Tonfa History

Tonfa Anatomy

This curious domestic implement which was used as a handle to turn the head-operated millstone when grinding rice, is a tapered hardwood billet between 15 and 20 inches in length with a short projecting side-handle set about 6 inches down from the thicker end of the billet. When employed as a weapon, the user holds the handle loosely but firmly to allow for the maximum manipulation of both ends of the Tonfa.

With the short or long end lying along the underside of the forearm, the Tonfa permits very effective punching or striking, as the opposite end is employed to jab with devastating force at unprotected vital points. The weapon is also used to block cuts or blows in a manner dictated by “te” technique. Like the Kama, it can be effectively used in pairs.