‘Everybody was a Cane Fu Fighting’

Who says fighting is a young people’s game? We have all heard of kung-fu. Now, there is “cane-fu”, or just simply called cane fighting.

At the St. Leonard retirement village in Ohio, some senior citizens have found a way to exercise during their physical decline, while others are using cane fighting as a weapon to defend themselves. The YouTube video, “Granny C. Takes on the Bulletman”, sees a woman in her seventies jabbing and taking down a man in a helmet posing as an intruder in a cane class.

Several gave thanks to 61-year-old Mark Shuey, who is also an expert in both tae kwon do and hapkido, which brings stick fighting at advanced levels. Shuey got into cane fighting a decade ago while studying hapkido. It was during that time that his father started walking with a stick, and been hearing reports on seniors with canes being attacked but never knowing how to use them as self-defense. Now, Shuey goes around the world teaching “American Cane System” curriculum to several martial-arts teachers, which has gone three times to teach it at 300 different organizations.

According to cane fighting converts, one of the great things about a cane is that it is a legal weapon that can be carried anywhere — unconcealed.

The Canadian magazine, Martial Arts Experts, called cane fighting “the weapon you can take anywhere” in 2003. Besides known as cane-fu, cane fighting is also called “combat” cane, and is now endorsed by at least eight martial arts organizations.