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“Their weapons are their canes…”

from the Sun Journal

Cane-Fu fighting

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ZEPHYRHILLS, Fla. – Pay no mind to the groans that come with stretching, to hair that is gray or gone altogether. Ignore the cautiousness of their steps and the canes in their hands.

These seniors are ready to fight.

A rainbow of martial arts belts dangles above the mirror along one wall of this small dojo; swords, nunchuks and sickles hang near the front. Punching bags and torso targets line the room, but they’ll need none of these. Their weapons are their canes.

At the helm of the class is one of the country’s most recognized cane fighters, Mark Shuey, a slight man who, at 62, has hair and skin starting to show signs of age. He has traveled from Lake Tahoe, Nev., to teach this group of 16 how to protect themselves from attackers.

He calls it Cane-Fu.

Cane fighting classes have popped up all over the country, in part due to the influence of Cane Masters, the company Shuey founded that sells wood canes made of harder, thicker wood, to sustain wear and wider crooks to fit around an attacker’s neck. Now, it’s being offered at dojos and increasingly in senior centers and retirement communities.

“You don’t have to be powerful, you don’t have to be fast,” said Gary Hernandez, who runs the dojo here northeast of Tampa where the session was held and where he teaches cane fighting classes himself. “It’s a piece of hard wood. It hurts.”

[ click to continue reading at the Sun Journal ]

Posted on March 25, 2009 by Editor

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