How to Learn Tonfa Kihon (Basics) Drill, Tonfa Uchi (Strikes), 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/Tuifa Kihon (Basics) drill video, Tonfa Uchi (Strikes). This breakdown uses a series of freeze-frames from the practice video to show each of the specific moves in the Tonfa drill 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, this step-by-step breakdown should greatly help you learn and practice this Tonfa Kihon (Basics) drill as a supplement to your local instruction.

Stay tuned for our future posts on the Tonfa Combinations drill which has already been videoed.

[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 Uchi Freeze-Frame Step-by-Step Breakdown

Tonfa Uchi is a kobudo Tonfa Kihon drill which is composed of three sets of strikes; low, middle and high. The stances used are Zenkutsu-dachi (front leaning stance), Shiko-dachi (or Jigotai-dachi, wide open-leg stance) and Neko-ashi-dachi (cat stance).

The Tonfa strikes are performed in sets of four, alternating between left first, then right. Only the left side is shown in the below freeze frames, but both left and right are shown in the practice video. Return to the yoi position between each set of four strikes.

Opening Sequence

Kiotsuke (Attention)
A) Kiotsuke (attention): Stand at attention in Musubi-dachi with both Tonfa in L hand.
Rei (Bow)
B) Rei (bow).
Yoi (ready position)
C) Yoi (ready position): Bring Tonfa in front of you. Take one closed in each hand. Bring hands down to the sides and step out L to soto-hachiji-dachi (like Pinan kata).

3 Tonfa Low Strikes

1A) Flip Tonfa from inside to outside low to knee.
1B) Let Tonfa continue all the way around to the outside.
2A) Flip Tonfa from outside to inside low to knee.
2B) Let Tonfa continue all the way around to the inside.
3) Flip both Tonfa from outside to open. Drop into angled shiko-dachi. Double strike down to attacker on ground. Close both back to outside.

4 Tonfa Middle Strikes

4) Oi-zuki with closed Tonfa to solar plexus.
5) Gyaku-zuki with closed Tonfa to solar plexus.
6) Double closed Tonfa mid/low zuki, one to solar plexus, one to ribs (like FKII).
7A) Flipping x-strike (making a figure 8) to each collar bone in neko-ashi-dachi. First outside diagonally down to inside.
7B) Followed by inside diagonally down to outside.

4 Tonfa High Strikes

8) Open Tonfa jodan-zuki striking upward under chin. Open Tonfa from inside and close on outside.
9) Closed Tonfa jodan-gyaku-zuki striking upward to nose.
10) Double closed Tonfa jodan-zuki striking upward under both sides of jaw.
11A) Flip Tonfa down to top of head while dropping into neko-ashi-dachi.
11B) Then flip Tonfa back up under chin.

Closing Sequence

A) Kiotsuke (attention): L step in to Musubi-dachi while taking both Tonfa in L hand.
B) Rei (bow).

Tonfa Uchi (Strikes) 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.

Download Tonfa Uchi (Strikes) Drill PDF Reference Sheet

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Arigato Gozaimasu (Thank You Very Much!)
-Renshi Mike Scaramozzino

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

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