Saturday, January 05, 2008

Cane Fighting


A British martial arts instructor has been teaching senior citizens the art of the cane. Apparently his lessons have paid off when an elderly woman he teaches managed to fend off the attack of two muggers. "She went to the police station because she was worried about having hurt the boys," said instructor Kevin Garwood, who has been teaching traditional martial arts since the 70s in addition to his walking stick self defense class for about three years. The focus of Garwood's classes are awareness of one's surroundings, planning a route home, and skills that include simple choke holds, joint locks and throws that all incorporate the use of the walking stick. "Before you go out of the house, think about the route. Then even if you are walking slowly, if you are positive and your brain is engaged, you look less like a victim," said Garwood.

Because the elderly tend to be targets for crime, the walking stick makes for a convenient and convincing weapon without appearing too conspicuous. I've detailed some other handy weapons that are generally concealed. The cane as an effective fighting weapon is nothing new and has made appearances in a number of cultures. In Portugal, the fighting cane is called the jogo do pau. In France, savateurs train with la canne. Cannistes wear protective gear and fencing helmets in matches. A similar weapon in Japan is the jo, a wooden staff about four feet long.

At any rate, if you're planning to go out and about with your trusty walking stick in public, do so without any fanfare. As Teddy Roosevelt once advised, "Speak softly and carry a big stick."


*See also:
Way of the Short Staff by Michael P. Garofalo. Exhaustive research and links on cane fighting techniques, history and styles.

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6 Comments:

Blogger Silverstar said...

Its good that the elderly have some sort of defense against those who try to take advantage of them. (Which would be the lowest kind of scum)
I took one class in cane defense but I'd like to take more.:)

8:45 AM  
Blogger Miss Chris said...

What I wouldn't give to see that elderly woman whoopin' some punks butt...

12:40 PM  
Blogger Blackbeltmama said...

Maybe I'll start teaching a crutch self defense class. ;-)

A while back, Ikigai wrote on my blog about the use of a jo as a great home self defense weapon. It convinced me enough to go get a dowel at the Home Depot.

Love your end quote. ;-)

5:11 PM  
Blogger John Vesia said...

Silverstar:

Its good that the elderly have some sort of defense against those who try to take advantage of them.

Their best defense is having a sound mind. The elderly also tend to be very trusting, and why that's just a normal feature of the aged I'm not sure. Some of the worst crimes against the elderly involve scams that end up taking their life savings.
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Miss Chris:

What I wouldn't give to see that elderly woman whoopin' some punks butt...

Me too. I was really disappointed the news link didn't come with a video. Maybe next time. ; )
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BBM:

Maybe I'll start teaching a crutch self defense class. ;-)

That sounds great! Tell you what, you let me know if you do and I'll pick up a cheap pair and show up!

12:30 AM  
Blogger supergroup7 said...

I feel strongly that one is never too old to learn self defense, even if it is something as simple as learning how to avoid dangerous situations, and people.

I know that as soon as I have enough grey hair on my head to make it look like I need a cane, I'll be using one. I'm already training with a Bo, so switching to Jo work shouldn't be too difficult. I wonder does Mr. Garwood suggest a wooden cane, or a modern metal one? Which one will cause the most grief to an attacker I wonder?

2:47 PM  
Blogger John Vesia said...

Mireille:

I wonder does Mr. Garwood suggest a wooden cane, or a modern metal one? Which one will cause the most grief to an attacker I wonder?

I was looking at one of Garwood's training videos, but it's hard to tell what they're using. His students use a variety of canes. The one Garwood uses has at least what looks like a weighted metal tip on the base. The metal ones might work better against a weapon.

10:29 PM  

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