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When the cane is mightier than the sword

April 13, 2015

An excellent article on cane defense in New York City, as used by James I. Pearson…

HEMA MISFITS (I don't do longsword)


As I indicated in my latest article on Irish stick fighting, outide of the traditionnal styles there exists perhaps only two documentary sources which would allow us to reconstruct a workable style of bataireacht. Both of them present characteristics which are presented in other sources as well as in the traditions. But there are also styles of stick fighting from other countries which present similar elements. This new source which I am presenting today is perhaps one of them. The Pearson style of walking stick as a weapon, or “stick control” first became known to us through a 1924 short story called “Nightmare town” by Dashiel Hammet.


Hemmet portraiying The Thin Man, one of the characters he created

When this excerpt came to the attention of the HEMA community, it was instantly compared to Irish stick, mostly for its grip. Had Hammet learned boiscin somehow or observed it?

Threefall Credit…

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  1. Jake Pontillo permalink

    I have , for various reasons, needed a cane since 1987. I also taught TaeKwonDo for 42 years. I think the cane is an almost perfect defensive tool. Mine is actually a stock man’s cane ( for moving livestock) so it is stronger and has a wider crook to it. But you can disarm almost anybody with it, take them down or even incapacitate an opponent. Plus you can take it anywhere.. Try walking down the street with a Katana! YET you can use a lot of Katana techniques with a cane. Plus a lot of techniques from other martial arts weapons.


    • Jake – Yes, absolutely, I agree! The cane really is one of the most practical self-defense tools…it’s got great range, plus it’s perfectly legal. If you do a search on this site, you’ll find we have several articles about the use of the cane, picturing different old systems.


      • Jake Pontillo permalink

        I wonder why Police are not issued and taught to use canes. I used to tell my TKD Students that if you tell somebody to do something and you have a gun, and they do not do it, you really only can shoot him. But with a cane you can give him a rap on the elbow, knee, shoulder whatever , give him a hook on the ankle, whatever… convince him to go along with your program. AND of course , the biggie you can take it anywhere…


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