Speak softly and carry a big stick.

Martial Arts New York

“Few persons who carry canes or umbrellas realize that they have at hand at once an effective and, in the hands of a skilled fencer, a formidable weapon for protection against assault. Even in the hands of a novice it may be so wielded as to stand off and subsequently subdue a “gang” of roughs when no other weapon, except possibly a revolver, would avail.”

Of interest to the student of self-defense is the short 1898 treatise of Justin Bonnafous, a fencing master who taught in the Philadelphia area during the late nineteenth century. Fencing masters of this period often offered instruction in the use of the stick or cane, including formal systems of La Canne or Royal Cane, as well as other practical self-defense techniques for use against criminals or toughs in “street” scenarios. We find an example of this in New York City as early as 1827, when a fencing professor named…

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