Brett’s first choice of weapon is the Nunchaku. Introduced to the masses in the 1970’s by Bruce Lee, this unusual weapon is thought to have been around for thousands of years. Favoured by many because of it’s small size making it easy to conceal, the nunchaku can be used individually or as a pair. Generally made from two pieces of wood joined together with either cord or chain they have also been made from metal, plastic, acrylic and foam. Brett will only allow “safety” nunchaku made from foam covered plastic or wood to be used in his classes.
Many would say that Brett’s use of the bo-staff is superior to that of the nunchaku, but he would disagree. He doesn’t find the bo-staff as satisfying as the nunchaku but then that’s a personal choice and some would disagree. There are many types of bo made from a selection of materials including many types of wood, bamboo/rattan, carbon fibre, aluminium and graphite (usually with a wooden core). The graphite bo is very popular because it is light but very tough and can be used for “contact” without sustaining damage and offers a degree of flex not normally found with a basic wooden bo.
Like many of the weapons used in martial arts, the sai is thought to have started life as an everyday farm implement used for hay making. The sai of today is made from chromed steel with a leather bound handle. One of the more dangerous weapons to master because when dropped (and you will drop them) the pointed end will easily penetrate your foot or leg. Finding a place to practice can be a problem because of the damage they cause to floors. A nice grassed area is probably best. Safety sai are available, usually made from wood or aluminium making them much lighter, but they are difficult to use as they don’t have the weight necessary to produce the momentum needed. Brett likes the sai but again finds them restrictive.
The origins of many of the martial weapons is somewhat of a mystery. Simply researching the subject will uncover conflicting stories as to how they came to be. The general consensus is that they came about because in the ancient times of the Samurai Warrior, peasants weren’t allowed to posses weapons. So they had to improvise in an effort to defend themselves using farm tools and walking canes or staffs.