Tonfajutsu (ト ゥ ン フ ァ ー 術) was originally a wooden handle that fit into the hole of a Mühlsteines which the Okinawans were using to grind their grain. The origin and development of the tonfa weapon, however, is Chinese. On Okinawa, the tonfa is mostly used as a weapon in pairs. It ensures effective protection against attackers and simultaneously extended the arm of the defender for bridging longer distances in the counterattack. Because of its effectiveness it is used today in the police and in the army many more. Traditionally tonfajutsu is built on the classical kata. Although the tonfa is most commonly associated with the Okinawan martial arts, its origin is heavily debated. One of the most commonly cited origins is China, although origins from Indonesia to Thailand are also possible. Okinawan tradition derives the tonfa from a millstone handle. The Chinese and Malay words for the weapon (guai and topang respectively) literally mean crutch, which may suggest the weapon originating from the crutch. In Cambodia and Thailand a similar weapon is used consisting of a pair of short clubs tied onto the forearms, known in Thai as mae sawk and in Khmer as bokgatau. In Thailand and Malaysia the mae sawk often has a similar design to the tonfa, with a perpendicular handle rather than being tied on. This weapon might be the original version of the tonfa.


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