History:  The Yamanni-ryu Tonfa (or Handle), is said to originally have been a wooden handle fitted into a hole on the side of a millstone (used for grinding grain).  The tonfa is believe to have originated as a handle on a grinding wheel.  The handle was wedged into a hole in the side of the millstone grinder.  Today, an adaptation of the tonfa made out of hardened plastic instead of wood, called the PR-24, is used by many police departments.  Generally only one of these is used at a time.

Description:  Yamanni-ryu Tonfas are made of a hardwood shaft, 15 to 20 inches long (extending just past the elbow when held against it) and about 2 inches thick, with a 4 to 5 inch handle protruding at 90 degrees at about ¼ of the length near one end.  The shaft may be either rounded with a tapered smaller end at the tip or rectangular.  There is a variation that uses pointed ends but this is very rare.  Another variety of the Tonfa is the nightstick, carried by countless police officers.

1 ZENTO – Front Head
2 NIGIRI – Handle / Grip
3 EGASHIRA – Handle Head
5 JOMEN – Top
6 SOKUMEN – Side
7 KOTO – Rear Head
8 MONOUCHI – Main Body

Technique:  The Yamanni-ryu tonfa has several offensive and defensive possibilities.  Offensively, by twisting and pivoting at the handle, you can swing the tonfa in a arcing motion to strike with the long end.  Swinging the tonfa in this manner requires a snap of the wrist.  This wrist snap is similar to the snap employed at the last second in a karate punch.  Either end can be used in a punching, clubbing, or chopping motion.  Defensively, the long end of the tonfa can be used to guard the forearm (and the rest of the body) as an augmented block.  The use of the tonfa demands strong wrists and good hand control.  Although generally used in pairs it is also an effective weapon when used singularly.  Good evidence of this is seen with the adaptation of the tonfa in a great number of police departments and correctional facilities around the world.  When used by an advanced practitioner, movement with the Tonfa is graceful and flowing, yet dynamic and powerful.  Again like the Sai there are three grips, Honte-Mochi (Natural), Gyakute-Mochi (Reverse) and Tokushu-Mochi (Special grip).   The latter is not commonly used but is very effective and relates strongly to the techniques of Kama.

Yamanni-ryu Tonfa Kata

1) Kihon no Tonfa Ichi
2) Kihon no Tonfa Ni