One thing to keep in mind in this discussion is the lion-and-chair phenomenon. Clyde Beatty, the late big-cat circus performer, wrote that the whole point of the chair was to get the cat to focus its attention on the inanimate object and not the man behind it. This might prevent the man from getting ripped to shreds should the cat go into, well, let's just call it flaming-rabid-badger mode. Anyway, the same applies to fighting someone wielding a flashy weapon. You're fighting the man, not the sticks. Having trained with the nunchaku since the mid-1970s, including both the flashy twirly cheerleader stuff and the more pragmatic strike-a-tire-and-recover workouts, I can modestly offer a few thoughts about the varieties of possible nunchaku-wielding opponents. Here are two extremes:
1) Someone twirling the sticks quickly and deftly but in a high or wide stance may well be pretty untrained about recovery after striking and, especially, close-quarters grappling. If you move in fast, with a stance of sanchin-dachi or something close to protect the knees (prime nunchaku target) and the forearms protecting the head and neck (other prime nunchaku targets) you may get inside the guy's swinging range without having to take more than one relatively undamaging hit. Then you rock'n'roll and do whatever you do best up close and personal: rapid-rabbit tsuki, elbow strikes, head blow to the nose, knees to the groin, all of the above, etc.
2) Someone holding the sticks in a ready position and in a stance like sanchin-dachi is, to a trained eye, a lot scarier than the aforementioned Mr. Flash-in-the-Pan. Watch out for his feet! "Stix and kix are perfect together," and the possibilities of being kicked, hit in the head or clavicle by the sticks (upper arm), or across the knees or ribs (lower arm) are all omnipresent until the first move is made. Closing quickly in that situation without getting seriously injured or killed on the way in is a far worse bet than with opponent number one, above. But if you think about it, that's why the sticks are more a defensive than an offensive weapon, as someone mentioned in an earlier post. To strike is to expose oneself. If it's a downward nunchaku blow with the upper arm (actually weaker than the lower-arm lateral) you could do a deep thrust pivoting side kick and get your upper body back and out of the way in one move. The more likely strike from this guy will be the lower-arm lateral to your knee, or the kick, or the combination, of course. There is no "recipe response" to these, but your own offensive counter will have to take place during the recovery period, which, if he's good, won't be long. But if you dodge that lateral and/or kick and can get your own kick to his centerline (solar plexus, groin, etc.) during your little window of opportunity, you will certainly have moved your badger into the end zone. How you follow up from there is open-ended, but I'd generally rather be in close with someone armed with a nunchaku or fireram than far enough away to be in the prime target range. 'Course, someone who knows what he's doing can crack you in the head with his rifle butt or crush your larynx with the pivot ends of his nunchaku if you get too close, but I suppose that's no worse, respectively, than having a rifle round between the eyes or the blunt end of a nunchaku smashing into your temporal bone, causing a massive intracranial bleed. Oh, well, those are my optimistic thoughts for the day. Good night, all.