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Cane Fu
So hip even the elderly do it!
"If you try this at home, you'll quickly find out what australopithecus already knew— swinging a stick doesn't require a lot of training. In fact, it's so basic one could argue that wooden clubbing has been obsolete nearly as long as our vestigial tails. Once you as a one day mugging victim can distinguish between your cane and your hot dog, you're 85% done with all you need to know about stick fighting."

The use of a cane as an Improvised Weapon. Often associated with When Elders Attack, next to Handbag of Hurt. Given the bent shape, it can also double as a hook. A Justified Trope in that the Korean martial art Hapkido, the European Savate and Bartitsu and the France Canne utilize the walking cane as a potentially deadly weapon. Of course, consider for a moment that a cane, to be useful in its designed purpose, has to be strong enough to support a person's weight, and long enough to allow themselves to hold themselves upright with it. That combination makes for a potentially very effective melee weapon.

See also Sword Cane, when the cane is concealing a bladed weapon. May overlap with Parasol of Pain.

Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Tuxedo Mask of Sailor Moon has a cane he wields like a sword. It can also act as a telescoping weapon, magically extending out to smack his enemies.
  • The weapon of choice for Bem in Humanoid Monster Bem.
  • Baron uses his cane as one in The Cat Returns.
    Haru: I never knew they were so useful!
  • The Rozen Maiden Shinku sometimes uses her cane as a parrying weapon.
  • Ranma ½: Cologne.

    Comic Books 
  • Daredevil sometimes does this with his cane when trouble arises in his civilian identity as Matt Murdoch. Before he got his fancy combat staff, he fought with a cane as the Daredevil as well. And of course his billy clubs are his cane in his civilian life.
  • Fiddler's Green from The Sandman.
  • Silhouette, of the New Warriors, is partially crippled, and incorporates her crutches into her fighting style.
  • Splinter, Old Master of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
  • Batman: Bruce Wayne during the Knightquest arc, after having his spine broken by Bane.

    Films — Animation 
  • Rafiki in The Lion King; he uses his staff quite well in the scene where he's taking on a group of hyenas.
  • Carl Fredricksen does this in Up.

    Films — Live-Action 

    Literature 
  • In Dashiell Hammett's short story "Nightmare Town", the protagonist always carries a straight cane, weighted at both ends, and uses it to defend himself multiple times, with great effect.
  • In Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn novels, many nobles and trained bodyguards known as hazekillers wield heavy, sturdy dueling canes in place of blades. Metal can be telekinetically manipulated by some kinds of allomancers, making a sword or knife a vulnerability rather than an asset.
  • In Isaac Asimov's novel Forward The Foundation, an aged Hari Seldon is about to be attacked, and uses his weighted cane to smash the would-be attacker before he attacks (advised by his granddaughter Wanda). He gets into some trouble over this.
  • Sherlock Holmes is an expert singlestick player.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The First Doctor used his cane as a weapon in the early Doctor Who serials. At one point, he and a robotic duplicate even engaged in a canefight.
  • Played with in an episode of Victorious where the students at Hollywood Arts have to do stage-fighting. Tori and Jade's skit is about a mugger and an old lady with a cane.
  • Inferred in one CSI: Crime Scene Investigation episode-Doc Robbins takes down a guy trying to steal a body from the morgue, and it's very likely his crutch played a big part in it.
  • Mr. Gold of Once Upon a Time walks with a cane (as well as a limp, naturally), and in "Skin Deep" uses it to deliver a particularly vicious beating upon the man who stole his teacup. Seriously, bones are broken.
    • To be fair the teacup is the only thing he had left of his True Love. Additionally, the man who stole it is also the man who Rumpelstiltskin thinks caused her death
    • He whips it out again on Captain Hook as retaliation for attacking Belle and stealing Baelfire's cloak.
  • Dr. House doesn't quite fight with his trusty walking cane, but it is not rare for him to use it to block, push away or trip someone as part of his usual antisocial antics. And then there's episode "Bombshells" and the Dream Sequence of House fighting his teammembers-turned-zombies with his cane, including turning it into an axe and then into a shotgun.

     Professional Wrestling 

    Tabletop Games 
  • La Canne de Combat from GURPS: Martial Arts is a Parisian combat form that uses a gentleman's cane as its primary weapon. This is a real French martial art, usually taught as a part of Savate training.

    Theatre 
  • John Adams and John Dickinson end up coming to blows in the musical 1776, making use of this trope. And yes, this scene does make it in the movie.

    Video Games 
  • The Big Bad Ripburger in Full Throttle uses his cane as a weapon at least twice: to beat Malcolm Corley to death and in the final fight against Ben, though Ben manages to disarm his pretty fast.
  • This is one of the Joke Weapons in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.
  • Dan in MediEvil 2 gets a Cane Stick as a reward for bringing the first Chalice to the professor. It has a weak stabbing attack, but when fully charged it can be slammed into the ground, generating a shockwave.
  • Frank Stiles, of Freedom Force fame, got his walking stick turned into the Patriot Staff in the events that turned him into Minuteman. Now he uses it to bludgeon people while shouting "Right Makes Might!"
  • Scrooge McDuck used his cane as a primary weapon, tool, and pogo stick in the NES DuckTales games.
  • Samurai Warriors 3: Hojo Ujiyasu uses his cane as a primary tool, both as a bludgeoning object and a rifle hidden in the body of said cane.
  • Raphael in the SoulCalibur series has a gentleman's cane as an unlockable joke weapon.
  • Fallout: New Vegas features the White Glove Society, who run the Ultra-Luxe Casino. Their shtick is nice suits, slightly creepy masks, and Cane Fu. Due to having to hand over your weapons to (peacefully) enter the casino, The easiest way to arm yourself should shit hit the fan inside the casino is to arm yourself with one of their canes. It's at this point the player discovers that, holy shit, this thing is pretty powerful.
  • Radius and Sprigg from Chrono Cross both use canes to beat on monsters, and are both good examples of When Elders Attack.
  • Sly Cooper's weapon of choice is a cane with a hook at the end that he can use to cling onto objects to swing around.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable: The Gears of Destiny shows that this is the weapon of choice of Fate's tutor, Rynith. The fact that she channels her magic down the shaft of the straight cane she wields means that her swings have a surprising amount of range and power behind them.
  • In Super Punch Out you have Hoy Quarlow; well it's more of a staff but he uses his with gusto.
  • The fourth boss of The Ninja Warriors Again uses a cane to whack you with. Unlike most of the other bosses (genetic mutants, machines, or ki practicioners), he doesn't have any powers, but that cane can hurt robot ninjas just as much as the other mooks.
  • Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze has Cranky Kong use his cane in a number of offensive ways, most notably a pogo stick bounce similar to Scrooge's.

    Web Original 
  • Terezi from Homestuck, Her STRIFE Specibus is her walking cane (she's blind), which also doubles as a multi-sectioned stave in a Shout-Out to Daredevil.
    • Clubs Deuce uses a cane as his preferred weapon. Crosses over to Improbable Weapon User: You flip the fuck out over the fact that this is apparently a BULL PENIS CANE.
    ''Everybody out of the god damn way. You got a hat full of bomb, a fist full of penis, and a head full of empty."
  • In Ruby Quest, Red uses his signature cane in this way more than once.
  • RWBY antagonist Roman Torchwick utilizes this as his primary fighting style. It's a particularly epic example considering he uses it to fend of two attackers simultaneously, one of whom utilizes Flash Step and the other a pair of Gunchakus.

    Western Animation 
  • Looney Tunes short All Abir-r-r-d!: Sylvester and Tweety are on a train. When Sylvester tries to grab Tweety, the conductor hits Sylvester's paw with a cane.
  • This is a favorite move of elderly Bruce Wayne in Batman Beyond.
  • The Riddler displays some mad Cane Fu skills in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "The Criss-Cross Conspiracy!", using his cane to deflect a barrage of batarangs.
  • Scrooge McDuck on DuckTales, even more frequently than in the comics, most prominently in DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp. His cane is also occasionally shown to contain various gadgets, from a laser beam (when he adopted the nighttime vigilante Super Hero hobby common for billionaires) to a magnet he uses to pick up spare coins, so perhaps he even has a collection.
  • The Duke of Detroit does this on Motorcity.
  • Sherlock Holmes is a master of this in Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century, using a collapsible walking stick as his primary weapon.

    Real Life 
  • There's a form of martial arts invented by the French, "La Canne de combat", that revolves around using a cane as a weapon. It's roughly similar to sabre fencing.
    • In France, during the 1920s/1930s, the leaded cane (a cane made heavier with lead, especially at the tip) was actively used during street fights between ultra-nationalists (mostly royalists) and communists. Dueling was extremely popular from peasants to nobles until WWI when it started dying out (although the last known one took place in 1967).
  • Similarly there was a nineteenth-century British Mixed Martial Arts schema known as Bartitsu (chiefly remembered nowadays as the possible source for the mysterious "baritsu" mentioned in Sherlock Holmes stories) which uses a walking stick as the primary weapon, along with throwing and punching. Not surprisingly, it drew heavily on La Canne, Judo, and Boxing.
  • Most airports will prevent you from carrying a cane onto your flight unless it's apparent that you need it to support yourself. This is presumably because any terrorist trying to hijack a plane with a stick would be too stupid to pretend to limp. Or you need it because you are blind. The airline can require you to bring a doctor's note, and this has been the case since well before 9/11. They also tend to frown upon the more explicitly weaponized canes that are weighted, have additional knobs for joint locks, or have the pointed hook end.
  • Sir Kief av Kierstad, one-legged fighter in the Society For Creative Anachronism, has achieved knighthood with a single sword and crutch. As immortalized in Leslie Fish's Filk Song "The Cripples' Shield Wall."
  • Andrew Jackson once defeated a would-be assassin with a cane. This was the first attempt to assassinate a US President; being in 1835, both of the assassin's guns were flintlocks, both of which jammed. And when the would-be assassin tried to flee Jackson was so annoyed by yet another assassination attempt that he went after the assassin and nearly beat him to death.
  • In 1856, after Senator Charles Sumner berated Senator Andrew Butler for fighting for slavery (which included much ridicule on his mannerisms), Butler's nephew, Senator Preston Brooks, retaliated by beating him with his heavy cane until it broke. As would be expected in pre-Civil War America, Brooks was hailed a hero in the South (with Sumner the same in the North).
  • Some versions of Hapkido include the hooked cane as one of the core weapons.
  • There are actual self-defense classes for the elderly. They're even nicknamed "Cane-Fu".


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