Tonfa were originally used in the grinding or milling of rice, beans or other grains. The people of Okinawa developed the use of these handled sticks into a weapon. Similar implements are used by some police forces today.

Tonfa are usually used in pairs. Held by the short handle with the longer part against the forearm, they are able to block almost any strike effectively. From this position the end can be used for a reinforced punch, or the weapon can be rotated in the hand for longer reaching strikes.

The first tonfa kata practiced at Kazoku can be performed with 3 people, one as defender, and 2 taking the parts of the attackers. The kata can also be practiced open handed, without the tonfa. Both of these practice methods lead to a further understanding of the movements learnt.

Students also go on to learn various applications using these weapons.