Walking With Your Cane


How To Walk With Your Cane…

Recently I had an opportunity to watch enthusiastic cane-do kai students “hang” with their canes in public. The idea of using the cane as a walking companion is an old one. The cane, once a fashion statement that would tell of one’s social class, eventulally “went out of style”. Cane-Do Kai practitioners however, are bringing it “back to life” as they are encouraged to walk with and carry it around as much as possible to create familiarity. The idea is for the cane to become a natural extension of everyday movement and not a crutch, unless the practitioner actually uses it as a medical aid.

If you’ve never walked with a cane before, it may surprise you to learn that it requires practice. This can be seen in beginners who carry the cane as a foreign object.

Here are some of the things beginners do when they first start walking with their canes in public that should be AVOIDED:

1) They grab the cane by the shaft as if it were a lunch box. This raises public curiosity as to why the practitioner is carrying the cane and what their intentions are.

2) They practice maneuverability drills in public. Folks this is a MAJOR no-no. Aside from drawing unnecessary attention to yourself and the cane, you’re also at risk of whacking someone unintentionally.

3) They practice cane self defense techniques on their friends at odd times. (ie. While waiting for the bus, at the bookstore, waiting in line at the bank or movie theatre.)

4) They fake an injury and walk with a limp, hunched over etc. There’s no need for this. Your cane is perfectly legal to carry as a walking companion.

Although I have not personally witnessed the following, I should mention that practitioners should not abuse handicap priviledges. At one time or another you will have doors opened for you, special seating offered etc. You may or may not accept these offers depending on the situation but it is WRONG to actively seek handicap pity if you’re simply using the cane as a walking companion.

Some of the things to keep in mind when walking with your cane:

1) Hold the cane by the handle in either a standard or reverse grip.

2) Walk along normally. Push the cane tip through the ground, not forcefully. Make sure the tip makes contact with the ground at all times.

3) Do nothing to call attention to yourself or the cane.

4) When sitting down, position the cane in such a way that no one will trip over it.

5) NEVER leave your cane unattended.

There are other pointers but these are the main ones. Once you get used to walking with your cane, you’ll want to hang around with it more and more. Unlike other martial arts where the weapons must be concealed or are simply illegal to carry, the cane is a legal tool you can carry anywhere at all times. Just make sure you don’t “show off” your skills in public and treat it with the respect it deserves.