A Guide To The Art of Cane Self Defense and Health Enhancement
By “Walking the Circle”, the CaneFlow Caner learns how to negate the opponent’s range of attack and deliver an incapacitating counterstrike from any angle.
“It’s dancing with a Cane”. “The combative applications are hidden in the dance.” “It has multiple layers of reveal and the deeper you go, the more you understand.” “The Cane teaces the empty hand”. These statements all describe CaneFlow a component of American Cane Self Defense (ACSD) known for its’ flowing, dance like cane handling and footwork which couples elusive tactics and evasiveness with powerful applications. Known for its’ practice of “Walking the Circle”, the method is geared towards training Caners to maintain safe distances, limiting the opponent’s angles and options for attack, and leaving the same wide open for powerful counters.
CaneFlow (CF) was developed by ACSD founder Joe Robaina 3 decades ago and increased dramatically in popularity during pandemic times due to how well it lends itself to at-home solo training without the need for a training partner. The movement based art which is taught globally via a unque online training method, is designed to engrain the skills in the nerve system so the Caner can respond to an assault effictively, bypassing the “freeze” response in a timely fashion, so they can protect themselves as well as those under their care.
In-person training is offered weekly at ACSD HQ in Miami, Fl and two annual training events are attended by Caners worldwide, Winter (Feb) and Fall (Sept) Cane Immersions respecitively. These are 4-day training events with the ACSD founder and Certified coaches in an intimate setting which includes themed certifications. Attendance is always limited for the best learning experience.
Although ACSD is well known for it’s powershot template, CaneFlow uses evasive footwork and combination striking from all angles to defeat the opponent. This is based on the founder’s premise that “footwork gets you in/out of trouble.” The emphasis is on destroying the attack, and not the attacker. This principled approach to self defense requires greater skill and control. It should be noted that beggining Caners are first taught how to be effective with their Canes in real time (not years), before they are introduced to the “dance” which is considered the “heart” of the ACSD system. Caners who choose to only learn the first level of the system (Leader) have only one way to deal with aggression and are considered limited in their responses. Level 2 (Advanced) combines ACSD powershots with circular footwork patterns and advanced Cane handling concepts that produce high level movement patterns for effective self defense. It is interesting to note, that while most cane self defense approaches assume the opponent is untrained, ACSD prepares Caners as if the opponent were also highly trained. This type of training requires time and patience but the result is an advanced understanding of the dynamics of combat.
The CaneFlow Circle
ACSD Caners focus a good portion of their training on learning how to “walk the circle, enter the circle, and navigate the circle” with figure 8 footwork patterns, cane handling skills and empty hands. The circle walk is continuous with intent focused on unseen opponents, a practice that teaches Caners how to move effectively against multiple opponents who may be armed. Under assault, the Caner has three main areas to protect: head, limbs, center line. Likewise, because fighters instinctively want to protect their bodies, ACSD Caners become adept at targeting limbs. “If we take out the limb, we win” is a well known ACSD axiom. By incapacitating the limb(s), the opponent can no longer hold a weapon and his attack is essentially rendered ineffective. Learning how to walk the CaneFlow circle teaches the Caner how to maintain proper distance, when and how to engage, and counter from any angle. However, because CaneFlow is always movement based, it is always changing which makes it difficult for the opponent to predict the angle the Caner will be coming from. From the Cane movements come the empty hand skills which emphasize penetrating strikes and clawing motions generating power from coordinating upper and lower body movements. Empty handed, ACSD is known for its’ emphasis on open hand strikes.
Palms, Hammers, Claws Preferred
It is estimated 80-90% of the hand tecniques in ACSD are palm heel strikes, hammer fists or claws for raking and seizing. Although vertical fists and one knuckle strikes are used and can be found in ACSD forms, the belief is most people’s fists are not conditioned to strike which may result in injury. The emphasis is on keeping the limbs fliud and relaxed until the moment of impact. Striking vital points to weaken and incapcitate attacks is emphasized. Although the CaneFlow Caner is always shifiting and moving to leave an opponent out of strking range and off balance, at the Masters level (Level 3) the concept of a strong stance and body conditioning is introduced in ACSD Form 5. Combined with specific breathing methods, Form 5 trains the Caner to take a blow if necessary and deliver a more powerful one. The breathing and strategy taught at this stage, helps develop the Caner’s mindset and couracge for combat. CaneFlow kicks are all low, targeting opponent’s lower limbs and feet (stomping is hidden in the footwork). Higher kicks which may compromise balance and the ability to move quickly are avoided.
Everything Is A Self Defense Tool
Although the Cane is the main tool used in ACSD CaneFlow, the templates and movements can be applied to just about any implement. All cane models http://www.canemasters.com, knife, sticks of all lengths, improvisational tools such as broken bottles, key chains, pens, and belts to name a few. Since the founder is a Certified CRMIPT Intructor under GM Bram Frank https://www.cssd-sc.com/bram-frank/ , the tool has made it’s way into the hands of ACSD Caners. So have Russian shovels and ropes. Double Canes are taught at the Masters level with both hands utilized equally. This differentiates it from systems which are one side predominant or where one side is used to block and the other to strike. Lastly, with Joe Robaina being named heir of Sobrevivencia (the Cuban Cane Art of Survival), https://youtu.be/5YEtacjcFFI , SV’s “artifacts of combat” have also found their way to CaneFlow.