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Tonfa or ASP?

Two key self defense tools you'll see around Neighborhood Watches in South Africa are the good old Tonfa and the more modern ASP baton.


The Tonfa is a hardened solid shaft with a grip 2/3 of the way down at a right angle. An oriental weapon hailing from Okinawa around the 16th century it is a formidable weapon for suspect control and self defense in the trained hand. Often mistaken for a striking implement, the Tonfa is more suited to restraints and joint immobilization. That being said, it is a rather cumbersome tool to carry at times. Despite most police officers being trained in its use and issued with one, few actually use it these days.

The American ASP expandable baton has found legions of supporters worldwide. A flick of the wrist and it menacingly expands to full size. Again, in the hands of a trained person it is highly effective for suspect control and joint immobilization while also having a definite psychological advantage. The menacing sound of steel tubes locking into place generally tends to make an assailant carefully weigh up their options. ASP batons are widely used in South Africa by our Metro Police and of course Neighborhood Watch members wanting a more discrete and of course concealable tool. 


Tonfa's are available at most security shops for around R100 while a good quality expanding baton can range from R500 - R1200 depending on quality.