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Cane Fu

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"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."
Seanbaby, "4 Everyday Items You Didn't Know Were Weapons"

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 British Bartitsu, and the French Savate and Canne utilize the walking cane as a potentially deadly weapon. Of course, consider for a moment that a cane, to be effective 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.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Baron uses his cane as one in The Cat Returns.
    Haru: I never knew they were so useful!
  • Laid-back Yakuza executive Mizuki Akabayashi from Durarara!! may seem mellow, but if you think that gaudy cane is just for decoration you have another thing coming.
  • The weapon of choice for Bem in Humanoid Monster Bem.
  • Ranma ½: Cologne.
  • The Rozen Maiden Shinku sometimes uses her cane as a parrying weapon.
  • 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.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • Rafiki in The Lion King (1994); he uses his staff quite well in the scene where he's taking on a group of hyenas.
  • In The Pagemaster, after transforming, Mr. Hyde uses Dr. Jekyll's cane to attack Richard and the others.
  • Carl Fredricksen does this in Up.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • From Terry Pratchett's Discworld Lord Vetinari, Patrician of Ankh-Morpork, walks with a cane thanks to an injury from a botched assassination attempt. His enemies are convinced the cane conceals a blade. Vetenari encourages the rumor because, "if people think your stick might be a sword, they forget that it's definitely a stick."
  • Fengshen Yanyi: Laozi/Taishang Laojun. All the other heads of the main religions (the taoist patriarchs Yuanshi Tianzun and Tongtian Jiaozhu and the two Buddhist leaders Zhunti Daoren and Jieyin Daoren) tend to use powerful precious tools as weapons, including curved scepters, swords, hammers, holy tools and demon-slaying pestles. Laozi only has an unremarkable bamboo cane, but he can still use it to whack Tongtian on the back hard enough to actually wound him... and both are pretty much lesser gods!
  • 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.
  • In Journey to the West, The White Deer Spirit of Bixiu fights Sun Wukong with a beautiful-looking, dragon-engraved cane... downplayed in that he's still one of Monkey's weakest opponents in a fair fight.
  • In Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn novels, many nobles and trained bodyguards were 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 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.
  • Sherlock Holmes is an expert singlestick player. The narration mentions Bartitsu by (misspelled) name to justify it (and in fact the series is set at the same time the Bartitsu gym was teaching).
  • In Six of Crows, Kaz Brekker uses his Classy Cane both to walk and as a weapon—in fact, it’s weighted to break bones. In the second novel, Crooked Kingdom, he uses it as a weapon multiple times during the fight with the Dregs.
  • In Skulduggery Pleasant, Valkyrie gets a stick as a birthday present. She never uses the first one, but the second one her reflection gets is a magic enhanced variant that can stun enemies.
  • In The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Hyde beats Sir Danvers Carew to death with Jekyll's cane.
  • Ebenezar McCoy, an Old Soldier from The Dresden Files, is a master of this, to the point where he (a stocky human who's well past his prime) is briefly able to contend with a nine-foot-tall protogoddess in a staff fight. As the narrator remarks, he lived through the days when it was commonplace, and his teachers were masters.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Colonel March of Scotland Yard, even though March's iconic umbrella is actually a Sword Cane, he is also adept as using it as a weapon without drawing the blade. For example, in "Hot Money" a criminal attempts to draw a gun from a desk drawer, only for march to hook the man's swivel chair with the handle of the umbrella and spin the chair around, then knock the gun from his hand with the brolly.
  • Inferred in one CSI 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.
  • 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 cane fight.
  • ER: Dr. Kerry Weaver walks with a cane thanks to congenital hip dysplasia — but she can and will use it for other purposes when necessary.
  • House: 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. In "Hunting," he goes as far as using it to induce anaphylactic shock to prove that the man on the receiving end has cysts in his liver. 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.
  • Lost: Ben delivers one heck of a strike on Anthony Cooper with his crutch (while he is recovering from spinal surgery) to shut him up. Sure, at the time you think it's uncalled for but then it is revealed that not only is Anthony Cooper responsible for ruining both Locke and Sawyer's lives, but also Ben is all to aware of the damage an abusive father can do to a child...
  • In Murder, She Wrote, Gentleman Thief Dennis Stanton's walking stick is a Swiss-Army Weapon, but he is also very adept at using the stick as a weapon in its own right.
  • 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.
  • Star Trek: Picard: Picard strikes down one of the Romulans who invade his chateau in "The End of the Beginning" with his cane.
  • 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.

    Pro Wrestling 

  • In Ruby Quest, Red uses his signature cane in this way more than once.

    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.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Fabius Bile (formerly) of the Emperor's Children has a Classy Cane that he uses to beat people to death with (it causes Instant Death its rule ) but it's not a "Power Pimp Cane" and therefore can't punch through armor. Which is the point as he serves the "beef up these Chaos Space Marines to make them hit like a dump truck" guy.


    Video Games 
  • Bloodborne has the Threaded Cane, a weapon for the classy hunters of Yharnam. It helps that it's a Mix-and-Match Weapon that can be turned into a Whip Sword as well. You can even cave people's skulls in with it while wearing a dapper top hat or tricorne.
  • Radius and Sprigg from Chrono Cross both use canes to beat on monsters, and are both good examples of When Elders Attack.
  • Crayon Chronicles: One of the weapons you can wield is a cane.
  • 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. He also uses it for his melee attack in Donkey Kong Barrel Blast.
  • Most Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde video games give Jekyll a cane as a weapon. Its usefulness depends on the game, but the NES game takes it to new levels where the only thing he can kill with it is a bee.
  • Scrooge McDuck used his cane as a primary weapon, tool, and pogo stick in the NES DuckTales games.
  • 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 this thing is pretty powerful.
  • Canes can be found as melee weapons in Fallout 4 as well, but they're not very powerful. You can improve them by adding weapon mods like nails, but they're still among the weaker melee weapons in the game.
  • 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!"
  • 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.
  • In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, this occupies the "miscellaneous item" slot, on the same category as flowers and the dildo. It works exactly as a blunt katana, without the One-Hit Kill chance of decapitating the enemy you attack it with. It's all-around deadly all the same, however, more so if you use the martial arts style learned in San Fierro for a mixed pattern of kicks and whacks. It also happens to be the most common melee weapon in the game, provided the player knows where to look for it.
  • The Hobbit (2003): Bilbo's first weapon is his walking stick, which he uses to whack enemies. While not as powerful as his sword Sting, it has a greater range of motion and can push several enemies away at once. He can also use it to pole vault when he needs to reach ledges that are too far apart to jump across normally.
  • Candyman from Lethal League uses his cane to hit the ball.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 practitioners), he doesn't have any powers, but that cane can hurt robot ninjas just as much as the other mooks.
  • Saints Row 2 has the Pimp's Cane as an unlockable shotgun class weapon. It's the most powerful shotgun in the game, but it fires so slowly that other, easier to obtain shotguns actually beat it in overall performance. While it's equipped, it changes your walk animation to a pimp's swagger.
  • 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.
  • 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. The Cooper Clan in general all use canes as weapons, though they usually have their own take on it.
  • Raphael in the SoulCalibur series has a gentleman's cane as an unlockable joke weapon.
  • Super Punch-Out!! has Hoy Quarlow; well it's more of a staff but he uses his with gusto.
  • Lee from The Walking Dead will explain to Clementine in Episode 1 that his Dad walked with a cane, and how it "protected the family drugstore better than a guard dog ever could." He also claims that his dad managed to not only be effective with it but made it look cool.

    Visual Novels 
  • Arsène Lupin (yes, that one) in Code:Realize prefers not to use violence at all, but when the fighting becomes necessary, his Classy Cane is his weapon of choice.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY:
    • Roman Torchwick utilizes this as his primary fighting style. It's a particularly epic example considering he uses it to fend off two attackers simultaneously, one of whom utilizes Flash Step and the other a pair of (Shot)Gunchakus.
    • Professor Ozpin is an even more impressive example, given the sheer speed he can wield his cane at. In Volume 5, the much younger Oscar Pine takes up The Long Memory and fights similarly to him after Ozpin's soul merged with his.


    Web Videos 
  • In Shadowrun Corporate Sins Cromwell is taught Bartitsu in the interim between episodes 6 and 7. Because apparently being an eight-foot troll Physical Adept isn't scary enough.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • Let's just state the obvious. Any long stick could be used as an effective weapon, and canes are essentially large sturdy sticks.
  • 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 saber fencing. Canes became a popular dueling weapon in France after swords became illegal to carry in public. 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, reaching the point where Jackson's own security had to intervene for the assassin's safety.
  • In 1856, after Senator Charles Sumner berated Senator Andrew Butler for fighting for slavery (which included much ridicule on his mannerisms), Butler's nephew, Congressman Preston Brooks, retaliated by beating him with his heavy cane until it broke, causing him permanent brain damage. As would be expected in pre-Civil War America, Brooks was hailed a hero in the South (with Sumner the same in the North). Brooks had deliberately timed his attack so that Sumner would be trapped in his combined Senate desk-and-chair and be unable to fight back effectively.
  • 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".


Video Example(s):


Hazel fights a cane-wielder

Hazel's opponent may be small, but his cane-fighting skills make him a big problem.

How well does it match the trope?

4.9 (10 votes)

Example of:

Main / CaneFu

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