It is a sad fact of in our society that the criminal element targets our most vulnerable citizens, preying on those who will offer the least resistance. Society’s predators want to “get paid” with as little effort and as little danger to them as possible. This is why armed citizens present such a problem to the criminal element. Carrying a personal firearm makes sense for the average person, but even more sense for someone who has a physical infirmity or mobility issue. This raises a very specific problem, however: If you need a cane or walking stick in order to get around, that cane is a red flag that alerts criminals to the fact that you are (they will suppose) less able to fight them off.
In reality, however, a walking cane is a remarkably potent weapon. With a little training, even someone with physical limitations can wield the cane to good effect in self-defense. Even if you do not have mobility issues and do not require a cane, you can carry one almost everywhere in modern society (depending on how aggressive the cane appears), including during air travel. While a very young man might have a problem justifying carrying a cane (certain walking sticks look more like clubs than others), most adults will not. Carrying what is essentially a hardwood fighting stick makes a citizen well armed and well prepared for a variety of physical security threats. An impressive array of cane options from multiple manufacturers are available on the market.
The defensive walking cane is a remarkably intuitive weapon. It is an excellent blocking and striking implement that can also be used to hook and pull an attacker off-balance (although this does expose the wielder to the danger of having his own center of gravity disrupted). Swinging the cane and striking with the back of the crook produces heavy blows. Smashing the cane forward with a hand at either end allows the user to fend off an approaching attacker. Thrusting with the tip can also prove effective, while the crook gives the user a means of retaining the weapon should the opponent try to grab the tip.
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Based in Incline Village, Nevada, Cane Masters (with its American Cane System) is arguably the most well-known of the cane fighting purveyors, and has for many years offered a finely crafted line of canes in multiple styles, wood types, scallop patterns and crook profiles. The Shuey family markets its canes as “walking canes for mobility, self-defense, exercise and rehabilitation.” They offer a full line of grooved, contoured and grip- and strike-enhanced canes, as well as non-crook-type canes and a line of instructional DVDs and books. “Our canes,” the Shueys explained, “provide a fantastic workout that is great for everyday use, as well as [for] physical therapy and rehabilitation uses.”
Contemporaries to Cane Masters include Charles Davis, whose C Davis Group also offers a complete line of fighting canes and instructional material. “Even if you carry a gun or knife,” said Davis, “a sturdy cane is an excellent addition to your personal security. You don’t need years of martial arts training to block and strike with your cane. Having a sturdy cane in your hand and knowing how to use it is a good feeling.”
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Cane defense is also readily taught in Canada, where longtime martial artist Ted Truscott (through Defend Yourself 101) teaches senior citizens how to defend themselves with canes. His students practice warm-ups, footwork (such as side-stepping and the Filipino martial arts “triangle step”), swinging strikes, tip thrusting and bar smashes with the cane, emphasizing actually hitting targets while stringing together techniques into applied scenario fighting drills.
“I don’t like to teach hooking with the cane,” Truscott pointed out, “because if your cane grabs him, he’s now grabbing you, which can off-balance a senior even more than a younger person.”
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The cane can give even a relatively infirm person an advantage, but it makes an excellent defensive weapon for healthy people as well. Combat canes such as those from Cane Masters offer higher quality and greater strength—not to mention pain-compliance options like grooves, scallops and tapered crooks—compared to drug-store canes and bargain walking sticks. Discreet and socially acceptable, especially if you do have a mobility challenge, the cane is an effective self-defense weapon in a dangerous world.
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C Davis Group
Defend Yourself 101