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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Wooden Self Defense Canes and Walking Sticks

Wooden Self Defense Canes

Wooden canes have been used for thousands of years in different types of self defense situations. The Irish started the fashion of using canes in self defense, with the sturdy and stout Blackthorn walking stick. If one wanted to attack a traditional Irish gentleman, they had to be prepared for the butt end of a powerful club-like Blackthorn cane.

The benefits of wooden self defense canes are that they can be taken anywhere, without raising safety alarms. They provide walking aid users, both men and women, better peace of mind wherever they're walking -even in dangerous neighborhoods.

Heavy Defense Canes

There are many types of canes for walking - some types are good for self defense, others not. Wooden self defense canes are heavier than regular type walking canes and sticks. A walking cane is made of sap wood, or the lighter, outer pith of the tree. A walking cane may also be made of cheap wood composite. Wood composite canes can snap or bend, tumbling the user onto the hard floor.

Nearly any hard wood or walking cane can be used in self defense (barring cheap wood composite canes.) Sap-wood walking canes can be used to hook perps behind the knee, knocking them down. Heavy wooden canes, like knob canes, can be used to bash attackers in the collar bone or temple, disabling them. Wood canes don't need to be decorative or fashionable designer brand to defend you - simple wood canes are the best.

Common wood cane materials, in order from hardest to softest, include:


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  • Pecan Wood - 1820 JHS*
  • Hickory Wood - 1800 JHS
  • Sugar Maple - 1450 JHS
  • White Ash - 1320 JHS
  • Oak (White or Red) - 1360 JHS
  • American Walnut - 1010 JHS
  • American Cherry - 950 JHS
  • Cedar - 900 JHS
  • Chestnut - 540 JHS
  • White Pine - 540 JHS


Cedar crutch

Cedar and Chestnut type woods are appropriate for the elderly, or those with conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, which make walking painful. Chestnut or cedar woods bend slightly, absorbing shock. They are the lightest woods, making them more accommodating and less painful to walk with.

Woods like American Cherry, Walnut, and White Ash make beautiful hand-carved red and white canes. Cherry, Walnut, or Ash canes are appropriate for those with medium mobility, and little pain while walking. These medium-hard wood canes are great for those who experience little pain, or who want a stylish wood cane that will last for many years.


Hickory Hook Handle
Hickory, Maple, or White Ash types of wood all make sturdy self defense canes and walking sticks. The best sturdy self defense cane depends on user preference. Ash is a sturdy, yet lighter wood for cane users with less upper body strength. Maple or Hickory are heavier, and designed for those with strong upper body strength.

The heavier the walking stick, the more punch a wallop to the stomach will pack, but more stamina and dexterity is needed. Cane users should test out which heaviness and wood stain appeals to them before making a purchase.





Light Wood Canes (Bamboo and Diamond Willow)

Wood canes don't need to be heavy types to defend - they can be sturdy, and light. Wood composite type canes don't work in self defense not because they're light - but because they don't have a sturdy staff to provide defense. On the other side of the wood hardness scale, we have bamboo, and diamond willow canes. Ever heard the phrase "growing tall and sturdy as bamboo?"

The Chinese have used bamboo materials in their walking canes/self defense staffs for thousands of years. Similar to diamond willow, bamboo canes pack the largest punch with the least heavy weight - making bamboo/willow perfect for beginning cane users, women and young ladies, and physically disabled walking aid users.

Benefits of Wooden Self Defense Canes

Wooden canes are more practical for daily walking than self defense umbrellas. Flimsy self defense umbrellas may snap or break under pressure. Unlike electric self defense canes, or sword/gun canes, wooden self defense canes can also be carried anywhere.

Take the ability to defend yourself into airports, courthouses, and schools without setting off metal detectors. Wooden defense canes are functional and stylish in both walking and martial arts techniques like Aikido and Jiu jitsu. These are the most traditional of all defense canes, and won't draw trouble to you.

Hiking Sticks/Walking Poles for Self Defense

Hiking sticks, or walking sticks, can be used for self defense in an emergency. When you're walking in the woods (where dangerous individuals could be hiding) a hiking pole could be the only way to defend yourself. Benefits of hiking canes include a stronger (metal) staff than regular wood canes, and a pointed tip.

Generally, all the self defense techniques mentioned here can be used with a walking pole/hiking stick, with the pointed tip providing extra protection. Choose a hiking stick with a titanium tip, or steel tip, versus aluminum. Heavy metals, like titanium and steel, will shift the weight to the bottom of the walking pole, making swinging the hiking pole more effective, like a club.

Defense Cane Handles

Just as important as the staff material, is the wooden defense cane staff or grip. The three best cane handle types for self defense are the knob handle, crook handle, and crutch handle. Other cane handle types less suited for self defense are the thumbstick, capstick, and the derby handle. We'll focus on the knob handle, crook handle, and crutch handle for now - not ignoring the thumbstick, capstick, or derby.

1.) Knob Handle Self-Defense Canes
Knob handle

Knob handle canes and self defense sticks come with a heavy knob on one end, normally brass. This shifts the cane's weight to the end of the cane during an attack.

The knob handle grip is used to bash foes in vulnerable places, such as the the head, stomach, or leg. Head shots are most effective when aiming for the temple. Stomach/chest shots should aim for the collar bone.  Leg shots should aim for the knee, disabling the attacker. Strike quickly, at 45 degree angles, and retract the cane quickly, so the attacker can't grab your self defense cane.

Knobs are the heaviest self defense canes, and should be used by those with good upper body strength, or those trained in stick-based martial arts like Jiu Jitsu (a Japanese martial art focused on ground grappling and striking techniques.)

A good example of the knob handle cane is the bubba stick, made of Tennessee hardwood, and topped with a real brass horse collar fitting. When a brass horse collar or other brass fittings combine with maple or hickory wood, knob canes (like the bubba stick) pack a very powerful punch.

2.) Crook Handle Grip

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The crook handle grip is sometimes known as a shepherd's hook handle, but is normally distinguishable from a shepherd's hook by a less prominent curve. Crook handles are the classic walking canes that your great great grandfather probably had. Crook handle canes can be found in any pharmacy, and can be made of wood or aluminum.

Both wood and aluminum will work equally in self defense, with wood giving a slight advantage in terms of weight and style. Aluminum canes are lighter canes than wood, perfect for those who want to hook, and get away quick.

Canes with crook handle grips are used to hook the attacker behind the knee, as shown in the self-defense picture above. The closer the attacker comes, the more effective the hook is. Unlike knob handles, crook handles can be more effective at a distance. If the attacker is close, a hook behind the knee and pressure to the forehead will cause the attacker to tumble, allowing the cane user to get to a safe distance.

Lighter wood crooks, like cedar or chestnut, may break when striking. Heavier maple, walnut or hickory wood crook canes can be used either to hook, or to bash the temple, collar bone, or knee joint like a knob handle.

3.) Crutch Handle  Grip

You can use canes with crutch handle grip as a hybrid knob cane/crook handle cane combination. Crutch handle canes grab and hook behind the knee (or head), knocking the attacker down. The curved-yet-flat handle shape also allows for bashing vulnerable targets on the attacker (temple, collar bone, groin, or knee.)

One self defense technique unique to the crutch handle cane is the throat attack. The throat attack jabs the flat side of the self defense cane into the attacker's wind-pipe. The wind pipe attack makes it hard to breathe, disabling the attacker for a quick getaway, or more advanced self defense techniques.

The cane throat attack:


This self defense technique is effective with a crook handle, but most effective with a crutch handle, to ensure an evenly flattened windpipe.

Another attack  is effective with crutch, crook, knob, or any self defense stick. It is the chest attack. This attack is sometimes known as the stomach attack, and is simple for anyone learning cane self defense, or even untrained cane users:


Wooden self defense canes (crook, knob, and crutch) shouldn't be used without self defense training in Jiu Jitsu, Aikido, Taekwondo, or other walking staff-based martial arts. These martial arts teach you how to turn your walking aid into a formidable weapon. Martial arts teach strength of both body and mind, and pressure points that are vulnerable to attack. 

Self-defense martial arts teach upper body strength, and how to position the force of the blow into the attacker, not back into the self defender. Much like a haymaker will hurt your fist if not properly aimed, cane self defense can knock you off balance if the techniques are done improperly. 


*Based on the Jenka Wood Hardness Scale

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1 comment:

  1. Nice article, are you or have you been involved in the Martial Arts? Have you had any training in the use of canes and or sticks? Keep up the blogs as information is key to learning and education. Merle McAlpin Cane Masters International

    ReplyDelete

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