Tonfa no Ichi Step-by-Step Breakdown

How to Learn Tonfa no Ichi with Step by Step Breakdown

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In this post we’ll go through the step-by-step breakdown of the previous Tonfa kata video, Tonfa no Ichi. This breakdown uses a series of freeze-frames from the practice video to show each of the specific moves in the Tonfa/Tuifa kata (form) along with descriptions and tips. It also includes a step-by-step PDF reference sheet that you may download and print. Along with the previous practice video, and the presentation video, this step-by-step breakdown should greatly help you learn and practice this Tonfa/Tuifa kata as a supplement to your local instruction.

[Note: The photos below are freeze frames from the live action practice video, so they are not as perfect as if they were specifically posed photos for each move.] 


Tonfa no Ichi Freeze-Frame Step-by-Step Breakdown

Tonfa no Ichi is a Matsubayashi-ryu kobudo Tonfa kata which focuses on repeating sets of flipping strikes and blocks with the Tonfa. This repetition helps drill the proper handling and manipulation of the Tonfa which takes more practice than the Bo.

Opening Sequence

1A) Yoi: Musubi-dachi (North). Both tonfa in L hand chamber.
1B) Rei (bow).
2) Yoi: L step L to hachiji-dachi (N). Tonfa closed by front/side like Pinan kata. Announce: Tonfa no Ichi
3) L step back into R-neko-ashi-dachi. R jodan-uke. L chamber.

Side to Side Sequences (West to East)

4) L step/turn L (W) into L-zenkutsu-dachi. L gedan-barai. R chamber.
5A) R step forward (W) into R-neko-ashi-dachi. R closed oi-zuki.
5B) L closed gyaku-zuki.
5C) R closed oi-zuki.
6) R step back (E) turning R 180° into R-zenkutsu-dachi (E). R gedan-barai, L chamber.
7A) L step forward (E) into L-neko-ashi-dachi. L closed oi-zuki.
7B) R closed gyaku-zuki.
7C) R closed oi-zuki.

Forward Shiko-dachi Sequence (North)

8) L step L turning L into L-neko-ashi-dachi (N). L jodan-uke. R chamber.
9) R step forward into shiko-dachi facing (W) looking (N). R closed side tzuki (N). L chamber. KIAI
10) L step back turning L 180° into shiko-dachi facing (E) looking (N). L gedan-barai (N). R chamber.

Flip Side-Side / Down-Up Sequence (East)

11A) R step forward (E) into R neko-ashi-dachi (E). R flip open outside to inside.
11B) R flip back inside to outside.
11C) Flip down.
11D) Flip back up.
11E) L closed gyaku-zuki.
[Note: Target solar plexus with tonfa level. This strike was too high in the freeze-frame]
11F) R closed oi-zuki.

Flip Side-Side / Down-Up Sequence (West)

12) R step back (W) turning 180° R into R zenkutsu-dachi (W). R gedan-barai. L chamber.
131A) L step forward (W) into L neko-ashi-dachi (E). L flip open outside to inside.
13B) L flip back inside to outside.
13C) Flip down.
13D) Flip back up.
13E) R closed gyaku-zuki.
[Note: Target solar plexus with tonfa level. This strike was a little too high in the freeze-frame]
13F) L closed oi-zuki.

Punch-Down-Up Sequence (South)

14) L step L (S) into L zenkutsu-dachi (S). L gedan-barai. R chamber.
15A) R step forward (S) to R neko-ashi-dachi (S). R oi-zuki.
15B) R flip down.
15C) Flip up.
16A) L step forward (S) to L neko-ashi-dachi (S). L oi-zuki.
16B) L flip down.
16C) Flip up.
17A) R step forward (S) to R neko-ashi-dachi (S). R oi-zuki.
17B) R flip down.
17C) Flip up.

Cross X Strike Sequence (NW)

18) R step across L (E) turn 225° into L neko-ashi-dachi (NW). L gedan-barai, R high back uke.
19A) R step forward (NW) into R neko-ashi-dachi. R flip across X down/left.
19B) Flip down/right.
19C) Flip down.
19D) Flip back up on the R side.
19E) L closed gyaku-zuki (NW).
19F) R closed oi-zuki (NW).

Cross X Strike Sequence (NE)

20) R step R into R neko-ashi-dachi (NE). R gedan-barai. L high back uke.
21A) L step forward (NE) into L neko-ashi-dachi. L flip across X down/right.
21B) Flip down/left.
21C) Flip down.
21D) Flip back up on the L side.
21E) R closed gyaku-zuki (NE).
21F) L closed oi-zuki (NE).

Forward Sequence (N)

22) L step L into L neko-ashi-dachi (N). L jodan-uke. R chamber.
23) R step forward into R zenkutsu-dachi (N). R oi-zuki (N). L chamber. KIAI
24) L/R shuffle back into R neko-ashi-dachi (N). Double jodan-uke.
25) R step back into heisoku-dachi (N). Double chamber.
26) Step forward L/R into R zenkutsu-dachi (N). Double jodan-zuki. KIAI

Double Cross Sequence (N)

27A) R step back into L zenkutsu-dachi (N) dropping both out to the back/sides.
27B) Swing both open across the front middle crossing L arm over R.
27C) Swing back out/down to the sides open.
28) Raise both forward open and hit bottoms together high.

Back and Forward X Sequence (N)

29) R step forward (N) L step back (S) into shiko-dachi facing (W) looking (N). R gedan-barai (N).
30) R step back (S) turning 180° R into shiko-dachi facing (E) looking (N). L gedan-barai (N).
31A) R step forward shizentai-dachi (N). R flip X down/left.
31B) Flip down/right.
31C) Flip down.
31D) Flip up.
32A) L step forward shizentai-dachi (N). L flip X down/right.
32B) Flip down/left.
32C) Flip down.
32D) Flip up.
33A) R step forward shizentai-dachi (N). R flip X down/left.
33B) Flip down/right.
33C) Flip down.
33D) Flip up.

Back and Closing Sequence (N)

34) R step back/right (SE) into L neko-ashi-dachi (NW). L gedan-barai. R chamber.
35) L step back/left (SW) into R neko-ashi-dachi (NE). R gedan-barai. L chamber.
36) L step forward (N) into hachiji-dachi (N). Both down to front/sides as in Pinan.
[NOTE: I missed this position in the practice video, but included it in the presentation video.]
37A) L step to R into musubi-dachi (N). Bring R across to L and both in L chamber.
37B) Rei (bow).

Tonfa no Ichi PDF Reference Sheet

The following PDF reference sheet is a distillation of all the moves in the kata to use as reference while learning and practicing the Tonfa/Tuifa kata. It is useful to help you remember what all the moves are until they are committed to muscle memory or for review to remember them after returning to the kata if it hasn’t been practiced in a while. I had created this reference sheet when I was first learning the kata myself. I hope it helps you as much as it helped me.

Download Tonfa no Ichi Kata PDF Reference Sheet

Tonfa-no-Ichi-11-14-21


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Shoshin Nagamine's book The Essence of Okinawan Karate-do Matsubayashi Ryu

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