Wrist rolls are a type of roll which revolve around the wrist area. They are one of the most basic techniques unique to freestyle nunchaku and one that most noticeably distinguishes a freestyle from other branches on nunchaku use. In this way, freestyle nunchaku wrist rolls are comparable to the ollie in trick skateboarding.


Wrist rolls are named based on the grips involved. The standard four wrist rolls are the front-to-front (F2F), back-to-back (B2B), front-to-back (F2B), and back-to-front (B2F). If degrees of rotation are unmentioned, it is assumed that F2F and B2B travel 360° while F2B and B2F travel 180°. However, greater rotation is possible, although with increased difficulty.

Wrist roll naming can vary significantly. Some freestyle nunchaku artists emphasize a difference between a roll that only travels 180° and one that travels a full 360° or more. This distinction is made because the 180° rolls, the front-to-back (F2B) and back-to-front (B2F), travel over the finger area of the hand, not coming in contact with the wrist. Therefore, 180° rolls around the hand are called hand rolls. In contrast, rolls of 360° or more travel around the wrist and can accurately be named as wrist rolls. However, some people disregard this distinction.

A variety of different names exist for the wrist roll techniques. While the name "wrist roll" is now more widely accepted, "wrist spin" and "wrist flip" were formerly popular. "Wrist wrap" is sometimes used to denote a 360° wrist roll while "wrist roll" is used to denote what is actually a hand roll. Thankfully, the name, including the hand roll vs. wrist roll distinction, is generally not all too significant as long as the person describing the roll clarifies it with information of which grips it is going to and from.


180° hand rolls are commonly used to switch between grips, and the same can be done with 540° wrist rolls. Wrist rolls can also be chain combined into continuously looping combinations. The most common is a figure-8 combining a front-to-back and back-to-front hand rolls. Also popular is the continuous back-to-back wrist roll combination, and, to a lesser degree, the continuous front-to-front wrist roll combination.

Outside of freestyle nunchaku, in combat or traditional martial arts, wrist rolls are practically useless and unheard of. They are often cited by critics of freestyle as unpractical.


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