For senior citizens looking to add another defense to their arsenal, ‘cane-fu’ might be the answer. While typically associated with fragility, a cane can become a powerful weapon in the hands of a capable cane-fu master.
The Orlando Police Department is now teaching cane-fu courses to area senior citizens, adding to their self-defense offerings, and many other areas offer similar classes.
Mark Shuey Jr. is credited as the founder of cane-fu. He created the discipline after noticing his father felt a stigma surrounding his cane. Shuey is trained in a variety of martial arts and saw the untapped potential of combining the cane with martial arts.
Shuey told ABC’s “20/20”, “It's a medical device, so it's always with you. If you carry a knife, you've got to take it out of the sheath. If you carry a gun, you have to take it out of the holster. [With] a cane, you're already locked and loaded.”
The term ‘cane-fu’ was popularized in the media several years ago, and cane-fu self-defense classes have been popping up ever since. Transitioning a cane from a stigmatized elderly device into a self-defense has appealed to many American seniors.
The American elderly face much lower rates of violent victimization than the general population. According to a U.S. Department of Justice special report, Americans over the age of 65 face 3.6 victimizations per 1,000 people as opposed to the sky-high rate of 50 per 1,000 people for the 12-24 age group.
Despite the low rates of violent crime against seniors, many elderly Americans feel they are in a particularly vulnerable position due to their advancing age. Cane-fu offers a unique path to self-reliance, and it can de-stigmatize the medical use of a cane. Perhaps most importantly, it offers an avenue for seniors to stay active in a communal setting.
Interested seniors may want to look for cane-fu classes in their area, as the budding self-defense style may already be in your area.
Groups like American Cane Self Defense offer teacher certifications, training and specific canes to use for the self-defense method.
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