The nunchaku is a traditional Okinawan martial arts weapon consisting of two sticks (usually wood), each connected at one end by a short metal chain or a rope. The person who practices this weapon is referred to in Japanese as nunchakuka.
The nunchaku is most widely used in martial arts such as Okinawan kobudō and karate. Its intended use is as a training weapon, since it allows the development of quicker hand movements and improves posture. Modern-day nunchaku can be made from metal, wood, plastic or fiberglass. Toy and replica versions made of polystyrene foam or plastic are also available. The exact origin of nunchaku is unclear; a popular myth holds that it was initially used by Okinawan farmers as a rice-flail for threshing rice. A very similarly constructed weapon called the tabak-toyok exists as a native weapon in the nearby northern Philippines, showing a common origin with the nunchaku. It was not a historically popular weapon because it was ineffective against the most widely used weapons of that time such as katana and naginata and few historical techniques for its use still survive.
In modern times, nunchaku were popularized by actor and martial artist Bruce Lee and his martial arts student (and his teacher of Filipino martial arts) Dan Inosanto, who introduced this weapon to the actor. Lee famously used nunchaku in multiple scenes of the 1972 film Fist of Fury. Further exploration of use of nunchaku and of other kobudo discipline was afforded to Bruce Lee with and by Tadashi Yamashita, who worked with Bruce Lee on and in the 1973 film Enter the Dragon. In modern cartoons, the character Michelangelo of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise uses nunchaku as a signature weapon.