The above video shows a practice session of a kobudo drill using the Tonfa/Tuifa (side handle wooden baton). Tonfa Uke (blocks) is the first of three basic Tonfa drills that I created for the kobudo program I run at The Academy of Traditional Karate. In addition to Tonfa Uke (blocks) I also created Tonfa Uchi (strikes) and Tonfa Combinations drills. I created these three basic drills in order to let the students become familiar with handling the Tonfa before learning the more complicated Tonfa kata. This drill is patterned after the Sai Uke (Blocks) drill and uses moves from two Tonfa Kata that I practice, Onami and Tonfa no Ichi. The Tonfa Uke drill is composed of three sets of blocks; three low, four middle and three high. The stances alternate between Zenkutsu-dachi (front leaning stance) and Neko-ashi-dachi (cat stance), unless otherwise noted. The Tonfa blocks are first performed all on the left side and then repeated all on the right side.[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 Uke Freeze-Frame Step-by-Step Breakdown
Tonfa Uke is a kobudo Tonfa Kihon drill which focuses on three simple sets of basic Tonfa blocks, including 3 low, 4 middle and 3 high blocks.
They are all done on the left side first and then they are all repeated on the right side. Only the left side is shown in the below freeze frames, but both are shown in the practice video above.
Start each with L step forward into a L zenkutsu-dachi, pull back to L neko-ashi-dachi for the next block. Keep cycling between those two stances, unless otherwise noted. Do all on the left side first and then repeat all on the right side.
Return to the yoi position between each of the three sets: low, middle, and high.
3 Tonfa Low Blocks
4 Tonfa Middle Blocks
(NOTE: Keep the R hand in chamber position. In the freeze-frame photo, I had already started moving the R hand up toward the cross of the next move a little too early to get a clean freeze-frame.)
(Note: Keep the flipping Tonfa horizontal. In the freeze-frame photo 7B the Tonfa tipped up a bit off the horizontal plane.)
3 Tonfa High Blocks
Tonfa Uke (Blocks) PDF Reference Sheet
The following PDF reference sheet is a distillation of all the moves in the drill to use as reference while learning and practicing the Tonfa drill. 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 drill if it hasn’t been practiced in a while. I had created this reference sheet when I was first learning the drill myself. I hope it helps you as much as it helped me.
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-Renshi Mike Scaramozzino