Timing and The Three Elements!

Creating Time

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This tutorial looks at how to create time by understanding ‘timing and the three elements’. The video below demonstrates how moving creates more time for us to catch the nunchaku mid-air than if we were to remain static. If we remain static and the nunchaku are moving our hands have to work harder to get to where they should be to make the catch. If we are prepared to move our bodies in time with the movement of the nunchaku then once the nunchaku are airborne we actually have more time to make the catch. Can you imagine a fielder on a cricket field who couldn’t run? He wouldn’t make many catches.

The Three Elements

For the serious kobudo practitioner there are always three elements at play – the practitioner, the environment and the weapon. For someone using a weapon in real combat there are actually four elements – themselves, the environment, the weapon and the opponent. We could also include the opponent’s weapon but I want to keep this simple. That said, let’s focus on kobudo and let’s look at the practitioner, the environment and the weapon.

The Three Relationships

When practising kobudo, you need to be fully aware of your own positioning – facing north, south, east or west, static or moving (what direction), – the position of the weapon and its movement, and the surrounding environment (the world of objects and potential obstructions and assailants). There are therefore three relationships to bear in mind:

•  You and your Surroundings (Environment)
•  You and the Nunchaku
•  Nunchaku and the Surroundings

If you are standing still then you need to do more work to create dynamic nunchaku. The nunchaku have to be made to move around you and you have to make it interesting by making them move faster and you need to be quicker to make the catch. That is one alternative and in regard to the three relationships it means that the first one is static (You and your Surroundings), the second one is dynamic (You and Nunchaku) and the third one is dynamic (Nunchaku and Surroundings).


Let’s imagine that we are moving as we swing the nunchaku. If we move with the direction of the nunchaku – for example, we are spinning around with the nunchaku extended from one arm – then apart from spinning our own bodies, we don’t have to exert any forces onto the nunchaku and yet in relation to the surroundings they will be moving; as fast as we can spin. So that means that the first relationship is dynamic (practitioner and surroundings), the second relationship is static (practitioner and nunchaku),  and the third relationship is dynamic.


Now imagine that you are spinning clockwise, while swinging the nunchaku in a wide horizontal anti-clockwise arc in front of you. You are moving in the opposite direction to the nunchaku. That means the swinging baton will reach your left side very quickly creating a high potential for bouncing it off your left side at high speed. In this scenario, all three relationships are dynamic, and this gives enormous potential for creative, dynamic and high speed nunchaku movement.

By altering the state of play between you, the nunchaku and your surroundings you can literally make the nunchaku appear to stop in front of you while to the outside world, there is a hurricane of movement. When combinations, bounces, swings and extended movements are added into the mix, the potential for creativity increases.

How Can We Improve?

Ask yourself; have you been consciously aware of these dynamics in your training. Are you standing still, muscles unnecessarily tensed, performing all sorts of swings, bounces and passes, sweating profusely and never fulfilling your true potential. Likewise, is there lots of body movement going on but only in harmony with the same old repeated nunchaku moves such as spinning around the wrist or bouncing on the upper arm? As a kobudo practitioner or just a freestyle nunchaku player you should always be trying to increase you repertoire of moves, spins, catches etc, and you should also be working on movement – how they move around you, how you move around them and how you both operate together within a given space. Together all three elements – you, nunchaku and surroundings – make up the whole canvass.

For more in-depth instruction and training on how to achieve dynamic nunchaku movement get in touch with Chan School of Nunchaku. For faster progress, you should consider private tuition.

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