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Take a cane to a knife fight?

Discussion in 'Sword Discussion' started by USNA’66, May 4, 2018.

  1. USNA’66

    USNA’66 Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 11, 2017
    Next to a pistol or rifle, which is a more formidable weapon... a walking cane or a knife? With a couple of exceptions, I posit that the most effective self-defense weapon is the one that you have with you when the threat appears and that you know how to use.

    Plus, my cane is protected under the 1994 ADA Act, and authorities can’t even inquire about the nature of my infirmity. I carry my cane on every flight here and abroad, inside government buildings, court rooms, etc.

    I’m 74 years old and very fit. I earned my black belt in Tae-Kwon-Do while serving with the Korean marines in Vietnam in 1969. Three years ago I began training at the American Cane Self Defense (ACSD) school in Miami under Grand Master Joe Robaina.... one of only two grand masters active in the US. I train 3 hours privately each week with GM Joe, and another hour nightly in my gym. I am already certified as a cane instructor, and expect to receive my “black sash” in freestyle cane fighting this year.

    Our canes are formidable weapons/works of art, are carved from Hickory or Oak, and weigh a bit less than two pounds. When the cane is spinning over your head, the tip is moving st 200 MPH. Even casual contact with bone... wrist, fingers, hand, elbow, knee, or ankle breaks bones instantly. A defensive strike to the head or groin could be fatal and must be avoided. Though it may not appear intuitive, the bent horn of the cane is what provides the ability to spin it at such high rates of speed. The same can not be said, for a walking stick, and as such it is much less useful.

    A bad guy misidentifying an elderly person with a cane as a soft target will be surprised and find himself walking into a hardened oak buzz saw.

    One of the most inciteful demonstrations by GM Joe is when he pitts a new student wearing a white tee shirt against a seasoned instructor armed with a broad tip Sharpie. It only takes a few seconds for the student to be covered in simulated puncture wounds. Then, the same student, who has never held a cane, is given a three minutes of private instruction to perform a simple figure-8 defensive movement with the cane.

    When placed back in the ring, the student is almost always able to hold their own and fend off the attack long enough to get away.

    I’m including a couple of links to GM Robaina, and another to Mark Shuey who runs an equally respected school for cane self defense in Nevada. The difference between the schools is essentially that GM Joe has a tactical street-wise approach throughout his training… where GM Shuey focuses on using the cane in martial arts exhibits, etc.

    See GM Joe:

    See GM Shuey in a longer, but excellent cane overview:

    In closing.... I’d prefer a cane over any bladed weapon, short of a sword... but with the impracticality of walking around with a sword, it’s not a fair comparison. Where he gets murky… would be if going against a machete.(Recent London machete attacks?) A machete can be wielded in a very similar manner to a cane, and when it comes at you in a figure 8 pattern it would be scary sight. However, your purpose is to defend yourself and get out of there. And once again, it’s highly unlikely anyone would be walking around with a machete other than in “Londonstan”.

    I welcome any thoughts or questions. Thanks,
    Last edited: May 4, 2018
    BlackKnight86 likes this.
  2. Triton

    Triton Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 8, 2000
    It seems like this post might be better suited for the practical tactical forum on this board. That aside I would submit that the most effective self defense tool and the only one guaranteed to be with you at all times is you. Your training and your body are your best weapon. It sounds like you have prepared yourself. Kudos to you. (Also thank you for your service to our country ).
  3. Mecha

    Mecha Madscienceforge.com Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 27, 2013
    If I'm not mistaken the shillelagh's entire purpose and design, other than to assist in walking, is to forcibly deter ne'ers-do-well, artful dodgers, and skateboarders with staunch authority.
  4. mete

    mete Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 10, 2003
    Look at the whole picture. If you do use a can to assist in walking the minute you use it for defense the limited leg movement must be considered.
    In my time as a fencing coach it was usually very obvious how often hits were lost when there was improper movement . The classical French style was to be able to move in either direction along the piste immediately. There is reason for this !! Bad legs ? modify your style .
    One doctor looked at my Kabar , picked it up and said 'that's quite a cane ' . I said 'yes it is ' and walked on :D
    DocJD likes this.
  5. mete

    mete Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 10, 2003
  6. WftRight


    Jun 21, 2017
    I'd love to take formal training in the use of a cane, but no teachers are located anywhere near me. Of course, I'm also living in the middle of nowhere. My health has failed, and the doctors don't really know what's wrong with me. I'm not able to train more than ten or fifteen minutes at a time, so even if I had an instructor nearby, I couldn't do much.

    Before things completely fell apart, I bought a cane from GM Shuey. I had thought of trying to find a friend who would get a cane and train with me. Back then, I never thought of using a cane as a cane. Now, I have several canes that I use as canes. I like the chisel-pointed horns because they allow me to hang the cane more easily over my belt when I need both hands for something.
  7. USNA’66

    USNA’66 Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 11, 2017
    Where are you located? If you are in South Florida, or Minnesota, I can offer some helpful. The second resource will be at the ACSD web site. There are hundreds of instructional videos and more added weekly. Grandmaster Joe has set out a excellent program that begins with learning the “power five” shots. His “tactical training” is focused on results were you needed on the streets… After studying in both systems,
    I’m pleased that I pursued my training with the ACS tactical model . Please take a look at it and PM me with questions that I might assist you with. I have some 45 different custom canes in my collection… But train each day with a very simple and heavy oak practice cane.
  8. USNA’66

    USNA’66 Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 11, 2017
    I agree that a medical reliance on a cane for mobility will certainly require different footwork, stances, and tactical responses. However, while I do occasionally use my cane on walks for a sore back, it is prinarily with me as a self-defense tool. Will my condition deteriorate as I get older? Unfortunately the answer is likiey to be “yes”.... For now, however, it would be a foolish thing for a bad guy to mistake my mobility cane as a weakness… and I train each day to delay the onset of future physical infirmities.
  9. betover


    Dec 1, 2015
    I'm 71 & have a CCW & know where your coming from. Having said that, if you use your cane on a bad guy, you will walk (pun intended) from criminal charges. If the seriously injured bad guy's contingency attorney finds your post, you may have a tough time in a civil trial. What he is going to try to show is a martial arts expert destroying the future of a poor young man who was destined for greatness. As for the bad guys virtues, look at how "Big Mike", was transformed from a cigar store thief to a young man with endless possibilities. His mother & Hillary were besties. BTW if they find the post, trust me the serious injuries will appear. The first rule of cane fighting is there is no cane fighting. :)
    Rhinoknives1 and JJHollowman like this.
  10. USNA’66

    USNA’66 Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 11, 2017
    I am mindful of my posts each time.... and attempt to always emphasize defense.... the ACSD (American Cane Self Defense) institute words it precisely. The goal isn’t to find a fight, but to survive if you become a victim. I am with you 100% on this.
  11. Dagaros


    Oct 24, 2013
    Makes me think of Bartitsu. Victorian era cane martial art basically taken from hanbo techniques and jujutsu.

    Intereting post though and I enjoyed the videos, didn't even know there was a ACSD till today.
  12. USNA’66

    USNA’66 Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 11, 2017
    Thank you Dagaros... i’ve seen some of the old Bartitsu material and also find quaint, but interesting. To some extent, it was the tactical equivalent of unarmed self defense of its day. With some of our politicians running astray, it is nice to be able to rely upon a form of self defennse they cant take away. I believe you will find the ACSD concept to be an effective defensive tool to protect yourself and those close in your care.
  13. GWashington1732

    GWashington1732 Basic Member Basic Member

    Jun 20, 2009
    Put a sword in your cane.
  14. JJHollowman


    Jul 16, 2016
    THIS! You weren't "cane fighting" you were "flailing about madly in fear for life and limb and somehow scored a couple lucky hits". Same with ANY self defense. You "aimed low, you thought- the guy must have ducked a bit and that's why the bullet hit him there", you "pulled the knife hoping he'd run off, you never dreamed you'd actually hurt the guy.."
    Spending time to get the proper responses ready beforehand could mean the difference of whether or not you answer a few questions from sympathetic Detectives or spend time cooling your heels until your Lawyer arrives. If in doubt at all, state you're very shaken up and upset, your Lawyer is on the way, and you'd rather he/she do your talking.
    betover and WValtakis like this.
  15. USNA’66

    USNA’66 Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 11, 2017
    If that were only possible to do and carry legally!

  16. USNA’66

    USNA’66 Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 11, 2017
    Your advice is well considered... there should never be a "fight"... but rather, you defending yourself (and those in your protection) as you withdrew... at all times you were in fear for your life. You should contact LE as soon as you are safe. Your attorney can assist as soon with explaining anything else.
    JJHollowman and betover like this.

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