By Jean Joseph-Renaud
Part 1 of “Practical Fencing With The Cane” is taken from “La Defense Dans La Rue” written by Jean JOSEPH RENAUD 1912.
Renaud was a professor of Savate, Jui-Jitsu, La Canne and Le Couteau. He taught the use of the revolver and was well versed in the dirty tricks of the French Apache.
Often featured in French news papers of the era, Renaud offered tips on self defence for both men and women to combat the on going problems with the French Apache .
This article on the cane highlights his thoughts on the long range use of the weapon.
While his writings indicate that he was in disagreement with the larger developments
( arming or chambering phase used prior to striking ) he does acknowledge that their use was valid when finishing of a “groggy” opponent .
Boxing played a large role in Renauds analogy of the strikes used in his approach to French cane .
Special thanks to Martin Prisse for translating this article .
“En guard” have the cane in front of you, the nails under, like the sword but elbow closer to the torso to avoid someone taking your cane by surprise.
Strike (horizontal) to the right side of the face
From the “en guard” position, without describing the big horizontal circles mentioned in the classical methods the wrist and the forearm must go backward a few centimetres and then go to the right in the same time that the hand turns, stretch the arm nearly completely out (when striking) – otherwise the blow wouldn’t be as violent at the end.
Hit with the nails on top. In the same time cut through lightly but this follow through must not happen after the arm is stretched out like in fencing, but on the contrary in the same time exactly like if you are giving a punch .The action should be that of a punch.
Strike (horizontal) to the left side of the face
From the same position, hit the other side of the opponents face in the same manner but in the opposite direction with the nails under.
Strike (horizontal) to the legs and body
In regards to striking the shin and the body this strike is the same as above.
Strike (vertical) to the head
Let fall the top of the cane and bring it back a little so it describes a circular movement, the thumb is facing under and the elbow is not moved back. Continue the circle and strike down on the opponent’s head, thumb finishes on top.
Feints are executed like real attacks but stoped approximately half way.
These principles might irritate some professors who teach that to hit a target 50cms away, it is first required to bring the cane back behind your neck.
Please think about this, a beginner will have to train a few weeks before being able to hit with strength but employing our method he will hit with strength as with the classical method.
In Boxing does the student receive instruction from his American or English professors
(Instructors) to bring back his fist to his shoulder before the hit? In the contrary he is told
“You must throw your fist directly and get in the habit of hitting with strength this way”. It’s the same principle that applies with the cane.
By using a development you will never hit fast and precisely and you expose yourself every time you bring your cane back for a strike.
On the contrary, by hitting directly nearly like a punch, with a good final contraction of all the muscles, especially the forearm muscles, you have a lot of strength and good speed – and your attacks are less exposed.
When an opponent attacks you with a development you have the time to execute a violent stop hit and even do a parry if the stop hit was not sufficient.
Note that when you can expose yourself without risk, then you can use a developed strike. For example in the street, you can simulate the beginnings of a strike to the head looking carefully into the eyes of the inexperienced opponent,
and then hit the leg with a formidable developed strike. Or if you have already stunned the opponent with several ordinary strikes, you can, with no risk, finish him with a committed strike that you can develop as much as you like.
Many fighters, when their opponent is groggy, will not hesitate to finish with strikes given by the weight of the right arm half swinging half crossing in which they use a lot of preparation and all their body weight and muscle strength -these strikes would be impossible or dangerous to try in front of a fresh opponent.
Where to hit
The areas to strike are both sides of the face, the shins, the wrist and the top of the head if not protected by a hat .
The feints that I recommend are as follows .
- Feint a strike to the head, hit to the left or right of the tibia (shin) depending on the position of the opponent, of course never strike the calf muscle which is the same rule with the coup de pied bas (low kick).
- Feint a strike to the left side of the face and strike the wrist the moment he parries.
- Feint a strike at the side of the face and hit the tibia.
- Feint a strike at the left or right tibia and hit the top of the head.
- Feint a strike at the tibia and strike the side of the face.
- Feint a strike at the top of the head, and make a strike at the body.
- Feint a strike at the body with the tip of the cane and make a strike at the face followed by a strike at the tibia.
- Feint a strike at the face with tip of the cane and strike the tibia.
The feints must be more ” drawn ” than when really executed, the general body attitude and facial expressions trick the opponent more than the actual movements of the cane.
Parry the left side of the face and riposte with a strike to the tibia.
Parry the right side of he face and reply with a strike to the left side of the face and double to the right side of the face.
(Like in boxing, you must double or triple the strikes, often, the first strike will not knock your opponent out .)
As soon as the first strike touches, you must give a second- (if the first has been parried and replied, you must of course parry the reply and give another straight away, this is called a counter riposte.)
Parry the tibia, riposte to the head and then double to the shin (right or left depending on the position).
Parry the right side of the body, riposte to the left side of the face, triple by striking to the head and follow with a strike to the left side of the face.
Parry left side of the face, triple to the head and left side of the face.
Strike to the right side of the face -double.
Strike to the left side of the face – double.
Strike to the tibia, double it to the head, and triple it with a strike to the right side of the face.
Parry the left side of the face, riposte with a strike using the tip of the cane to the face and double to the right side of the face and tibia.
(The strike with the tip of the cane is executed like a straight shot (thrust) in fencing but the extension and step is performed at the sane time.)