Arizona Martial Arts Blog
|Posted on June 4, 2012 at 11:00 AM|
Mesa, AZ, June 4, 2012: Martial artists from Mesa, Gilbert, Chandler, Scottsdale, Phoenix & Tempe completed a year of training with Okinawa tonfa at the Arizona School of Traditional Karate in Mesa. The Okinawa tonfa is thought to have originated as a farming implement likely from the wooden frame or handle of a millstone. It has been referred to as the ‘millstone handle’ for decades. The Arizona students trained in the tonfa every Thursday evening for a year before they were able to certify.
Many law enforcement agencies use (or have used) a baton modeled after the tonfa, but law enforcement only trains with one baton unlike martial artists & officers only receive cursory training, unlike Shorin-Ryu martial artists who train with it constantly. It is known as the side-handle baton in law enforcement, or PR-24.
After a year of training, a group of martial artists from the Phoenix valley were certified in Okinawa Tonfa by Grandmaster Soke Hausel, 10th dan. But as Soke Hausel stated, "This is only the beginning of your training in tonfa & kobudo in general. We have gone through the process of certifying in Okinawa tonfa; and after a year, this means we are now capable of learning more and we should all plan to continue training & learning about the tonfa for the rest of our lives". In the past few years, some students at the school have also in tonfa (柺), kuwa, and katana (刀).
To demonstrate their expertise, members had to perform basic blocks and strikes known as kihon (基本). They further had to test in three kata (型) (forms) and demonstrate understanding of the forms in a group of self-defense applications known as bunkai (分解). Such forms were created by Okinawan body guards & peasants centuries ago as living encyclopedias of self-defense applications.
Finally, the group tested using tonfa in kumite (組手) (sparring) against other martial artists armed with Okinawa bo (棒) or kon (6-foot long staff or pole). During kumite, students (内弟子) (deshi) do not wear protective equipment other than safety glasses. The group showed expertise in the weapon and five were certified. Those receiving certifications in Okinawa Tonfa included Adam Bialek, Patrick Scofield, Sarah Kamenicky, William Borea and Ryan Harden. We congratulate them for a job well done!
Members of the Kobudo Class will continue training with tonfa. In the upcoming months, they will focus on one tonfa (as well as two tonfa) and use the weapon against attackers with clubs, knives and learn a variety of restraints and jujutsu throws with the weapon. In addition, the group started to focus on the Okinawa sai (釵). They will also learn the Okinawa Eku and Japanese naginata (薙刀) in the near future and continue training in the hanbo (半棒), katana and naginata on Wednesday evenings.
Classes at the Arizona School of Traditional Karate are set up so that students learn Shorin-Ryu Karate on Tuesday evenings, Samurai arts and self-defense on Wednesday evenings, and Kobudo arts on Thursday evenings.