Tabak Toyok, the Filipino Nunchaku

Tabak Toyok

The Tabak Toyok is a Filipino version of the Nunchaku in katakana :in katakana:in pinyin: shung jié gùn , in Korean Ssanglbong and I repeatTabak Toyok in Filipino).

The nunchaku

exists in all martial traditions and is a traditional weapon, of a percussive type, widespread especially in the version that everyone knows in some East Asian countries.

the nunchaku
is made by two short sticks joined by a short chain or rope.

It is also used in martial arts as:

  • Jeet Kune Do,
  • Filipino martial arts (FMA) under the name Tabak Toyok
  • Chinese kung fu (the name of the weapon in Chinese is Shang Jie Gun),where the section is round
  • Japponese karate, where the section is octagonal
  • traditional j’jutsu (in which Kata with weapons, including Nunchaku himself), is present,
  • Etc.

So it is a widespread weapon and Europe itself with its European combat scourges despite its diversity and specificity is something that exploits a swinging element where instead of having “two handles” has a handle is a percussive element blunt and with different weight.

Nunchaku-like weapons exist in many martial arts around the world and all these weapons are built with the basic principles of the Nunchaku. .

Some of these are simply Nunchaku imported from Kobudo or the Filipino Chako and Tabak Toyok are like Okinawa’s Nunchaku made from local Filipino wood.

So in general every martial arts has its own “chain” weapons, such as the Shaolin Sanjiegun or the European Combat Flail.


Elements of the nunchaku

The nunchaku is formed by the two sticks, the upper end of which has the elements to connect the string or chain that joins them and instead the lower one that is the part that impacts on the targets .

The ideal length of the two sticks is represented by the length of your forearm, your forearm so it should actually be tailored for you.

The diameter of the base of the stick is 2.5-3 centimeters, while the upper end narrows to two centimeters.

The section can vary from the classic round, to the hexagonal.

Materials range from classic wood, aluminum, or hard rubber.

The length of the chain or rope that joins the two sticks must have equal width of the palm of the hand, but must advance a link of the chain, otherwise it becomes difficult to control the weapon.

A tip, some freestyle techniques is better to do them with the chain nunchaku, because the continuous friction between the rope and the inner edge of the weapon for an extended period of time can consume the rope.

If you want to try using kevlar strings and replace the ones in paracord, using the same diameter, I did so and I recommend it.

Ps. There is a three-stick variant of the nunchaku, called san setsu-kon ( in Chinese:
s’n jié gùn

Tabak Toyok, the Filipino Nunchaku Fighting Tips - Street Fight Mentality & Fight SportParts of the nunchaku

  • Ana : the hole on the kontoh of each handle to pass the himo – only the nunchaku that are connected by the himo have an ana .
  • Himo : the rope that connects the two handles of some nunchaku.
  • Kusari : the chain that connects the two handles of some nunchaku.
  • Kontoh : the top of each handle.
  • Jukon-bu : the top of the handle.
  • Chukon-bu : the middle part of the handle.
  • Kikon-bu : the bottom of the handle.
  • Kontei : the bottom of the handle. [14]

Tabak Toyok


The Filipino version of nunchaku

The main difference between the Filipino version and the other versions of the weapon is that Tabak Toyok has the same overall length but tends to have shorter handles and a longer chain.

  • Handle length — > 10 cm
  • Length of rope or chain that attaches each handle — > 25 cm

The size of this weapon varies depending on the user.

In the Philippines, tabak Toyok is known by the popular name chako and in a street brawl it is easy to see it come out of nowhere because the small size of the Tabak Toyok handle makes it easier to conceal the weapon in daily transport.

The weapon is best used in the long range but is also used as a percussive element in the short distance.



Dan Inosanto and his educational program

Guru Dan Inosanto teaches the Filipino use of Tabak Toyok which is present in his Filipino Kalicurriculum.

Dan Inosanto taught the use of this weapon to his dear friend and teacher, the legendary Bruce Lee, you understand, it was Dan Inosanto who taught Lee the use of nunchaku.

Bruce Lee is famous for his cinematic combat scenes that portray him with the nunchaku to the point of making him famous and as a result the most famous and smaller Nunchaku version of Bruce Lee has been referenced and all bear a resemblance to these.


If you have never used it I recommend you to have an experience with this type of weapon because it has great offensive potential and allows it to be used:

  • In the short distance,
  • in the long distance
  • like clinch
  • to choke
  • to check

It is really a versatile weapon but that needs to be flexible of careful training because the risk is to hit yourself.

Have a good workout with Tabak Toyok!


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Written by Andrea

Instructor and enthusiast of Self Defence and Fight Sport.

# Boxing / Muay Thai / Brazilian Jiu Jitsu / Grappling / CSW / MMA / Method & Training.
# Self Defence / FMA / Dirty Boxing / Silat / Jeet Kune Do & Kali / Fencing Knife / Stick Fighting / Weapons / Firearms / Strategy.

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