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"The Cane as a Weapon" by A.C. Cunningham

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    "The Cane as a Weapon" by A.C. Cunningham

    Around the turn of the 20th century, a number of European self defense instructors developed advanced systems for using the (then-fashionable) walking stick as a defensive weapon. The lone American representative of that trend was fencer and military engineer Andrew Chase Cunningham.

    Cunningham wrote a booklet on his "Cane as a Weapon" system in 1912 and was featured in some newspaper articles, etc. but the method never really caught on, which is kind of a shame. Given his experience in fencing and professional background as an engineer, his system was actually very well designed, the only major weakness being a lack of ground-fighting applications.

    In recent years, as with many other historical Western fighting styles, there has been some interest in reviving the Cunningham system and it has occasionally been taught in seminar format at WMA conferences, etc.

    See http://martialhistory.com/2008/02/th...a-weapon-1912/ for more details and links.
    Check out the Bullshido.net Western Martial Arts Forum for all things Western, martial and arty.

    Bartitsu: the Gentlemanly Art of Self Defence (est. 1899)

    #2
    Let me reiterate what Jason says in his review over on martialhistory.com

    The PDF of the original manuscript is fine, and it's what I was first exposed to. When I read it I was struck by the fact that the system seemed straight forward and "basic yet functional." I was also struck by the paucity of photos and illustrations to illuminate the concepts and instructions. It made it very hard to follow what Cunningham was trying to communicate. The few photos he did include only served to confuse unless you were careful about linking them to what he was trying to say. This is due to the fact that Cunningham is showing only static positions, and with only one actual combatant (assuming an "imaginary" and unpictured opponent).

    Tony Wolf's rendition, on the other hand, prefaces the whole work with a great deal of well written, modern English, text, explaining and expounding upon the system. As the book progresses, Tony expands upon the system with clear descriptions and, thank God, clear, well laid out, and COPIOUS photo sequences.

    If you're interested in Cane systems, this expanded reprint is the way to go for experimenting with Cunningham's system.

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk

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      #3
      I've recently seen a bunch of kombat cane articles around and hapkido cane stuff. Although it's interesting it isn't really fashionable/cool for able bodied people to carry a cane now days unless you're the Acrhbishop Don Magic Juan or Huggybear. Although it teaches valueble skills and principals, blah,blah,blah.... I'm not gonna start carrying a cane. I have seen a combat umbrellas for sale(seriously) which wouldn't look as wierd as carrying a cane, but still it's kinda girly unless your a rich business guy or...er.... something. I am curious what the western take is on cane technique though. I'll look it up one of these days

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        #4
        Originally posted by jspeedy View Post
        I've recently seen a bunch of kombat cane articles around and hapkido cane stuff. Although it's interesting it isn't really fashionable/cool for able bodied people to carry a cane now days unless you're the Acrhbishop Don Magic Juan or Huggybear. Although it teaches valueble skills and principals, blah,blah,blah.... I'm not gonna start carrying a cane. I have seen a combat umbrellas for sale(seriously) which wouldn't look as wierd as carrying a cane, but still it's kinda girly unless your a rich business guy or...er.... something. I am curious what the western take is on cane technique though. I'll look it up one of these days
        I'm a perfectly healthy, able bodied male of 40 years with no apparent limp or other medical need for a cane.

        Yet I carry a "gentleman's walking stick" daily and have never, not even once, EVER had anyone in authority question my carry. When I first started, years ago, a few of my friends asked me if I'd come up gimp but that was the extent of it. I've carried innocuous knobbed canes through court-house security check points and on post 9/11 air planes with no issues whatsoever. The security (or cops, depending on where) will X-Ray the cane and ask me if I need assistance standing. That's it.

        People at work don't look at me funny. People on the street don't balk at it one bit. No one gives it a second thought beyond some boy scout who might hold open a door for me.

        Seriously. I hear this "It will look out of place and draw unwanted attention - I couldn't get away with it" reasoning all the time but I'm living proof that it DOESN'T draw any particular attention and you CAN "get away with it."

        Cops already know that a cane can be used as a weapon. They're neither dumb nor naive. The key is to look innocuous. I typically wear slacks, button up collar shirt, tie, and a Fedora (felt in winter, straw in summer). Cops look at me, cane and all and think, "Yeah, the cane could be used as a weapon, but this guy isn't out looking for trouble so I don't need to worry about him doing stupid stuff that will complicate my shift."

        Peace favor your sword,
        Kirk
        Last edited by lklawson; 2/24/2009 9:55pm, .

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          #5
          Just seconding Kirk's comments; I'm in my 40s and have no medical need to carry a cane, but I often do, especially in the winter and when traveling.

          I'll grant that the way you're dressed and your age might impact whether or not you get second glances, though.
          Check out the Bullshido.net Western Martial Arts Forum for all things Western, martial and arty.

          Bartitsu: the Gentlemanly Art of Self Defence (est. 1899)

          Comment


            #6
            okay Mr. Peanut (lklawson), your right canes are great. But you should really trade your fedora in for a top hat. I wear one all the time and cops never suspect I carry a rabit around in it to impress random ladies.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by jspeedy View Post
              okay Mr. Peanut (lklawson), your right canes are great. But you should really trade your fedora in for a top hat. I wear one all the time and cops never suspect I carry a rabit around in it to impress random ladies.
              I've noted that many ladies are, in fact, impressed with a bit of deft prestidigitation.

              Perhaps they make assumptions about how adroitly one can use their fingers.

              Shame I was never good at slight of hand beyond learning to feint well.

              Peace favor your sword,
              Kirk

              Comment


                #8
                I sometimes walk with a Cold Steel Walkabout. I've never been questioned about it in my many nights in downtown San Diego at night, and I'm even less likely looking to need a cane (I'm in my 20s). I think its kinda dapper.

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                  #9
                  I'm kinda excited about turning 40 in 11 years now.. I can finally wear a fedora and carry a "gentlemans walking stick" and noone will think I'm nutty... just old.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    So have any of you fancy lads used this cane for self defense?

                    Comment


                      #11
                      I use a walking stick (straight cane) from time to time when I injure myself (feet, ankles, knees, hips, you name it) and have to get around on the ice. I also use it when I walk around the park with the kiddo (it's a handy tool to poke at things) or walk to the store (handy for carrying grocery bags). It's an old bo that cracked at a weak spot, cut down to 37", with a copper end cap. Though I use it like a hanbo (where my training lies), the principle is the same. Oddly enough though, one time when I actually needed it, someone questioned my right to have it. I had a big guy roll into my ankle at a rugby match. I brought my stick to help me hobble to the bar for the drink-up afterwards.

                      Limping along, the doorman told me I'd have to leave it with him. I looked down at my swollen ankle, then back at him. I asked if he'd like to help me hobble around inside. He let me keep it, just admonishing me not to swing it around.

                      I am interested in Western cane techniques to add to the fencing aspect of the weapon. Good stuff.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        But could a spry, able bodied sexy 19 year old pull off the same cane shenanigans without looking like a total tool? Older dudes can get away with it because they look refined. I look like a ska reject.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by MrBadGuy View Post
                          But could a spry, able bodied sexy 19 year old pull off the same cane shenanigans without looking like a total tool?
                          I've seen a guy in his mid 20's do it, no problem: My late friend Mark.

                          He'd dress in khaki shorts, sandals, a pseudo-Hawaiian style shirt (mono-color, no print), and a leather "Aussie" style fedora. No one even blinked.

                          Older dudes can get away with it because they look refined.
                          I admit that I tailor my appearance to fit the cane. Kinda a cross between "Dandy" and "Refined."

                          I look like a ska reject.
                          Well, it's true that if you're wearing combat boots, a "Skinheads RULE!" T-shirt, and a Tapout ball cap on crooked, then, yeah, you'll stand out. LEOs will look at ya and double take the cane.

                          Like I said earlier. Cops aren't dumb or naive. They'll "profile" you and if you look like you're looking for trouble, they'll mark you out.

                          Don't look like you're looking for trouble.

                          Peace favor your sword,
                          Kirk

                          Comment


                            #14
                            A friend of mine who actually had to use a cane to walk (after a sports related injury) once clubbed a guy in the head with his cane, my friend fell down as he hit the guy then got up and walked off while the other guy layed there. Believe it or not he had no combat cane skills.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Y'all should look at the la'cane (I don't know how to spell in French) techniques of Savate -- there's still a living lineage out there that can use the suckers. I'm clueless, but I've met Savate guys in Dallas that're pretty scary with 'em. Just $0.02

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