Tuesday, March 8, 2011

the evil san-setsu-kon

A few years ago, I was really, utterly, and intently into nunchaku. I was Bruce Lee and Michelangelo rolled into one. I absorbed almost every resource I could find on the subject. I have a duffle bag full of different styles of nunchaku: foam, alumnium, wooden, plastic, micarta, tapered, non-tapered, pencil-thin, ultra heavy and a custom pair of cocobolo nunchaku that would break just about anything out there. The only one I still haven't bought are the muge nunchaku that are allegedly what nunchaku looked like in days of old when they still served as horse bridles.

If you have ever looked thru the AWMA catalog, or at the ads in Black Belt magazine, then you have surely seen the "San Setsu Kon." It looks like this:



Now, one could literally translate san-setsu-kon to three-sectional-staff, which is where the confusion ensues. This is what most of us know as the three-section-staff:



I just know that song is going to be stuck in your head all day now... :)

But that's not a san-setsu-kon. A san-setsu-kon is like a freak baby from the nunchaku factory with a third arm. Like one day, they had an extra stick, and someone with a perverted sense of humor said "ehh, drill some holes on the end of that pair and add the stick. We'll call it an ancient weapon and add $10 to the list price."

So, I bit the bullet a few years ago, and decided to buy one. Never having seen someone actually USE the weapon, I thought it might be fun to try and put something together.

Now, my second year in college, I took a philosophy class. How is that relevant? Well, the first time I tried to use this evil nunchaku freak, I found myself becoming overly ambitious and hit myself in the head hard enough to remove any knowledge gleaned from that class. I then proceeded to hit myself in the babymaker hard enough to put down the san-setsu-kon, and spend the next 20 minutes developing a form that revolved around laying on my back and using an ice pack as a shield.

I don't pick it up very often, mostly because it really requires a fair amount of space to work with. What I have found is that:

1. Don't even try to use it like a three section staff. It flat out doesn't work that way.
2. If you like flexible weapons work such as snaring, grabbing and locking, you will really like this weapon.
3. It twirls in a fashion somewhere between a nunchaku and a chain whip. Once you figure out which nunchaku transitions work and (more importantly) don't work, it becomes easier.

There's not a whole lot of youtube help out there on this one, but this guy does a decent job.

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