The Art of Tonfa
“The dance of battle is always played to the same impatient rhythm. What begins in a surge of violent motion is always reduced to the perfectly still. – Sun Tzu”
Tonfa is Okinawan club-like weapon with a handle at a right angle to the shaft. Typically made of wood with a rounded or a planed shaft. Can be used singly, or in pairs. Excellent defensive weapon against bladed weapons (good reach). Can be used for thrusting strikes with either end of the shaft, swinging strikes with the shaft, or with the knob end of the handle.
The tonfa traditionally consists of two parts, a handle with a knob, and perpendicular to the handle, a shaft or board that lies along the hand and forearm. The shaft is usually 51–61 cm (20–24 in) long; optimally, it extends about 3 cm past the elbow when held. Often the shaft has rounded off ends which may be grooved for a better grip.
The tonfa was originally a wooden handle that fit into a hole on the side of a millstone used to grind rice and other grains, dating back to 15th century Okinawa. The handle, which was easily disengaged from the millstone, became a very effective weapon of defense. The Tonfa’s circular movements as a farm implement evolved into its rotating strikes as a weapon. They may be used for blocks, thrusts, and strikes.
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