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.
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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-Renshi Mike Scaramozzino