Need advice how I should practice self defense with a cane

Alan0354

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Hi

I have a thread in General MA discussion on this, but I think this is a much better place to ask for advice.

I just started practicing stick fighting with a cane because of all the older Asians are being attacked on the street. I only started practicing a little over 4 months ago. I started mostly with single hand escrima style, but I soon evolved to using two hands swinging like the Katana because I can hit harder. Here are two videos I recorded two or three weeks ago. I want you experts to comment what should I work on next, what I should improve.



Like I said, I am not aiming to go on competition or be an expert, just self defense to protect myself and my wife. I am 68, so it looks normal to carry a cane. I am using the United Cutlery Night Watchman cane, it's 19oz after cutting to the right length.

I was advice not to hit with the head and handle like punching jab and reverse punch as people likely going to grab the cane if I hold it in front of them. Just concentrate on poking.

Since the video, I practice a lot more in hitting the knee and legs as it's harder to grab the cane when I hit low.

Any advice, critique, suggestion are welcome

Thanks

Alan
 

Tony Dismukes

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Okay, it looks like you've settled on 3 basic techniques: a 2-handed thrust, a 2-handed swing, and holding in the middle to hit with either end. I'll offer you one suggestion to help refine each movement.

  • For the two handed thrust, you are letting the stick drift out sideways from your body a bit. This costs you some power and makes it easier for your opponent to block your arms, grapple, or hit your arms if they are carrying a weapon of their own. Try keeping your elbows and your stick in tight to your body and only extend them forward from your body to thrust.
  • When you do the double-end hitting, you are holding the middle of the stick literally inches away from your target. This means the strikes with the tips are travelling only a few inches and can't generate much power. It also means that your opponent will have an easy time grabbing the middle of your stick and possibly wrestling it away from you. Try starting with the stick close to your body and allowing the stick to travel through the space for a full power strike, then recovering to a guard close to your body.
  • The two handed swings aren't bad, but if you allow a bit of separation between your hands as if you were holding a sword rather than a baseball bat, then you will have more control and maneuverability.
 
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Alan0354

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Thanks Tony

From advice before, I don't do the double hand hitting anymore....or as little as possible because of the potential of opponent grabbing the cane.

Yes, you are right about swinging with two hands a little farther apart instead of swinging like the baseball bet. I was experimenting a few days ago and find it's easier to control with a little separation between the hands. In fact, I change my two hand thrusting. I am thrusting from the left side now with the thumb of the right hand in forward position instead of in the video.( In the video, I thrust from the right and the thumb of the left hand pointing back to the right hand).

The reason I change that is because I am now holding the cane just like normal two hand swing, just the two hands are farther apart(like 8" apart when thrusting). Now, after I thrust to the mid section, I club down from the right, then I am ready to thrust again. I replace the double hand hitting with thrust from the left, then club down from the right, then thrust from the left and repeat. I have to make another video. Things changed.

I just started practicing more for close distance fighting. In real life situation, you don't have the open space like in competition stick fight that you can swing in wide circles. Like in restaurants, you have chairs and tables around you. So I started thinking how can I make things more compact and can hold onto the cane more secure( accidentally hit something in the surrounding can easily dislodge the cane and that's bad). I am actually practice swinging the cane with hands like 8" apart. Yes, I lose power some, but I am sure I can still hit harder than double end hitting in the video.

I really need to make another video soon and get new suggestions.

Thanks

alan
 

tim po

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Greetings. As a practitioner of Ninpo taijutsu, and one who is strictly concerned with modern relevance in self-defense training, I have long adapted the many styles of staff work to use canes, umbrellas, and walking sticks to replace traditional bo jutsu. The reason being that I am not carrying a bo, but may have-or be able to grab- something like these. The best self-defense weapon, is the one you have with you when you are attacked.
A cane is most akin to the hanbo in length, and many of the striking and grappling techniques taught in hanbojutsu are adaptable to a cane, straight or crook-necked. With the ladder you can employ the crook in a few creatively nasty ways, but you loose spinning and double-sided striking. with a straight cane you have a little more leeway there, but what you want to focus on is the unexpected-in self defense, it is important not to reveal your weapon until the moment you intend to strike. even if your cane is in plain sight, let them think you can't walk without it...until you slide it through one hand like a pool cue and thrust it into their throat, then they'll know you can walk without it.
my favorite cane technique is a modified hanbo oni-ku-daki, using the hook end to attack the throat after employing the shaft to leverage the elbow against the shoulder joint.
 

Rich Parsons

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If you going to try the double hand, look up dos manos.

As to what Tony stated, I cannot over repeat or emphasize that keeping the elbows in. About one hand width to one hand length away from your body. Try to keep your hand at shoulder or below your shoulder level. Once your hand goes up that far you loose frame work and strength for hitting and defense.

I wish you the best, and that you never have to use your training, yet I hope it becomes enjoyment and maybe even a passion for you.
 

lklawson

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I'm sorry that I missed this thread and, thus, am super late to the discussion.

If a person doesn't have time (or whatever) to go get "real instruction" on this type of weapon, I have only three bits of advice.

First: It's a stick. Hit them with it. Don't worry about anything fancy. Hit hard. Hit fast. Don't close to grappling (unless you know grappling), even if you're pretty sure they other person will (which they probably will). It's a stick, not a sword, not a knife, not a, well, anything else. It's a stick. Unless you've got a ferrule on the end then thrusts with a stick tend to have a lot less effectiveness. Yes, there are techniques for a stick-thrust which can be very effective, but that takes training that apparently the person isn't going to get. It's a stick. Hit them with it.

Second: Aim for the head. Look, there's some legal stuff to insert here and IANL so do some research. Hitting someone in the head with a stick is typically considered Deadly Force so don't do any of this stuff unless you can articulate to a jury of your peers why you were in danger of death or serious bodily harm. To continue, the simple fact is that the human body can typically suck up much much more damage that most people seem to give it credit for. Even when life threatening injuries have been incurred, people often are able to keep on fighting. Dying ain't dead. But, if the human body has an "off switch," it's the brain. The fact is that a hard enough strike to the head knocks people down and knocks people out. A strike delivered with the same force to the torso might break a rib or to the arm, might break an ulna. Good stuff, but it won't shut an attacker down. Brain injuries do. Depressed skull fractures still kill people and a forceful blow upside the head just plain stops people when the same blow to any other part of the body might not. Aim for the head.

Third: If they are holding a weapon (and you can't hit them in the head), hit the weapon bearing limb. I.E.: hit the weapon hand. A broken hand has a much harder time holding the weapon. Hit as close to the hand as possible. If you can't hit the hand, hit the wrist. If you can't hit the wist, hit the forearm. But the short version is: Hit the weapon hand.

So to summarize, It's a stick; him him with it. Hit hard and fast. Hit them in the head and the weapon hand.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

Zinobile

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Hello, Alan. Since I've been giving "cane fighting" some thought and practice lately, here are some thoughts:

1. It's good that you're practicing the forward thrust. I believe that it is best for the no-time-to-waste real fight where you're attacked with little or no hint of trouble in advance. Minimal motion + straight ahead attack = less opportunity for attacker to block your blow. Cane can be raised to the horizontal quickly while backing away from an initial attack & thrusting in immediately ... penetrating your target forcefully and deeply.
2. I see you coming forward off your back leg as you thrust. That's good, and I'd like to suggest that you focus on that motion, start from knee bent a little, then full-power forward thrust from foot, through leg, hips, shoulders, and arm ... entire body involved in a ballistic forward thrust without over-committing or going off-balance.
3. And of course, strike deeply & powerfully into your target. Head is a small target, but the most vulnerable if left open ... especially an eye. Throat is even more difficult, but very effective. Solar plexus is a good place to start due to target size, the pain, & maybe knocking the wind out of the attacker. But in any event, keep on striking until you're sure the bad guy's out of the fight. Do not strike once and admire your work.
4. Target penetration is key. I like to practice with paper, either secured on just up lightly to something with a clothes pin. Just to get the hang of penetration. Strike through, not at.
5. And finally, be sure to familiarize with self-defense laws in your state, appropriate force definition, etc.

Best wishes! Joe
 

tim po

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I'm sorry that I missed this thread and, thus, am super late to the discussion.

If a person doesn't have time (or whatever) to go get "real instruction" on this type of weapon, I have only three bits of advice.

First: It's a stick. Hit them with it. Don't worry about anything fancy. Hit hard. Hit fast. Don't close to grappling (unless you know grappling), even if you're pretty sure they other person will (which they probably will). It's a stick, not a sword, not a knife, not a, well, anything else. It's a stick. Unless you've got a ferrule on the end then thrusts with a stick tend to have a lot less effectiveness. Yes, there are techniques for a stick-thrust which can be very effective, but that takes training that apparently the person isn't going to get. It's a stick. Hit them with it.

Second: Aim for the head. Look, there's some legal stuff to insert here and IANL so do some research. Hitting someone in the head with a stick is typically considered Deadly Force so don't do any of this stuff unless you can articulate to a jury of your peers why you were in danger of death or serious bodily harm. To continue, the simple fact is that the human body can typically suck up much much more damage that most people seem to give it credit for. Even when life threatening injuries have been incurred, people often are able to keep on fighting. Dying ain't dead. But, if the human body has an "off switch," it's the brain. The fact is that a hard enough strike to the head knocks people down and knocks people out. A strike delivered with the same force to the torso might break a rib or to the arm, might break an ulna. Good stuff, but it won't shut an attacker down. Brain injuries do. Depressed skull fractures still kill people and a forceful blow upside the head just plain stops people when the same blow to any other part of the body might not. Aim for the head.

Third: If they are holding a weapon (and you can't hit them in the head), hit the weapon bearing limb. I.E.: hit the weapon hand. A broken hand has a much harder time holding the weapon. Hit as close to the hand as possible. If you can't hit the hand, hit the wrist. If you can't hit the wist, hit the forearm. But the short version is: Hit the weapon hand.

So to summarize, It's a stick; him him with it. Hit hard and fast. Hit them in the head and the weapon hand.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
It's a stick, but it's also a cane, and does have the advantage of not immediately being perceived as a weapon. it all comes down to your skills, what will work or get you in trouble, but do not discount surprise as a valuable tactic. a stick allows you to strike from outside of the range of danger, striking the weapon bearing limb with the end of the cane this way allows use of that distancing, and is safer than grappling against a knife.

I find that most canes are light and springy as opposed to hard and dense. they will not deliver force the way a bat or club will. i recommend if swinging strikes are employed use more of a snapping, whipping motion, like you would with a tactical baton. anywhere on the medial side of the head or neck is a viable target. unless you are using a composite cane, like I believe the original poster said he is? most ordinary canes will not likely deliver 'knockout ' force as they are not dense enough, but will surely stun and cause immediate pain.

the head and neck are going to be your opponents most carefully guarded targets, just like yours are. striking first for the head will likely be anticipated and meet resistance-the longer the struggle the more equal becomes the chance of failure. i think it is worth training lower body attacks and strikes that come up from within the centerline of the attackers body, under their chin and inside their defenses. coming up the center to the throat will not as easily be blocked and countered as swinging at the head, and ways of 'entering' and disrupting the attack should be considered first to weaken your opponent as a means to the end-that being to set up the brutal wack to the head if it so be.
 

lklawson

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It's a stick, but it's also a cane, and does have the advantage of not immediately being perceived as a weapon.
Years ago I was a strong participant in a group named "the perfect weapon" which was all about the cane and that it doesn't look like a weapon.

it all comes down to your skills, what will work or get you in trouble, but do not discount surprise as a valuable tactic. a stick allows you to strike from outside of the range of danger, striking the weapon bearing limb with the end of the cane this way allows use of that distancing, and is safer than grappling against a knife.

I find that most canes are light and springy as opposed to hard and dense. they will not deliver force the way a bat or club will. i recommend if swinging strikes are employed use more of a snapping, whipping motion, like you would with a tactical baton. anywhere on the medial side of the head or neck is a viable target. unless you are using a composite cane, like I believe the original poster said he is? most ordinary canes will not likely deliver 'knockout ' force as they are not dense enough, but will surely stun and cause immediate pain.
Light sticks make terrible weapons. A stinging strike is just pain and a lot of people don't feel pain, particularly when under stress or adrenal dump. You can't depend on it. Use a hardwood cane. They're inexpensive as hickory "stock canes" at farm and fleet store.

the head and neck are going to be your opponents most carefully guarded targets, just like yours are. striking first for the head will likely be anticipated and meet resistance-the longer the struggle the more equal becomes the chance of failure. i think it is worth training lower body attacks and strikes that come up from within the centerline of the attackers body, under their chin and inside their defenses. coming up the center to the throat will not as easily be blocked and countered as swinging at the head, and ways of 'entering' and disrupting the attack should be considered first to weaken your opponent as a means to the end-that being to set up the brutal wack to the head if it so be.
You keep mentioning "training." This thread, and my advice, is largely about people who won't/can't get that sort of training. But since you're talking about training, you should know that LEO ASP and baton training specifically teaches them how to NOT strike at the head. Anyway, I don't agree that hitting the head is as hard as it seems you are suggesting. My experience is that it isn't. In fact, when I teach defensive techniques, I have to work extra hard with people to get them to a point where they don't get beaned in the head. They seem to think that they can fade back or throw an arm in the way, neither of which actually works.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

tim po

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Years ago I was a strong participant in a group named "the perfect weapon" which was all about the cane and that it doesn't look like a weapon.


Light sticks make terrible weapons. A stinging strike is just pain and a lot of people don't feel pain, particularly when under stress or adrenal dump. You can't depend on it. Use a hardwood cane. They're inexpensive as hickory "stock canes" at farm and fleet store.


You keep mentioning "training." This thread, and my advice, is largely about people who won't/can't get that sort of training. But since you're talking about training, you should know that LEO ASP and baton training specifically teaches them how to NOT strike at the head. Anyway, I don't agree that hitting the head is as hard as it seems you are suggesting. My experience is that it isn't. In fact, when I teach defensive techniques, I have to work extra hard with people to get them to a point where they don't get beaned in the head. They seem to think that they can fade back or throw an arm in the way, neither of which actually works.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
I agree, trying to offer cautions for those without training, why I said your skill determines your best options. you must know the limitations of the weapon you hold and work within it's strengths.
 
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Alan0354

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WOW, all of a sudden this thread catches on fire!!!

I have not slack off, in fact I work even hard the last few months. The way I strike is quite different now, looking at the old video, I just did wild swing. I am practicing casting which is a lot more compact. I practice in tighter space to make sure I don't swing wild. I also spend time on footwork.

I hope I can make new videos soon. The videos in this thread is very old as that was only about 3 months after I started practicing. It's been a few months since.
 
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Alan0354

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Years ago I was a strong participant in a group named "the perfect weapon" which was all about the cane and that it doesn't look like a weapon.


Light sticks make terrible weapons. A stinging strike is just pain and a lot of people don't feel pain, particularly when under stress or adrenal dump. You can't depend on it. Use a hardwood cane. They're inexpensive as hickory "stock canes" at farm and fleet store.


You keep mentioning "training." This thread, and my advice, is largely about people who won't/can't get that sort of training. But since you're talking about training, you should know that LEO ASP and baton training specifically teaches them how to NOT strike at the head. Anyway, I don't agree that hitting the head is as hard as it seems you are suggesting. My experience is that it isn't. In fact, when I teach defensive techniques, I have to work extra hard with people to get them to a point where they don't get beaned in the head. They seem to think that they can fade back or throw an arm in the way, neither of which actually works.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
I use a 20oz fiber filled Nylon cane. It is stronger and heavier than wood cane. I go to two hand swing because I don't feel a lighter canes is good enough.

I practice a lot striking the legs. That's the hardest to protect area. I don't care whether it hurts or not, my first goal is to cripple the guy or at least not able to move as fast. Then strike the head. In fact, I don't want to strike the head alone, I do NOT want to kill the guy. My cane is no joke, you can't take a heavy head shot with this cane. I am sure hitting the neck or other parts of the body is very effective.
 
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lklawson

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I use a 20oz fiber filled Nylon cane. It is stronger and heavier than wood cane. I go to two hand swing because I don't feel a lighter canes is good enough.

I practice a lot striking the legs. That's the hardest to protect area. I don't care whether it hurts or not, my first goal is to cripple the guy or at least not able to move as fast.
That's really hard to do.

Then strike the head. In fact, I don't want to strike the head alone, I do NOT want to kill the guy. My cane is no joke, you can't take a heavy head shot with this cane. I am sure hitting the neck or other parts of the body is very effective.
You should be aware that many times using a cane is considered capable of deadly force. If you are not being assaulted with force sufficient to cause death or serious bodily harm (i.e.: Deadly Force) then you may not be legally justified in using a cane. What that means is that if you're legally justified in using your cane, then it should be legally justifiable to strike to the head and if you're not in fear of death or serious bodily harm, don't use your cane. It's a weapon.

You might want to consider pepper spray.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 
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Alan0354

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That's really hard to do.


You should be aware that many times using a cane is considered capable of deadly force. If you are not being assaulted with force sufficient to cause death or serious bodily harm (i.e.: Deadly Force) then you may not be legally justified in using a cane. What that means is that if you're legally justified in using your cane, then it should be legally justifiable to strike to the head and if you're not in fear of death or serious bodily harm, don't use your cane. It's a weapon.

You might want to consider pepper spray.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
At my age, it's a lot easier to justify. Cane is a deterrent, best self defense is not even have to defend. I make it a point to carry with my left hand and not even touching the ground. Kind of having a sign "don't trod on me". Then, if I have to fight, use it. Nothing wrong with hitting the leg.

I always carry a pepper spray.
 
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Alan0354

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That's really hard to do.
What do you mean? Hard to strike the legs? Or hard to disable the person striking the legs? I don't think it's particularly hard to strike, just squat down a little. I practice a lot going low and going high. Like the first strike to leg, then to neck and neck on the other side. 3 strikes.
 
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lklawson

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What do you mean? Hard to strike the legs? Or hard to disable the person striking the legs? I don't think it's particularly hard to strike, just squat down a little. I practice a lot going low and going high. Like the first strike to leg, then to neck and neck on the other side. 3 strikes.
I mean that it is hard to disable a person by striking at the legs. Everyone thinks that it's easy to hyperextend the knee with a kick or a strike but it's not. The human leg and knee are custom designed to bear lots of weight and take lots of impact. Knee injuries do happen but they are usually due to twisting the knee/leg in the wrong way and, even then, are not usually enough to take a determined person out of the fight.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

Oily Dragon

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What a coincidence. I'm practicing with a jo right now, due to knee injury!

When I twirl this thing around, I don't imagine hitting people with it (well I sometimes do), but keeping them at bay. I mean, I could bash someone's brains out with this thing, but I would never want to.

But put fear in their heads so they don't even approach me? That's the best defense there is. NO laws against an old man waving a stick around...
 

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I mean that it is hard to disable a person by striking at the legs. Everyone thinks that it's easy to hyperextend the knee with a kick or a strike but it's not. The human leg and knee are custom designed to bear lots of weight and take lots of impact. Knee injuries do happen but they are usually due to twisting the knee/leg in the wrong way and, even then, are not usually enough to take a determined person out of the fight.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk

I totally agree on general leg shots, the muscles can take a lot of abuse. That said I have (twice) ended fights with shots to the side of the knee with a 10 ounce rattan stick. One fight on the first hit it wasn't weight bearing any longer and on the second shot to the same knee and essentially the same location he was done. The other fight it took a single shot to end the fight, it is possible that guy could have kept going but it would certainly have impacted his mobility at the very least. In both of the those cases there was no actual permanent damage.

I saw a stick hit that split the kneecap that ended that fight immediately and I have seen stick hits to the top of the foot absolutely take guys out of fights. I don't see any reason why a cane to these targets wouldn't do the same.
 
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Alan0354

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I mean that it is hard to disable a person by striking at the legs. Everyone thinks that it's easy to hyperextend the knee with a kick or a strike but it's not. The human leg and knee are custom designed to bear lots of weight and take lots of impact. Knee injuries do happen but they are usually due to twisting the knee/leg in the wrong way and, even then, are not usually enough to take a determined person out of the fight.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
Remember, I am swinging a 20oz fiber filled Nylon cane with both hands, not a rattan or even wood cane with one hand. It hits a lot harder. That's the whole reason I quit single hand cane fight all together after seeing on video people wacking each other stupid but they can still keep on fighting. Those light escrima stick has no stopping power. Just looks pretty with all the fancy swings.

I don't need to break the leg, just slow him down. It got to hurt and injure the leg even thought it is not broken. Also, I do follow up with the top strike, not just one strike.

Hell, same goes to punching and kicking. You really think you can drop a person with one punch or kick? Chances are very very low unless you are Tyson.

Oh yeh, If the people still coming after the leg shot, then it's life and death and it's fair game.

I don't want to start out going for the kill. If I want that, I have plenty of handguns I can carry out and I am good enough to put the round between their eyes if it is a few feet away!!!
 

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I totally agree on general leg shots, the muscles can take a lot of abuse. That said I have (twice) ended fights with shots to the side of the knee with a 10 ounce rattan stick. One fight on the first hit it wasn't weight bearing any longer and on the second shot to the same knee and essentially the same location he was done. The other fight it took a single shot to end the fight, it is possible that guy could have kept going but it would certainly have impacted his mobility at the very least. In both of the those cases there was no actual permanent damage.

I saw a stick hit that split the kneecap that ended that fight immediately and I have seen stick hits to the top of the foot absolutely take guys out of fights. I don't see any reason why a cane to these targets wouldn't do the same.
I would modify Kirk's statement to read "It is hard to reliably disable a person by striking at the legs." The potential is there to drop someone with one shot to the knees, but I don't know how many people can do that consistently. (It's probably harder to develop that consistent capability because most of us aren't trying to permanently damage our sparring partners. If we just had a holodeck or the Matrix to train in, it would be a lot easier to build that sort of reliable skill.)
 

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