This article covers maintenance tips for fire nunchaku, especially chain. Read, learn, grow!
Recently, I’ve been seeing a new graveyard being made for nunchaku. I’ve been inspiring others to take that leap into fire and glow nunchaku, but I haven’t made any care guides on them yet. This is the first article (out of many) that will address safety and maintenence advice to make your nunchaku live a full life! The most important rule to know in this article is this: Fire nunchaku is a different breed than standard. If you’ve bought them from a reputable company (like Ninja Pyrate, Dark Monk, etc.), then you need to be sure that you are educated in proper care before thinking it’s a defect. And that, my friends, is either through experience (yes this means I went through all of these trials) or education (this article, yo!)
“Please don’t feed me sand! That’s like me feeding you dog food!”
The following tips are for fire nunchaku with swivels. If you use rope without swivels (yes swiveled rope exists), then the most important thing is to check for wear and tear. Replace the rope when you see it. So why use chain? Fireballs and plumes of course! Here are some safety tips to know!
1. You let chain swivels roll in sand, dirt, gravel
So you’re skateboarding at your favorite skate park, whirling away with your 1080 spins when all of a sudden… You slam into a pile of gravel and fly off your skateboard! Weoooo! (as they would say in Kung Pow).
Your swivels are much like that skateboard. Protect their little lives by avoiding places that have excessive particles that can get inside the ballbearings. These particles will grind away at the life of your nunchaku. Because fire chucks are also heavy (due to the fuel soaked kevlar), this will increase chakudeath by 200%.
2. You felt the swivels grinding and didn’t do anything about it.
Regardless if you kept the swivels out of harms way like Superman, if you feel resistance and grinding in your nunchaku, consider it a warning sign! First and foremost, have you been putting lubricant and/or oil in the swivels? You will increase life this way. It’s highly recommended. I use “Speed Cream” which is used for high intensity skateboarding (You can google search it).
I would not ever perform with nunchaku that feel like they are grinding. Grinding = death. This isn’t always the case and maybe some lubricant will help it out but it is always best to proceed with caution. One time I didn’t heed the warning and I kicked a flaming nunchaku in half. The other end flew 20 feet in the air, far away from me. If a tree had been around… (doh!)
“I don’t want to read safety tips, so i’m just going to pray before each burn.”
– Miss Accidentwaiting
The following tips are just good to know. Read it. Food for your ninja soul. Yum. Ninja cereal. Ninja-O’s.
3. Always have an ABC fire extinguisher
This is not a nunchaku care tip but so important that I must put it here. In the last entry, if the other half of my nunchaku did happen to fly and get caught in a tree (worst case scenario), this might be my only line of defense. You can get these for like $10-$15 at Walmart I believe. Get one!
4. Suggestion: Keep a pair for performance and a pair for training
This suggestion will make sure that you minimize the worst case scenario in front of an audience or performance. If you can, buy two nunchaku. Keep one for training. Make all your mistakes with that one. Keep the other just for shows. Put it behind a gold plated glass box and pray to it every morning. This will make the nunchaku gods happy and they will bless you with a flawless show. (Now you know the secret.)
On a serious note, all fire props will wear down. Much of the wear happens from training. Should something go awry, it’s always best to have it happen in the training environment so you don’t have to worry about factors like an affected audience, panic, etc.
Your wicks have a limited life. Every burn slowly takes away. With the right care, you can slow down this deterioration!
Take care of those burning ends or they will take care of you! (Yes, that’s a threat. I didn’t make it though. Your wicks told me to!)
5. You didn’t put protective ends over the wicks
I went to the dollar store and bought baby socks. They are tiny, stretchy and does wonders for the wicks. Using protective ends on your wicks will help ensure they last a long time when you’re just training. Every time you drop your nunchaku, if your wick is exposed, it will fray ever slightly. If you add it up, it quickly will start to lose layers. We will cover that in the next…
6. You had loose kevlar and didn’t cut/glue
Loose kevlar means that the ends are starting to fray. You’ll notice this “shaggy” look on the kevlar. Here’s the deal: kevlar needs to be packed tightly. When air is introduced to it, it will eat the kevlar at a faster rate. So when you start to see fraying, if you leave it alone, the fray will get worse quickly. If you fix it when you see it, it will last much longer.
How do I fix frayed wicks? There are several thoughts. Here’s what I do. Use a pair of scissors (that you don’t mind dulling. Kevlar is tough). Cut away all the loose frayed threads. Kevlar is often wrapped over itself in layers. Each layer is held in by a screw. If the top layer of the wick is terribly thin or if it is an open flap, cut it off. Look for loose pieces and edges. Get some Elmers White Glue and glue the parts of the kevlar that are loose. If the kevlar is not attached (if it’s a flap or like a page of a book where it is no longer wrapping around the kevlar), don’t glue it. Cut it. Try to keep the whole thing a nicely packed, wrap of kevlar.
How long should your wicks last? That depends on how often you use it! I’ve had wicks that lasted 6 months and others that lasted 2-3 years. Taking care of it will double, or triple the life.
Lars Addition: You should be using leather shears, they cost about $5 and are heavy duty scissors that cut through kevlar like butter and make a nice clean edge (when cured with the glue and folded in will never fray) without dulling the blade easily.
7. You let the wicks burn too long
When the flame is almost out and it is flickering blue, the kevlar often takes more damage. This is due to the fuel running low and the fire eating away at the kevlar for those last few moments. A general rule is, if it’s blue and you can blow it out, do it!
“Besides your missing lighter, I am your ultimate enemy.”
If these tips were a fighting game, these last three tips would be the end boss.
8. You didn’t check the rope/swivels for wear and tear
No matter how excited you are to show your friends or audience the tricks you’ve learned. One loose quicklink or one frayed rope could very much change the outcome of the night. Safety is always first. Why? Because one accident and your friends/professional life might not trust you again if you poke them on the head with a flaming chuck. (Unless it’s a flaming Chuck Norris, then you’ll get all the props).
Use pliers to tighten the quick links. Tug on the chain. Ensure the swivel is not grinding. Inspect the rope. Ensure the wick is not damaged. Now you’re ready!
9. You treated it like a regular nunchaku – battle!
I can’t believe I have to write this…but please don’t slam your chucks into trees, boards, other people. Fire nunchaku isn’t really the most effective weapon. Try not to strike with it. This is even more vital with LED (which we will likely cover later), but treat your nunchaku like a porcelain $200 bill. If you put it in a place like a heavy bag, underneath heavy boxes, etc. etc. there’s a chance the weight would bend and/or break your wonderful investment. Fire nunchaku is your second baby but you don’t have to feed it. You do have to change its diapers (wicks) though. Treat it well!
10. You bounced too hard (swivel)
The #1 rule. So important that I’m using bigger fonts. I’ve killed more nunchaku with bounces than any other technique. There is a technique where you stall the nunchaku before each bounce. This will allow you to do hyper safely. Without stalling, you’re redirecting full force. The weight of the kevlar + force of the initial swing x force of the opposing swing = death!
Hyper style (without stalls) = hyper death
Kick bounces = kick death
Learn to “pad” your bounces so the chuck isn’t taking opposing force damage (You chucks have 10 HP and heavy bounces do 2d6 damage!). This is the best way to show love to your nunchaku.
I hope this helps. Spread the word! Don’t let another person break an expensive nunchaku over something that could have been fixed! If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. Much love and throwing stars.
You Flow Sensei,