Tensoku Ryu Tonfa Kata

The Tonfa Opening Salutation

We have a standard opening salutation sequence for the Tonfa weapon that is performed as follows:

  1. Adopt Heiko Dachi as you grasp both weapons in your right hand and extend both arms nearly fully at your sides. With your arms at your sides the Tsuka for both weapons should point T1. How you physically grasp the weapon to accomplish this may vary greatly from one weapon to another.
  2. Adopt Musubi Dachi F1 and perform Ritsu Rei. Upon returning to an erect posture pause for a few seconds.
  3. Raise your right arm to present both weapons along your center at Chudan level. Raise your left hand and grasp the Tsuka of the left weapon. Reposition your right hand so it grips the right weapon by the Tsuka. Do this in a manner that allows the weapons to move a minimal amount. The thumb on each hand should be near the Tsuka Gashira of each weapon.
  4. Nearly fully extend both arms as you lower the weapons to your sides. Pause a few seconds.
  5. Abruptly raise both weapons and press the Sokumen faces together in front of you at Jodan level. This will likely make some noise, but making a loud noise is not a goal. Making an extremely loud noise demonstrates a lack of control and is discouraged.
  6. Turn both palms inward to form a Chudan Juji Uke F1. The Soko of the right weapon will rest on top of the left weapon just forward of the left weapon Tsuka. The Shomen of both weapons should rest against their respective forearms. The Zen Atama of both weapons should be slightly below eye level.
  7. Move both hands directly outward until they are in line with their respective shoulders as you perform Musubi Dachi Heiko F1. Now, at a reasonably slow pace, lower both weapons until your arms are nearly fully extended at your sides.

Tensoku Ryu Tonfa Kata Overview

The Tensoku Ryu Tonfa Kata was created by Richard Munson Sensei in 2015. The Kata was created to help students understand practical weapon usage in a conflict situation. A key element in the Kata is the ability to change grips cleanly, quickly, and efficiently so that the weapon can be utilized for a variety of different purposes. It is essential that students learn to perform these grip transitions in a way that minimizes both the time needed to perform them and the risk of losing control of the weapon.

You will likely drop the weapon many times as you become familiar with the Kata. Practice the Kata in a location where you will not damage the weapon if it falls or where the weapon may impact or bounce into an object that can be easily damaged. Accidentally breaking a mirror while in your bare feet can leave you with a significant predicament. As you become comfortable with the Kata you should seldom drop or lose control of the weapon.

This Kata requires the use of two Tonfa weapons. As you perform the Kata try to remain aware of what both weapons are doing. It is easy to focus only on the weapon that is currently in motion. The other weapon is of equal importance for it affords you protection in the form of a guard or is positioned to allow a follow-on movement at the conclusion of the current movement. It can be difficult to mentally keep track of two swirling and flailing weapons moving concurrently, but that is exactly your task.

Tonfa Nomenclature

The following diagram will help you with the weapon nomenclature used in the Kata procedure defined below.

Tensoku Ryu Tonfa Kata Procedure

This procedure relies on octagon angle abbreviations. If you are unfamiliar with these abbreviations you may wish to review information about the Octagon found at bottom of this page.

StepMovementLeft SideRight Side
IchiPerform the standard Tonfa opening salutation.
NiStep L3 to establish Hidari Sochin Dachi F5.Hidari Age Uke T5Migi Gedan Barai T5
SanStep R1 to establish Migi Zenkutsu Dachi F5. Hidari Jodan Tettsui Uchi T5Migi Chudan TsukiT5
YonStep L6 to establish Migi Sochin Dachi F5.Deliver a Migi Mikazuki Uchi T5. Allow the weapon to come to rest against your ribs under your left arm then immediately deliver Migi Ura Mikazuki Uchi T5. Allow the weapon to return to a normal guard position.
GoStep R4 to establish Hidari Sochin Dachi F5.Deliver a Hidari Mikazuki Uchi T5. Allow the weapon to come to rest against your ribs under your right arm then immediately deliver Hidari Ura Mikazuki Uchi T5. Allow the weapon to return to a normal guard position.
RokuWithout stepping, shift your position to establish Kiba Dachi F1 and concurrently deliver: Hidari Otoshi Mikazuki Uchi T1 and immediately change direction to deliver Hidari Age Mikazuki Uchi T1Migi Otoshi Mikazuki Uchi T1 and immediately change direction to deliver Migi Age Mikazuki Uchi T1
NanaStep L8 to form Migi Sochin Dachi F1 and strike with concurrent and . The right hand should be above the left hand during these strikes.Hidari Mikazuki Uchi T1 then immediately strike with Hidari Mikazuki Uchi T1Migi Mikazuki Uchi T1 then immediately strike with Migi Ura Mikazuki Uchi T1
HachiStep R6 to form Hidari Sochin Dachi F1 and concurrently strike with:Hidari Mikazuki Uchi T1 and immediately strike with Hidari Ura Mikazuki Uchi T1Migi Mikazuki Uchi T1 and immediately strike with Migi Ura Mikazuki Uchi T1
KuLook to A4. Step L4 and concurrently deliver the identified strikes as you settle into Hidari Sochin Dachi F6. The Migi Age Uke will begin in the general direction of A4 and then moves with your center rotation until it reaches A6.Hidari Chudan Tsuki T6Migi Age Uke T6
JuLook to A2 and raise the right leg to form Hidari Ippon Dachi F4 then perform the following sequence of movements.
Ju Ichi Perform Migi Otoshi Mikazuki Uchi T2 and allow the weapon to continue its rotation until you can deliver Migi Mikazuki Uchi T2. Continue rotation of the weapon until it returns to a guard position resting against your forearm.
Ju NiStep R8 into Sochin Dachi F2 Hidari Ridge Hand strike with the end of the Tsuka Gashira T2 as you settle into the stance.
Ju SanStep L6 into Hidari Sochin Dachi F2 and deliver the following strikes such that the Soko of both weapons meet at the Jodan level T2. Both weapons should be angled vertically at roughly 45°. Now briskly return both hands to guard position.Jodan Hidari Tettsui UchiJodan Migi Tettsui Uchi
Ju YonLook to A3 and then step L3 into a temporary Migi Juji Dachi F2 as you use the right and then the left weapon to perform a slightly downward check T2.
Ju GoStep R3 to form Migi Sochin Dachi F8.Move the right weapon in a circular path and strike with Migi Jodan Tettsui Uchi T8
Ju RokuContinue moving the right weapon in a circular manner but generally toward A3. The weapon will begin moving downward as you shift your stance into a relatively low Kiba Dachi F2.
Ju NanaConcurrently perform the left and right hand strikes such that the Zen Atama of both weapons end up pointing T2. Maintain a strong Kiba Dachi for these strikes.Jodan Hidari Haito Uchi (strike with the Tsuka Gashira)Migi Gedan Tettsui Uchi (striking with the Soko)
Ju HachiShift your stance into Migi Sochin Dachi F8 as you return both weapons to guard position and then raise your left leg forward T5, keeping the leg relatively straight as it rises. Circle this leg left T3 and then deliver a Hidari Kakato Geri T3.Return to guard position.Return to guard position.
Ju KuStep L7R6 to establish Migi Sochin Dachi F4 at the completion of the kick.
Ni JuPerform the left then the right weapon movements. Now retract both weapons only slightly and strike downward with Morote Seoi Uchi as you concurrently step forward L7 to establish Hidari Sochin Dachi F4. Spin the right weapon so it strikes downward at the Chudan level T4.Hidari Age Uke and then press this same weapon forward slightly at the Jodan level. Strike with Migi Jodan Tsuki while maintaining the left weapon in its upward location.
Ni Ju IchiPerform the right weapon movements then strike with Hidari Hiza Geri T4. Do not return the leg but instead rotate slightly clockwise and strike with Hidari Yoko Geri T4. Return the kicking leg by stepping forward T2 forming Hidari Sochin Dachi F8.Invert the weapon and then grasp the Monouchi such that the Zen Atama is pointed upward. Strike directly down with the Ushiro Atama using a Migi Shita Tettsui Uchi in the direction of angle 4.
Ni Ju NiPerform the right then left weapon strikes . At the completion of these movements you should be holding both weapons by the Monouchi.Hidari Tate Mikazuki Uchi T8 followed immediately by Hidari Tate Ura Mikazuki Uchi T8. Shift the orientation of the weapon and strike with Hidari Gedan Mikazuki Uchi T8 followed immediately by Hidari Gedan Ura Mikazuki Uchi T8 until the weapon comes to rest along your left forearm. Momentarily release your grip on the left weapon and grab the weapon by the Monouchi. Strike with Migi Gedan Tsuki T8
Ni Ju SanStep R5 to form Migi Sochin Dachi F3. Then alternately block and strike starting with the right hand. Shift into a shallow Soft Bow stance as you deliver the final (left hand) strike.Hidari Gedan Barai T3 then strike with right hand. At the completion of the right hand strike, deliver Hidari Chudan Uchi T3.Migi Ura Chudan Uke T3 then block with left hand.
After the left block, strike with Migi Jodan Uchi T3
Ni Ju YonLook to A4 then step back L7 into Hidari Kokutsu Dachi F4 and deliver Morote Jodan Juji Uke T4. Without moving either weapon, shift your stance into Kiba Dachi F6. Now, keeping the right weapon in its current location deliver the left hand strike.Hidari Chudan Uchi T6, striking with the Soko part of the weapon.
Ni Ju GoRotate the left and right weapons so that both Tsuka Gashira face inward toward one another. Using the Nigiri of the left weapon, hook and pull down and inward as the Tsuka Gashira of the right weapon circles down slightly and then upward in the direction of the Tsuka Gashira of the left weapon, striking with the Tsuka Gashira T6. Retract both weapons slightly outward and then return them to an effective guard position.
Ni Ju RokuRotate CCW to form a Hidari Zenkutsu Dachi F4 and strike with a the right weapon followed immediately by a Migi Mawashi Geri T6. Rotate CW to return the right leg to A1 to form Hidari Sochin Dachi F8 as the weapons move to an effective guard position.Migi Chudan Tsuka Gashira Uchi T6
Ni Ju NanaBeginning with the right hand, and then followed soon after with the left hand, drop the Tsuka of the weapon down until you can grasp the weapon with the standard hand grip.
Ni Ju HachiStep L2R6 into a temporary Heiko Dachi F8 as you deliver a the right -left blocking combination. Now allow the Ushiro Atama of the left weapon to drop so the left weapon is held down in a vertical orientation with the Tsuka Gashira in toward your body as you deliver the two right hand strikes . Both strikes are focused T8.Hidari Gedan UkeMigi Ura Chudan Uke.
Migi Jodan Mikazuki Uchi followed immediately by Migi Jodan Ura Mikazuki Uchi
Ni Ju KuShuffle R5L5 into Heiko Dachi F2 as you raise the left weapon upward and then outward to deliver the block . The Tsuka Gashira must remain pointed in the direction of your body throughout this movement.Hidari Ura Chudan Uke T2
San JuIssue the right hand strike sequence. Now move the left weapon as described.Drive the left weapon down so the Soko strikes in a downward motion T2. Migi Mikazuki Uchi T2 and allow the weapon to rotate freely until the Zen Atama faces A2. Strike with the Migi Jodan Tsuki using the Zen Atama T2.
San Ju IchiDeliver Migi Mae Kekomi Geri T2 and then return the kicking leg to A1 to establish Hidari Sochin Dachi F8.
San Ju NiLower both arms and relax your grip on both weapons. Allow both weapons to drop until you can grab them by the Monouchi. Raise the weapons again to a guard position.
San Ju SanStep L2R7 into Hidari Sochin Dachi F3 as you concurrently deliver the right hand block.Block with Migi Gedan Barai T3
San Ju YonDeliver the left sequence first then the immediately perform the right sequence.Position the left weapon so the Tsuka Gashira faces upward and strike with Hidari Gedan Tsuki T3 impacting with both the Tsuka and Monouchi. Do not return the strike.Rapid wrist turn of the right arm resulting in a Migi Gedan Otoshi Uchi T3.
San Ju GoPress the left arm forward as you shuffle R8L8 and raise the right weapon upward using the Nigiri to pull directly inward toward your chest at the Jodan level. Now slide the left weapon directly in front of your hips and then in toward A8. Raise the weapon forward in the direction of A5 and then pull the Nigiri of the left weapon in until it overlaps on top of the right weapon. The two weapons will be positioned somewhat like a horizontal upper case letter “A” with the Zen Atama of both weapons pointed directly way from you.
San Ju RokuMaintain inward pressure with both weapons as you maintain an erect torso while lowering your left knee to the floor. Your right knee will remain up as you left knee comes to rest on the floor. Reposition the right weapon so that the Tsuka Gashira points downward and the Zen Atama and Tsuka Gashira both touch the floor T1.
San Ju NanaStrike with the Tsuka Gashira downward and T8.
San Ju HachiMaintain downward pressure with the right weapon as you rise slightly and then step with the left leg T5. Now raise the right weapon and step into Heiko Dachi F5 by moving the right leg forward until it is parallel to the left leg.
San Ju KuKick with Hidari Yoko Kekomi Geri T8 and return this leg by stepping to A1 into Hidari Zenkutsu Dachi. Now perform the left hand sequence.Rotate the weapon so the Tsuka Gashira faces A1 and then strike downward along your left side with Hidari Otoshi Uchi T1 so that the Zen Atama is only slightly above the floor.
Yon JuEnsure the Tsuka Gashira of both weapons faces A1 and then raise both weapons to an effective guard position. Step forward with the right leg to form Heisoku Dachi F1. Now release your grip on the weapons so the Nigiri comes to rest between your thumb and index finger. Grasp the weapons using the standard grip.
Yon Ju IchiConcurrently spin the weapons vertically at your sides so the Ushiro Atama moves toward A1 then downward until the weapons are oriented vertically. Now retrace the movement of the weapons until they are returned to an effective guard position.
Yon Ju NiConcurrently spin both the weapons horizontally to strike with Mikazuki Uchi T1 striking with the Ushiro Atama of both weapons concurrently. The right weapon should be slightly above the left weapon. Return the weapons using an Ura Mikazuki Uchi until the weapons are in an effective guard position.
Yon Ju SanSpin both weapons horizontally to strike with Mikazuki Uchi T1 striking with the Ushiro Atama of both weapons concurrently. The left weapon should be slightly above the right weapon. Return the weapons using an Ura Mikazuki Uchi until the weapons are in an effective guard position.
Yon Ju YonStep R4 to form Heiko Dachi F1. Lower the weapons to establish Yoi.
Yon Ju GoYame.

See Also

The Octagon

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