Throughout history, the cane has been a fashion accessory and personal-defense weapon in many cultures; however, in modern times, it is primarily regarded as a mobility aid for people with physical disabilities or injuries. This image of the cane, along with the fact that no medical justification is required to use one, qualify it as the ultimate “PC” weapon—but only if it is powered by a functional skill set.

Before we examine practical cane technique, let’s accept the fact that we all get old. As such, we need to understand the difference between being an able-bodied person who chooses to carry a cane and being an older person who may need to carry one. Obviously, the more limited your physical attributes, the simpler and more effective your tactics need to be.

We also need to draw a hard line between “martial arts” and actual “self-defense.” Self-defense is simple: It is all about stopping your attacker from hurting you by either disabling him or causing enough direct, unavoidable pain that he chooses to quit. Conversely, holding him in a complicated martial-artsy joint lock while you hope he finds religion is not a direct route to personal safety.
With all that in mind, the unfortunate truth is that most cane “systems” being taught today are far too complicated and too physically intense to qualify as practical self-defense—especially for someone who relies on a cane as a mobility aid. Faced with that truth, I set out to develop a cane system that could be learned with a minimum of training time, be simple enough to remember without much regular practice, and, most importantly, be physically achievable by people with limited physical attributes. Building on these requirements, I also wanted the system to be versatile enough so that folks who do have the benefit of greater strength can pursue a higher skill set if they choose to. As they age, if their physical abilities diminish, they can “scale” their tactics accordingly. That system is known as Martial Cane Concepts or MCC for short.

MCC is based on the idea of using simple, easily learned sequences of movement as the basis for a wide variety of combative applications. The idea is to “have a plan and work your plan.” By understanding that all motions have multiple potential applications, you can learn, apply and adapt techniques to real defensive situations very quickly.

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