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A pair of tonfa

The tonfa (Okinawan: トンファー tonfā, Malay: topang, Chinese: ; pinyin: guǎi), also known as tong fa or tuifa, is an Okinawan weapon. It consists of a stick with a perpendicular handle attached a third of the way down the length of the stick, and is about 15-20 inches long.[1] It was traditionally made from red or white oak and wielded in pairs.[2] The tonfa is believed to have originated in either China or Southeast Asia where it is used in the respective fighting styles. A similar weapon called the mae sun sawk is used in krabi krabong and might be the original version of the weapon.[3] This article will reference tonfa from this point forward.

A pair of tonfa.


Although the tonfa is most commonly associated with the Okinawan martial arts, its origin is heavily debated. One of the most commonly cited origins is China, although origins from Indonesia to Thailand are also possible.[4][5][6] Okinawan tradition derives the tonfa from a millstone handle.[7][8] Other countries ascribe the tonfa's origin to the crutch; both the Chinese and Malay words for the weapon (guai and topang respectively) literally mean crutch.


The tonfa measures about three centimeters past the elbow when gripped.[9] There are three grips, honte-mochi (natural), gyakute-mochi (reverse) and tokushu-mochi (special). The starting grip, honte-mochi, places the handle in the hand with the long arm resting along the bottom of the forearm. This grip provides protection or brace along one's forearms, and also provides reinforcement for uraken (back fist), hiji waza (elbow techniques) and punches. In use, the tonfa can swing out to the gyakute grip for a strike or thrust. Martial artists may also flip the tonfa and grab it by the shaft, called tokushu-mochi. This allows use of the handle as a hook in combat, similar to the kama (sickle).[10][11] This grip is uncommon but is used in the kata Yaraguwa.[12]

See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]

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42 news items

Wed, 20 Aug 2014 01:15:00 -0700

Particularly outstanding is the groundbreaking fight scene inside a house involving an old man (Min Tanaka) who battles with tonfa, stick-like weapons used in ancient martial arts, and a man using two swords (Iseya). Past Japanese period films, such as ...
Fri, 01 Aug 2014 09:18:37 -0700

It will also showcase different forms of kata or weapon such as tonfa, sai, katana, long stick, and arnis. Astudillo said, "This competition will not only be for fun but at the same time educational for the participants." Cenojas' CMMA, on the other ...


Wed, 20 Aug 2014 23:22:30 -0700

... équilibré du corps, le tout de façon ludique, en utilisant une variété de techniques adaptées au potentiel de chacun (coups de pieds, coups de poings, projections, clés, immobilisations avec ou sans arme, couteau, bâton court et long, tonfa ...

Spiegel Online

Spiegel Online
Sat, 16 Aug 2014 07:56:57 -0700

Panzerwagen, Sturmgewehre, Kampfmesser: Schwer bewaffnet traten Polizisten in der US-Stadt Ferguson auf. Sind sie schuld an der Eskalation? Im Interview erklärt der Einsatzlehre-Experte Marcel Kuhlmey, warum so ein Fall in Deutschland nicht denkbar ...


Mon, 18 Aug 2014 18:58:14 -0700

Nuestro estilo comprende el manejo de seis armas: Bo, Tunfa o Tonfa, Eku-Bo, Sai, Shaku-Bo y Kamanti. El bo-jutsu (棒術) o técnica del palo consiste en el aprovechamiento de las virtudes de ataque y defensa que se obtienen mediante el manejo de un ...

Citta della Spezia

Citta della Spezia
Mon, 18 Aug 2014 07:13:26 -0700

Quando i militari sono arrivati sul posto, uno di loro non ha esitato e ha utilizzato la tonfa per sfondare il vetro. Il cane era quasi asfissiato e allo stremo delle forze ma, ha capito che per lui era arrivata la salvezza. Quindi, ha teso il musetto ...

ADN (Argentina)

ADN (Argentina)
Sat, 09 Aug 2014 16:15:00 -0700

Explicaron que el Bastón Tonfa Policial es la defensa reglamentaria más polivalente que los miembros de los cuerpos de seguridad y prevencionales tienen a su alcance. La misma forma parte como dotación para los componentes de unidades de patrulla ...
Mon, 18 Aug 2014 11:00:00 -0700

Para isso, ela usa como instrumento de trabalho coletes, tonfa e spray de pimenta. No entanto, uma lei federal sancionada no início do mês de agosto altera e amplia as funções dos profissionais e prevê o armamento das guardas municipais de todo o país.

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