In order to understand cane combat I feel we need to understand a bit of history. While I would encourage anyone to look things up for them self this is an extremely brief outline of what was happening at the time. The Victorian era in Europe was on the face of it a golden age for mankind. At the forefront of this was Science and engineering. Medicine was improving with the introduction of both anesthetics and antiseptic. Devastating epidemics like smallpox, typhoid and cholera where gradually being eradicated. People’s health was improving, they lived longer, and the population of England almost doubled in less than fifty years, In 1829, Sir Robert Peel was Home Secretary and the first Metropolitan Police Act was passed and the Metropolitan Police Force was established. However with the ever increasing population there came problems. The rich poor divide grew at an astounding rate. The city’s swelled with people looking for work, overcrowding lead to slum housing, workhouses, and Child labor. People where desperate and in desperation turned to Violence, crime and Prostitution. While at one time it was common place to both carry and practice with a weapon, now virtually no one did, it wasn’t the social norm. Certain people took full advantage of what was happening for example Jack the Ripper. The news at the time took great pleasure in telling people all the grizzly details. Normal people were afraid. Out of all of this came the self-defense school. Some opened by ex-military types tired of seeing people suffering others by fencing masters, some probably by people hoping to make a fortune out of it. What I do know is there where lots of them and unlike most of the fighting arts taught at the time they were open to both men and women. One everyone’s probably heard of is Bartitsu. A mix of French boxing Jiujitsu and cane fighting as well as less conventional weapons such as jackets, hats. There are quite a few different cane arts to choose from. I picket out Theory for Learning the Cane in 25 Lessons by Louis A.V. Leboucher. I did this for several reasons. First thing I really don’t like the range of canes available for martial arts. There is a fine line between a stick and a weapon designed to mane and I believe they cross it. 25 lessons however is purely a striking system meaning not only is it relatively easy to pick up (although to do well will take a lot of practice) but it can be performed with a wide range of objects. Cane, pool queue umbrella, bat. I used a frying pan the other day. If it’s vaguely like a stick you can do it. “If he had been a little less brutal he’d have made his fortune” J. Charlemont Louis-Armand-Victorin. It is brutal. Every blow is designed to end the fight and if using it as a self-defense form I for one want the fight to be over quickly. “This exercise must be cultivated, as it not only promotes the advantage of muscular force, but also develops vigour in the arm, chest and legs, expands the lungs and gives the torso greater stature and volume. How could it be thought otherwise when one thinks that a pupil can build up to throwing one hundred and fifty blows in a minute?” Louis A.V. Leboucher It’s what in fencing term’s is eyes open. You start an action not knowing how it will end. Or to put it another way is it’s a reactive style of fighting. I know a chap who did a translation from the original French text who I can ask for advice if needs be, and finally it’s not a be all and end all text it’s easy to slip elements from other works into the style, something that Louis A.V. Leboucher did in later manuals. I think that’s enough typing for today. I will go into the lessons themselves another time.