The Beginnerís Guide to using the Cane

The Cane for Self-defense

Many people do not like the walking cane for Self-defense because it does not go along with their age, attire or, they simply do not want to be associated with someone who may be disabled. They do not wish to have the stigma that is often associated with the cane.

There is a strength in that appearance. The strong appearing to be weak might be all the edge you need in a lot of physical confrontations. Thatís a "Combat Ruse." A young attacker who is strong might make the incredible mistake of thinking you are easy prey, to find out all too late that youíre not.

The Cane gives even more reach than the average telescoping baton in some cases and is legal in more areas than that weapon.

Perhaps the greatest strength of all is in the presentation. The Cane is already "drawn." You can strike immediately with it. There is an old saying in Gun Circles, "The fastest draw is to have the gun in your hand when the trouble starts." This applies to the knife as well, and the stick. The strength of the Cane is, it is a Cane! Itís not a gun or a knife, it is already out in the open and you can strike instantly with it.

Besides learning all of the angles of attack and the methods (lobtik, witik, abanico, etc.) in the Filipino Martial Arts, there are a few strikes that can be taken from Hanbojutsu. Japanese Cane [half staff, three feet long] techniques.

First Strike Combination

Iím not much on setting things in stone, I will do that now, however. I donít think you can learn this strike and only this strike and claim to know how to fight with a Cane. However, if you do not practice this particular sequence, your Defense will not be as good as it could be. It is that good.

There are only so many ways to do something right. Even something as simple as using an income tax calculator has a correct set of
steps. With the Cane Tip resting on the floor, there are only so many ways that you can effectively hit instantly from that position. Meaning, the Tip of the Cane travels upward to strike the attacker, instantly.

This is the first strike you should master as it is the most likely to provide instant and dramatic results on an attacker. Once it is learned and you can strike with speed and power, you must always practice it. Never get rusty.

Some people scoff at this strike because they simply do not understand it. The only way some people can understand "power" when it comes to a stick is with a baseball-bat type of two-handed swing. If you think this strike is not powerful from the written description of it, try it first. Get a good, stout Cane, and then take an ordinary broomstick. Have two friends hold the broomstick, one person on each end and have them hold it tightly.

When you execute this strike, if you have mastered it, the broomstick should at least be cracked. If only broomsticks could be counted as a tax deduction. Depending on how good you are, your Cane and how good the broomstick is, you might even snap the broomstick completely in half.

The three ways to develop this strike are:

1. Solo striking. Just hitting "air." This is the basis for learning the movement, once it is learned, you progress to...

2. Solo striking on a heavy bag. Raise the bag high enough so you can hit the bottom of it. If that is not possible, make a "Tire-Man" or a similar workout dummy that is substantial and will give you feedback.

3. Using a training partner with a focus mitt.

What makes this strike very effective and so important is, it comes from nowhere. It launches from a non-threatening position. The Cane is at your side and you have the Tip on the ground. What could be a less threatening position to be in? You look like you are still using it as a Cane was intended to be used.

I orient the Cane in my hand with the Horn [the point of the Crook/Hook) pointed at my toes. Some people have their hand on the Cane so that the Horn is pointing at their heel. That is less effective in my opinion.

When you hold it the way I just described, you get every bit of energy that the curvature of the Hook can impart by leverage. The top, curved portion of the Hook will "rock" in your hand like the bottom of a rocking chair does on a floor.

[For a right handed person]

The strike can travel in two, basic directions.

The strike can travel vertically, straight up. This could be used against a left handed attacker who has a weapon in their left hand. Or, it can be used to go straight up into the groin if the attacker has left that area open to attack.

The strike can travel "cross-body," which is diagonally low right [Tip on the ground] to high left, which will allow you to strike the weapon-bearing limb/hand of a right handed attacker.

Basically, you can micro-adjust these two strikes to hit anything that comes into your sphere of defense. And it travels from under the attackerís limbs or up into the groin.

The strike has the ability to hit incredibly hard once mastered, and it comes from nowhere. The body mechanics that you can add to it will also take you out of the "line of fire" when it comes to someone actively trying to say, slash your face or neck area.

Again, assuming you are right handed and using the Cane in your right hand, as you lift the Cane to strike, you fade back on your right foot. Your foot slides back and takes all of your vital organs and structures away from an incoming knife slash or thrust.

The Cane comes up from the "Ready" at your side with the Tip resting on the ground. The Tip or last few inches of the Cane can strike the weapon-bearing limb anywhere from the underside of the upper arm, Ulnar ["funnybone"] Nerve Area slightly above the elbow...and anything else, all the way down to the hand holding the weapon.

Ideally, you want to hit the hand, wrist, elbow joint or the Ulnar Nerve Area of the weapon-bearing limb. Any of these targets hit with force will, in most cases, effect an immediate disarm and if not, there will be some degree of dysfunction in the area struck by the Cane.

You want to practice and develop this strike, you do not want to swing extremely hard and lose control, or have to "chamber" or "wind-up" for the strike. You want this to be an immediate strike. Do not flail at the attacker. You want to hit him fast and hard.

You want a controlled strike, a response to his action. With a controlled strike, you will then be able to follow up immediately. You wonít have to play "catch," trying to grab your own Cane that is out of control.

As soon as the strike lands, regardless if the disarm occurred, reach up with your other hand and grab the Cane in the middle area or closer to the Tip. The closer to the Tip, the better. The Hook will still be in your right hand at this point.

Your "off hand" [left] drops as your right hand slides down the length of the Cane. The Hook area of the Cane then becomes the striking end.

This strike can travel horizontally to hit the temples if need be, the neck, perhaps the attackerís left arm mid-bicep to break it. It can travel vertically straight down to the top of the head or either collarbone. It can also travel diagonally down, high right to low left. The weapon-bearing limb can be struck again, perhaps the attackerís other arm that is coming up for defense...

As the strike follows through, your right and left hands should almost meet each other. The "off hand" can be snapped up sharply adding additional velocity at the moment of impact. This is where the Cane and the Sword become one in the Street.

As you execute this second strike, you should be moving forward, you faded back during the initial strike to take your body out of Harmís Way, now you are going to use your body weight in motion in the other direction, forward pressure, to add some authority to the second strike.

This is a basic and advanced technique all rolled up into one. I consider it "basic" because you should start out with it and never stop practicing it. And I consider it "advanced" because it is so effective and there are other subtle little things in the use of body weight that you will have to work on with a training partner and a focus mitt. Go slow at first so you make sure you hit the focus mitt and not the underside of your training partnerís arm.

Look at the ranges involved with a training partner and the focus mitt. Have your training partner hold a training knife in his hand after he slides a focus mitt on. Now, you stand at a realistic distance where the training partner would be a threat on the street. Have him reach out and slowly touch you with the edge of the training knife. Not take a swat at you, just touch, to get the idea of range.

Now, without using the Cane, glide back on your right foot as he reaches out slowly to touch you. Do you see the simplicity of the concept?

Now, when you add the Cane traveling upwards slowly as you glide back on the foot to take the target away from the enemy, you should clearly see why this is so effective.

Always use eye protection, never use real knives, only training knives that are designed or professionally modified for that purpose. Be very easy until you understand the power involved so you do not damage your training partner.

Don Rearic

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