non-chuck (1972), nunchuck (1974)

Victor aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Thu Jul 16 16:05:58 UTC 2009

I am a bit confused by the two posts on this subject, largely because I
am missing the context. Are you only interested only in these two
spellings or in the other forms, such as the earlier "nunchaku". All
pre-1972 references are to that spelling. The earliest seems to be This
is Japan, no. 7 from 1960. This is followed by multiple iterations of a
bilingual Japanese/English guide specifically for "nunchaku". And there
are two independent references in 1969--March, April and July issues of
Black Belt magazine and in Asian Fighting Arts book.

It might also be worth checking some legal references to see if there
are any law-enforcement entries from the 1960s--several early 1970s hits
are to police training, especially in California, and there is also a
hit for General Index to Constitution and Laws of the State of
California, although the 1967 publishing date may well be misleading. If
you look through the March 1974 text from Black Belt, the published
comments are specifically in reference to a number of laws in California
and possibly in other states that outlaw possession of nunchaku.
Obviously, if the laws specifically refer to nunchaku, the name must
already have been in circulation well before the published comments.

The same issue also contains a number of ads that include "nunchaku
cases" and "nunchaku repair kit". Since these are not indexed, a manual
search is necessary to track back those references. Early issues of
Black Belt had very little advertising, especially for equipment--the
first ad for uniforms that I spotted was in 1965. So the search need not
go back further than 1967 or 1968. Still, if the early 1960s references
prove correct--and they should--there would be no need for such detail.


Jesse Sheidlower wrote:
> On Thu, Jul 16, 2009 at 12:56:13AM -0400, Benjamin Zimmer wrote:
>> (_Black Belt_ is now on Google Books in full view from 1962 onwards,
>> so that should help with various martial arts terms.)
> Antedatings found for _chopsocky_ adj., _hapkido_, _martial
> artist_, _ninja_, _qigong_, and _Shaolin_, and that's just for
> the published ranges. And before breakfast.
> Best,
> Jesse
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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