SOME RULES to COMBAT WITH
The target area should be restricted to the hip or waist up, no groin shots, all other areas are available. Double or quick successive hits with the nunchaku without reply count as individual strikes that score. Head shots should carry more value as a primary target and all others as secondary targets. Two points for a strike on a primary target and one point for a strike on a secondary target.
As an alternative to this, three points for the head, two points for the torso and one point for the thigh.
When both opponents strike each other at the same time or within a fraction of a second then no score will be given. An alternative to this would be to score according to the target area hit so if each opponent hits the same target then no score is given, if they are both head shots, stop bout to acknowledge this. If one of the simultaneous shots is to the head, stop the bout and score the difference between the target areas. In any other situation score the difference between the target areas but continue with the bout until a clean shot is given and the bout can be stopped and scored, add the previous points. The emphasis here is on the head shot, taking one could be fatal so the points scoring reflects that and the bout is stopped when a head shot is landed. This is more complicated but should yield more valuable combat results as it may more realistically mimic real combat with Nunchaku.
Blocking with the arms is not allowed, if so award a point or points to the striker depending on whether the shot was at a primary or secondary target. The fight arena should be 15-20 feet square, it can be larger but too small will be constrictive, stepping out would incur a warning for the first time and a point against for the second. For beginners you may wish to penalize those showing too much or excessive power in the strike, after a warning has been given and on the next occasion award one point to the opponent. Its better to have a judge on both sides of the opponents so that points can be awarded correctly and simultaneous shots can be discounted fairly, one of these judges has the final say on awarding points. After a strike has landed then the judge would stop combat to award the points and then draw the opponents to the start line to begin combat on his or her command. Set a time limit on the rounds and how many before you start. Adequate protection will be required to protect the head, eyes, ears, throat, neck, groin, kidneys, ribs, spine, shoulders, abdomen, fingers, wrists, forearms and elbows. For light full contact only some of these would apply. I would use full head protection, hand, finger, wrist, chest and groin.
This is but one format that one could use to engage in combat using combat Nunchaku, this will mean that your style will be honed to suit the requirements of the rules, some will argue about realism but we all have to start somewhere. Sure, by defining anything you put it into a box, bounded by those rules that make a box what it is, physically or metaphorically.
However, Once the box is defined, you can think outside of the box, this stepping stone, is but an island of reference.
These rules produce a combat style that appears different to that of the European Nunchaku-Do. The flowing style is broken more by block or ready positions and blocking, as you try to get into range without taking a hit and deliver an effective strike with recovery of the free swinging end. The break to award points further breaks up the, flow but this is something I appreciate as it gives me time to reflect on what just occurred and to respect the fact that one may have just taken or given a potentially deadly blow or a blow that would leave you open to a coup de gras. So a bout consists of many singular bouts, with a draw or a clear winner with a maximum of 3 or 4 strikes to score. The emphasis is on the block and the counter techniques from a block, which are least exercised when training on your own. The avoid and counter techniques, which develop through having space to train in with others and using movement. The strike techniques, as a direct strike or as misdirection before the strike and combinations of techniques or strikes with or without movement leading to a strike. It is an exciting format, a fun learning experience.
From my own experience the techniques learnt in my Nunchaku studies, have been somewhat overshadowed by the concepts and theories developing from combat training. In many ways, it has been a journey that takes me back to basics, or even, square one. To put any of the techniques into action in the combat arena, takes a new kind of learning and appreciation for Nunchaku. Of course, dedication will be required as you may find that the barrier that now stands before you is daunting. This may make you reappraise why and what you are doing, but do not give up as the rewards are beneficial and the achievement of learning new things, for some, will always remain a wonderful thing. Since undertaking my challenge to convert my knowledge into combat knowledge, I have become aware that the distance and timing of moves and techniques become highlighted. The elaborate and non essential elements within ones techniques have to be dropped, or modified to fit into the faster pace of combat, striking and blocking and movement all have to be incorporated into a whole, or oneness. After some time you may be able to work some, or all of your techniques back into the mix. It will take thought, meditation and practice to incorporate, that which you know now, into knowledge that is viable within the Nunchaku combat arena. However, I must state, or reiterate that this arena is a construct that resembles modern day boxing as oppose to street brawling, so its realness or efficiency in combat in the real world has to be modified by this. It is as real as it can be for the given limitations set by keeping it safe and the rules applied to score points. So it is but one way to do it, I like the format, stand up, not too flashy, quite fast, direct, traditional in look and understandable when viewed.
My first experiences were that of inadequate techniques at the wrong timing and distance, that were easily read and out maneuvered. I suffered with insufficient blocking speed and skill, and a lack of general awareness for the speed of the nunchaku. However my awareness for the distance of a strike and my ability to get out of striking range was keen. These aspects can be overlooked when practising and learning on your own and without the balancing influence of combat training running in parallel with the learning of techniques. Attacking from a position that is out of range and initiating an attack seems to be easily read and also seems to often leave me exposed to a counter strike. It may be worth waiting for your opponent to initiate the action, so that you may counter, but if both opponents have this same mind set then the combat might slow, almost to a stop. So this needs some thought, on how to initiate your strikes or provoke action so that you can counter. I have been aware recently that I have to learn to stay in the pocket and block, staying in contact and within range to strike with little or no movement; my propensity for retreating out of range makes it harder to counter attack. So, I am focusing on block and counter techniques to make up the distance. Beyond this, if the opponent retreats after striking you are in a position to follow, or match the opponent's steps, to get your counter strike in. When you can not get a block up in time you will have to move though, and quickly! A key note for blocking in many situations within striking range or just out side of it is, is breaking the flow of the opponent's swing, in many instances you can redirect the flow so as to become awkward for the opponent to retrieve quickly or bounces back into the opponent where least expected. However just the act of blocking is enough to slow down the retrieval of the Nunchaku and gives you a small window of opportunity to counter.
Break the flow and counter.
This is leading me to explore, as I did Nunchaku in the first place, in a new way, so I am developing a number of strikes off the various blocks that I have learnt, whether it be a high hand or low hand a left or right hand counter off a given block, all are up for scrutiny until deemed too slow or ineffective for combat applications. However I still have to focus, for the purposes of this exercise on making the block first.
I feel that this is but the tip of an iceberg.
The act of combat is very energetic and I am still acclimatizing to it, most of all it is fun, the shared experience and learning heightens this. I would compare it to playing squash, a lot of stop start, so, hard on the joints and highly cardio-vascular. As I get better I hope that this will lessen and in the beginning I found that the mental excitement, nerves and adrenalin all conspired to make endurance short. So for the moment, I need to calm the mind more, stay in contact, focus on the block and counter and limit non essential movements.
The fact that there is now an opponent changes everything and limits nothing. I must learn through doing.
Like a wise man once said:
"I hear ~ I forget. I see ~ I remember. I do ~ I know"