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Tonfa: From Kobudo Weapon to Modern Police Tool
Part 2: From rice mill to Officer Bill
 More of this Feature
• Part 1: Kobudo Weaponry
• Part 2: Police Adopt the PR-24
• Part 3: Tonfa Techniques

In 1971, Lon Anderson adapted the tonfa to police work. Anderson sought to improve on the police impact weapons of that era; the billy club, night stick, and riot baton--all still fundamentally bludgeons. Monadnock Corporation of New Hampshire released the first Prosecutor PR-24 baton in 1974.
click for larger image The new side-handle baton soon gained popularity across the United States. These days, it's not unusual to see a patrolman walking a beat with a tonfa slung on his hip, but when the weapon was first introduced it was moderately controversial. Those were the days when the martial arts were still new to most people; when Bruce Lee ruled the cinema and news of warring schools, like the dojo of the notorious Count Dante, was front-page news. Equipping police officers with "funny karate sticks", equated in the public's mind with the popular nunchaku, was alarming.
Original 1974 patent for Monadnock's PR-24 Prosecutor baton (click for larger image).  
The same public outcry occurred recently in Britain, when police officers there began adopting the side-handle baton. As before, the new weapon was foreign and untested. As martial arts become more mainstream though, adoption of traditional weapons for modern uses will become easier.

Side-handle baton techniques are largely similar to those used with traditional tonfa, except that since only one tonfa is used, the other hand is used as a guard or to reinforce blocks and strikes.

Next page > Simple grips and techniques > Page 1, 2, 3

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