Some of my older Escrima students have asked me to teach them how to use a cane or walking stick for self-defense. I've shown them a little so far and they like it. The curious thing is that I have a very different idea about how to use a cane than 95% of the stuff (garbage?) I find on youtube. Consequently, I am putting together my own curriculum based largely on Latosa Escrima Concepts (my first stick art), DTE (Direct Torres Escrima), some stuff that comes from WC concepts, and other stuff I've messed with for years, ever since I was injured and briefly had to use a cane ...and promptly got into a fight (about 40 years ago).Anyway, there's a world of experience on this forum, along with some truly eccentric opinions. So I thought I see what kind of input I get. Here are some "disclaimers" I have started with: 1. I have taught martial arts (WC and Escrima) for a while, but I'm not a huge fan of teaching "self defense" tactics taught outside a complete martial arts curriculum. Weak, out-of-shape old farts are better off staying away from conflict than trying to learn a few cheap tricks to make themselves bulletproof. And, being an out-of shape, over-the-hill old fart, I follow this advice myself! For a more realistic approach self defense, I advocate first: awareness and avoidance, then de-escaltion and escape, and lastly (if you've really messed up with the previous steps) facing the choice of having to physically engage with an attacker ... who probably has the advantage (or else why is he attacking you?). 2. If you really want to learn how to maintain a higher level of awareness or alertness to danger, or if you want to learn techniques of de-escalation, find an expert in that branch of psychology. Or maybe a good bouncer who does his job with a minimum of violence. I can only give some general ideas and "common sense" advice. 3. A cane can be a good choice for defense if : A. Although you may need it for support, you can still stand strongly and move without it (even if it hurts) for short periods of time. If you need it just to stand, you can't use it to fight. B. You maybe "out of shape ...compared to what you were in your 20s or 30s, but if you can still learn to swing a stick hard and deliver a really good whallop! Otherwise you will just really annoy your assailant, and that's not a smart thing to do! C. The advantages of a cane (or any stick) are that it gives you range and is a "force multiplier". So the cane is best used at longer range for percussive striking, that is, swinging and thrusting, while hanging firmly on to the crook or handle end for the best possible weapon retention. ...Yes, in very experienced hands, it can also increase leverage in grappling and locks, but this approach is very risky for a weaker defender and should be avoided, So forget all those really cool locks, and tricks using the hooked end to catch, pull, or sweep. I mean does an old fart really want to tie up his weapon while pulling his attacker closer to him? Really!? D. Avoid canes with sharp spikes, or a sharpened end on the crook, or sharp and extreme serrations on the shaft beyond what is necessary for grip enhancement and so forth. For one thing, these unecessary accoutrements have just re-defined your innocent cane as an offensive weapon. That's not a good thing if you plan to carry it with you everywhere, even through security into public buildings or onto a plane. Nor is it useful to be jabbing painful. but not deadly spikes and serrations into an attacker if you are unable to otherwise fend him off and escape. It may just enrage him to the point where he totally effs you up. Kinda like the empty handed fighter that says "Oh, I"ll just beat the other guy with my deadly eye gouges and groin strikes." If you need that to win, remember that the other guy can go there too. Finally regarding those spiky bits. Even if you "win" by virtue of stabbing, jabbing and lacerating, be prepared to have a much tougher time in the next stage of the altercation, i.e. dealing with the authorities! E. One last point. Simplicity. If you are training something to use under stress, KISS. A few, simple, high percentage moves trained repeatedly to perfection are worth more than all the fancy "finesse" moves in the world. Learn to use range, angles and timing, hit hard and get away. Not glamorous or show stopping, but practical. OK, sorry for the long lead-in, but that's basically where I'm coming from. Most of the Youtube gurus and their clips that I've found so far are coming from the opposite perspective. And, most of the "self-defense" or "tactical" canes sold are BS. in my opinion. More on that later, but I just prefer a good piece of hickory. What do you guys think?