Tonfa Techniques

Tonfa Techniques

At LSDU, I teach Tonfa to advanced students, typically after they have experienced middle stick fighting, knife defense, and Bo staff. By the time students pick up Tonfa, the basic instincts, stances and footwork are in place. The student is first introduced to the basic moves, then becomes proficient with combinations of the basics. Once students can move the weapons with confidence, they learn the forms. Each forms is progressively more complex. So...over the course of training, you acquire the moves, explore the nuances, perfect them, and then solidify the knowledge with a crowning forms.
1. Form #1 addresses the basic pattern off of a down block, introduces double blocks, and multiple strikes.
2. Form #2 goes to the next level, emphasizing the down block/high block sequence, followed by the basic strike pattern. The middle sections close with transitional cross body swings. Both forms are modeled on Shotokan’s Taikyoku forms.
3. Form #3; represent Black Belt level concepts. Form #3 was created at the Lamka Shaolin Disciple's Union, essentially as a final repository for techniques not preserved in the other forms.

Tonfa Basic Techniques
The tonfa can be gripped by the short perpendicular handle or by the longer main shaft. In defense, if the handle is grasped then the shaft protects the forearm and hand while the knob protects the thumb. If both ends of the shaft are held, the shaft can be used to ward off blows and the handle can be used as a hook to catch the opponent’s weapons.
In offense, one can swing the shaft to strike the target. Large amounts of momentum can be imparted to the shaft by twirling the tonfa by the handle. The tonfa can also be wielded in such a way as to use the knob as a striking implement, held either by the handle or by the shaft. One can also stab opponents with the shaft of the tonfa. By holding the shaft and the handle of the tonfa together, one can use it for holding or breaking techniques.
Tonfa are traditionally wielded in pairs, one in each hand. This is unlike police nightsticks, which are generally used alone. As the tonfa can be held in many different ways, education in the use of the tonfa often involves learning how to switch between different grips at high speed. Such techniques require great manual dexterity.

Tonfa Sparring
Sparring with the tonfa can be done against a multitude of different weapons. These can include swords, staffs, spears, knives and really any weapon you can think of. I would not recommend practising against steel or edged weapons though just for the safety purpose of training as a beginner, but yes, oncce student's learn how to handle properly, they will practie with other weapons make with steel or edged weapons. Sparring against these will lessen the life of your tonfa and also increase the likelihood of any accidental injury being much worse than it could have been. Experienced Martial Artists should be able to easily adapt their own style’s blocks and forms to match the ability of the Tonfa. You will be amazed at how your Martial training will benefit from this form of sparring.

Weapons training will improve your reaction skills and bring balance to your techniques. Mistakes in weapons can be dangerous and therefore safety is very important. Like Kung Fu, “getting out of the way” is always the first order of business. Sparring in weapons, always has a designated attacker and defender. There is always a natural tendency to have a “good side” in Kung Fu. To improve the weak side, you may have heard the phrase “twice on the left and once on the right”.

The Tonfa curriculum includes the following disciplines:
1. Warm ups
2. Basics
3. Forms (8)
4. Combat Forms (3)
5. Self Defense (3 sets)
6. Drills
7. Rolls and Falls with Tonfa

Level 1
1. Introduction – choosing a weapon, grips, principles
2. Swing Maneuvers – how to properly handle the tonfa in motion
3. Basic Strikes – punch, cross strikes, and more
4. Basic Blocks – learn important blocks along with practical application
5. Simple to Follow – every technique is taught precisely by Shifu Zhao Hui

Level 2
1. Beginner Tonfa Form
2. Sections – broken down into four different sequences
3. Simple – every sequence is taught thoroughly, with multiple angles, and speeds
4. Follow Along – a revolutionary form walkthrough, so you can practice along with the instructor

Level 2
1. New Extreme Techniques – finger rolls, flips, tricks
2. Advanced Combos – impressive combos for real life situations
3. Advanced Tonfa Form – dynamic form for competition
4. Comprehensive – every sequence is taught thoroughly, with multiple angles, and speeds
5. Follow Along – a revolutionary form walkthrough, so you can practice along with the instructor


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