The Cane as a Weapon: An American Martial Art for Those Who Like Umbrellas

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In the year 1912, an American named Andrew Chase Cunningham created a book. This book described an interesting martial art that had the same name as the book: The Cane as a Weapon. This martial art is a concise system of self-defense all about fighting off attackers by using a walking stick or umbrella as a weapon. Cunningham was a civil engineer with the United States Navy throughout the later part of the nineteenth century and the early decades of the twentieth century, so he was not someone who knew nothing about martial arts or combat before he created his own.

A lot of this particular martial art is based on fencing, a martial art that Cunningham practiced in his free time. Although some European authors had previously written articles on the subject of self-defense with a walking cane, Cunningham's particular martial art was unique in several aspects. For example, The Cane as a Weapon focuses on having three basic guard positions that make it easy to defend yourself while making the person defending themselves appear to be non-threatening to their attacker.

Basically, this martial art is supposed to give the defender an advantage by attempting to make them look non-threatening to any potential attacker while allowing the said defender to easily deflect oncoming attacks; meanwhile, European martial arts focused on using walking canes and umbrellas for defense told the martial artists to take up fencing poses that made it obvious to attackers that the person they were attempting to harm knows how to fight. On top of that, one of the main moves used in Cunningham's martial art is powerful, upward-sweeping parries, something that was not used as often in other martial arts focused around walking sticks.

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