Tonfa, sometimes called, “Tunfa, or Tuinfa”, are usually used in pairs for defense against other handheld weapons like sticks, clubs, or knives. They are used in Asian Style Martial Arts most notably from South Eastern China and the Ryukyu Islands and Okinawa. In China they are sometimes called crutches and are longer in length, just like a crutch would be made. In Okinawa they resemble more of a handle like you might see on a well to turn a post or something to wind a rope. Historians have tried to figure out where the Tonfa originated, however there is a lot of disagreement. Some have theorized that they were some kind of primitive horse bridal at one time and originated farther north in the horse tribes of the Mongolian lands.

Wherever they originated is a subject left for historians. As Students of Martial Arts we take the Tonfa as another tool in our arsenal of weaponry. It is very efficient at what it does and in its’ simple form, is quite sophisticated in its makeup and use. Every part of the Tonfa has a specific purpose and the way it is put together has importance. The Tonfa became so well liked by Martial Artists for its defensive capabilities it was developed into an official police tool. Known as the PR-24 Defensive Baton.

The Kobudo taught at Three Dragons Way will include three Routines (Kata) with the Tonfa. The techniques of using them for Defense will be primary and offensive use will be secondary. The Tonfa are used in pairs and the Kata are all demonstrated with one in each hand. The Tonfa should fit the users grip and arm. So one size could fit but it wouldn’t be as efficient as Tonfa that was particularly fitted to your size and shape.

The length of the baton part of the Tonfa should be a couple inches longer than your elbow when held by the handle.
The Tonfa are usually held by the small handle and the longer baton part is positioned on the underside of the forearm.
The handle should have a knob or some sort of thicker end to help keep the grip from slipping off when swinging the Tonfa. Plus the knob should be substantial since it can be used for striking and hooking. The Baton part extends about a fist distance or couple inches more in the front and has a slight taper so that when it is swung, the end is less likely to catch on the wrist. The extension in the front is also used to effectively punch with the Tonfa. The longer part of the Baton is tapered as well and should fit the underside of the forearm flat. This connection to the arm is important when executing blocking or parrying maneuvers.

The way the handle is joined to the baton is important in that if it is joined with the grain of the wood running the wrong way, it can easily crack or break on heavy impact. Over time the joint can become loose, so it should either be joined with a wedge or peg. There are several ways of securing the joint and the people who would fashion them for Martial Arts Schools had their own special way of doing it. Over time, these particular joints became known to each particular school and thus becoming a sort of definer for those groups. Three Dragons Way uses a round tenon with a peg holding it together. In time it can become loose because of heavy use and this joint is easily repaired or replaced instead of having to make a whole new Tonfa.

Students wanting to learn the Tonfa must learn the first 2 Staff forms.
Then they can begin learning Tonfa.
If you have any questions or want to order a custom pair of high quality Tonfa, contact;

Gary Huff
913 709 9051