The above video shows an outdoor practice session of a Matsubayashi kobudo kata named Tonfa no Ichi (or Tuifa no Ichi). Tonfa no Ichi kata simply means first tonfa form, though it is actually the second tonfa form that I learned. I videoed this practice session in my backyard on 10/24/21.
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.
Periodically video taping practice sessions like this is a great way to review and analyze your performance. On video you can see what you are doing well and where you can continue to improve. Practicing Karate/Kobudo is always a constant process of learning, evaluating and improving.
Tonfa no Ichi Freeze-Frame Step-by-Step Breakdown
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 above practice video, and the below 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 frame stills from the above live action practice video, so they are not as perfect as if they were specifically posed photos for each move.]
Side to Side Sequences (West to East)
Forward Shiko-dachi Sequence (North)
Flip Side-Side / Down-Up Sequence (East)
Flip Side-Side / Down-Up Sequence (West)
Punch-Down-Up Sequence (South)
Cross X Strike Sequence (NW)
Cross X Strike Sequence (NE)
Forward Sequence (N)
Double Cross Sequence (N)
Back and Forward X Sequence (N)
Back and Closing Sequence (N)
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.Tonfa-no-Ichi-11-14-21
Tonfa no Ichi Kata Kobudo First Tonfa Form Promotional Performance Video
The above video shows my performance of a Matsubayashi kobudo kata named Tonfa no Ichi (or Tuifa no Ichi) that I performed at my recent Nidan kobudo promotional. Tonfa no Ichi kata simply means first tonfa form, though it is actually the second tonfa form that I learned. This video was shot at the dojo where we train and teach, The Academy of Traditional Karate, in Wilmington, MA on 7/31/21.
We practice a different tonfa kata named Onami (Great Wave) in our kobudo program. Onami is composed of mostly blunt strikes with the tonfa in a closed or open position using the ends of the weapon. (I’ve also videoed a practice session of Onami and will include it in a future post.)
Our dojo primarily focuses on empty hand karate and includes the kobudo weapons program to supplement that empty hand karate. As such, the kobudo program generally only goes up to the Shodan level. I’ve been training and teaching kobudo as a Shodan since 2012 and taught myself this new kata as an extra research project to expand my experience with the Tonfa. Tonfa no Ichi focuses more on flipping strikes with the tonfa at various angles. I thought it would be a good kata to compliment the more static techniques we practice in Onami. I look forward to continuing to refine this new kata along with the rest of our kobudo material.
Additional Versions of Tonfa no Ichi (Tuifa no Ichi)
I learned the kata from an excellent instructional video that Sensei Lara Chamberlain had posted in her great YouTube channel. In the video she first went through all the moves slowly and then again at full speed. Unfortunately she appears to have removed that original Matsubayashi Tuifa no Ichi video from her channel, so I’ve reposted the small full speed portion of that video below just for comparison reference.
Sensei Lara posted a new, substantially similar, video named Shinjo no Tuifa, embedded below. Shinjo no Tuifa looks to be mostly the same, though there appears to be some minor changes to how the kata is performed under her new Tiida-ryū (Tenyō-ryū) style. Some of the previous cat stances now appear to be done with the front heel down and the weight more forward. Near the end there are also two forward steps with cross strikes, where there were three in the previous version that I learned from above. The rest of it is pretty much the same.
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