Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles popularized the infamous nunchuck martial arts weapon in their comic books and television shows. The nunchuck is the chosen weapon of orange head band wearing surfer dude teenage turtle Michelangelo and he uses it to ward off the Shreddar's foot soldiers.
Here's an interesting factoid about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles before we begin discussing the nunchuck: Did you know that for the latest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movie TMNT the director was forced to never show Michelangelo actually striking anyone with his nunchucks because the Chinese government made it illegal to show violence specifically relating to the nunchuck. Why did they outlaw it? Who knows, but it's true.
The nunchuck is a diverse and interesting martial arts weapon. It is interesting both in its origins and also in its use. The weapon consists of two heavy sticks which are usually made of iron or wood that are tied together by a strong rope or chain. The wielder holds one of the sticks and strikes out with the other using the momentum built up in the chain to increase the speed and power of his strikes. It is a dangerous weapon when mishandled as it can cause bodily injury not just to an opponent but to the wielder himself. This is exemplified by a classic stunt in the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie where a foot soldier hits himself in the groin accidentally with his nunchuck.
The training of this particular martial arts weapon can be found in most forms of Okinawan karate. The Okinawans originally used the weapon as an agricultural tool and would use its quick striking action to thresh their grain and till their soil. Another quick factoid about martial arts: Did you know that Karate actually means empty handed but the use of various martial arts weapons is practiced in almost all different styles and is one of the more popular reasons to train in the martial art?
If you're looking to purchase a pair of nunchucks you should look for versions of the weapon that are both durable, strong in the connecting piece, and light. You should be able to control the direction of the strikes without losing momentum and you don't want to spend more than say, seventy dollars. The nunchuck is an old and powerful weapon, if you're serious about using them for self defense you should first seek out professional martial arts weapons training. Learn from the masters so that you can become an expert.