, the style of combat changed and now involved the person hitting the opponent with the weapon instead. This essentially left the wielder in posession of a weapon even after the initial attack, making him even more dangerous. It also gave the weapon its name, since they were now non-chucks - weapons you didn't throw away.

“ Oglaf no chuk! Oglaf hit!”
~ Brurak instructs a fellow caveman in modern usage of the chuks.

Around this time the pointy end disappeared and gave way to a more symmetrical and pointless design.

edit Centered design

It was warrior/juggler Wamura "Utowake" Tsuhasa who first realized that perhaps something ought to be done about the placement of the cord. Simply tying a string to a stick resulted in the string coming off of the side of the weapon and , as previously mentioned, this resulted in unbalance, tangles and unintentional self-harm. Tsuhasa experimented with tying the string the other way around, placing the knot at one of the ends and making the string come out centered from one of the ends. This revolutionised nunchuks and created a more natural and balanced flow to pre-combat flairing.

edit Improving the materials

After Tsuhasas successful experiments (You know, technically it's after his failed ones as well, but that's implied, isn't it?) many others wanted to furter improve the nunchuks in order to reach fame, fortune and a more elegant performance. Different designs were tried, but many of them failed miserably. The inverse nunchuk, for instance, was built by tying two strings to the ends of a stick and was probably not the brightest idea ever to grace the mind of a human being. Not the worst, mind you, just not the best.

Changing the materials did prove to be a viable option though and many different variations surfaced - some to quickly sink back into black oblivion. This is a list of common combinations of the time; both good and bad ones:

Good choices
  • Wood-rope-wood : The classic. A simple yet durable combination.
  • Wood-chain-wood : Also a classic. Even more durable.
  • Metal-chain-metal : Heavy to wield, but devastating in combat.
  • Wood-rope-metal : An unbalanced combo that nevertheless worked well in skilled hands.
  • Wood-chain-metal : An often preferred alternative to the above version.
  • Wood-rope-rope-spiked ball : Handling becomes very different, but it's a deadly weapon that strikes fear into the hearts of enemies. Fear and spiked metal.
Bad choices
  • Rope-wood-rope : Discussed above. Not very effective.
  • Chain-wood-chain : Again, not very effective and even more painful for the wielder.
  • Wood-wood-chain : Kinda like a very short whip with too large a handle. Pointless.
  • Wood-rope-wasps nest : Very bad idea. Very. No, really. Please don't try.
  • Wood-rope-rope : Strikes laughter into the mouths of enemies. Not long enough to be effective though.
  • Rock-paper-scissors : Sound in theory, but the materials just won't stay put together.
  • Metal-chain-fire : Sounds cool and looks cool, but practical use is virtually non-existent. Unlike the subsequent blisters.

edit Modern chuks

Wii Nunchuk

A custom made nunchuk with rail extensions, drilled exhaust ports and USB-charger.

Today, the nunchuks are a common feature in armies and law enforcement all over the world. Their versatility and awesomeness are liked by professionals and street thugs alike and today we have a wide range of modern materials to use. Like always, there are many versions of the weapon and its use is not limited to Japan anymore. Rumors that the design is being patented by Apple persist, but have been proven wrong. The design has already been patented and open-sourced by Linus Torvalds.

The most common form of nunchuk today is made from metal, uses a chain to connect the two metal rods and has a small accelerometer inside so that installed apps can use the positioning data for various effects or features.

edit Modern day variations

Noun-chuk
Take two roughly stick-shaped objects and tie them together. This weapon is now a part of the class of noun-chuks. It is a pretty broad term, but ugly guys may use it too.
Nun-chuk
Instead of two sticks, the nun-chuks are made from two christian crosses. Are wielded only by the Vatican female elite strikeforce.
Nun-chuck
A nun on a trebuchet. Also, a good way to find yourself at the wrong end of a nun-chuk.
Non-chuk
This variation is an imagined weapon, a weapon of the mind. It is most effective since it's indestructible, overly powerful and you can handle it like a god without having to train for it. It fully relies on you convincing your enemy that the non-chuk really exists, though.
Noon-chuk
Kinda like a cross between a lethal sundial and a powerful D&D spell. Usable once per day only.
Nunchug
A nunchuk based tool for getting more beer down your throat than would normally be possible. Quite painful. Well, to begin with anyway.
Unchuk
Often used by ninja who have used nunchuks on their enemies and now wish to disappear without leaving a trace.
Chop-chuk
Common name for tricked out nunchuks, custom styled at specialized karate garages knows as "Chop-shops".

edit Nunchuks in popular media

Ninja
Naturally, the most common place in popular media to find nunchuks in would be with ninjas. There are tons of movies out there with ninjas and the nunchuks have become a symbol of their skill, their lethality and their ability to shout loudly - even though they're supposed to be silent assassins.
Street gangs
If you come across a gang of thugs in a movie, one of them will invariably carry nunchuks instead of a knife or a submachine gun. It's one of the Holy Laws of Hollywood.
Dancing street gangs
If you come across a gang of dancing thugs in a movie from India, one of them will invariably carry nunchuks instead of a kris or a live panther. It's one of the Holy Laws of Bollywood.
Vampire hunters
In popular media it is an often used cliché to depict vampire hunters as having skillfull mastery of the wooden pointed nunchuks. These are either used as a blunt weapon, throwing the vampire off balance before dusting it, or as a thrown weapon. Most people naturally realize how unrealistic these movies are. Real vampire hunters use stake cannons.

edit Nunchuks in real life

Ninja
Naturally, the most common place in real life to find nunchuks in might be assumed to also be with ninjas. In real life though, nunchuks offer the ninja little advantage and much annoyance. Some use them out of tradition, but most will only display them on the wall of their secret hideout. That being said, you will not find a ninja who does not own a pair. Then again; you will not find a ninja.
Street gangs
Yeah, they all saw those cool movies and now they believe it's some kind of thing they have to do. The new guy who feels he needs to prove himself gets some nunchuks and tries to show off before even learning which end is the dangerous one (hint: both). It often ends badly.
Bounty hunters
For the professional bounty hunter, few weapons offer the advantage of nunchuks. They are effective for grappling and intimidation and can be fitted with a number of aftermarket mods, such as electric stunners and GPS navigators.
YouTube
For yet undiscovered professional actors trying to make it to the big screen, the combination of YouTube and nunchuks is an opportunity to be seen and heard. Nunchuk vids have approximately the same cinematic qualities as vids of people failing at skateboarding, but offer some extra variety in that the penis is not the only place to recieve the pain.
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