The natural rounded hardwood tonfa is an Okinawan weapon, best known for its role in the armed component of Okinawan martial arts. It consists of a stick with a perpendicular handle attached a third of the way down the length of the stick, and comes in various sizes from 18 inches to 24 inches in length. It was traditionally made from red oak and wielded in pairs. The tonfa is believed to have originated in either China or Southeast Asia; one theory is that it was derived from the handles used to turn milling stones.
The natural grip places the handle in the hand with the long arm resting along the bottom of the forearm. This grip provides protection or brace along one’s forearms, and also provides reinforcement for backfist, elbow strikes, and punches. In use, the tonfa can swing out to the gyakute grip for a strike or thrust.