Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
La canne is a French martial arts weapon. It is a walking stick designed for fighting rather than simply for support.
Standardized in 1970s for sporting competition, la canne is light, made of chestnut wood and slightly tapered. A moltonnée combination and a fencing mask are worn for protection.
The use of the cane as a weapon, as originally taught in the weapons schools , was codified by the Masters of Savate so that the cane was taught as a weapon of self-defence. The French tradition includes techniques of medieval stick fighting (see also grande canne), excepting those techniques considered too dangerous to be used in sport. The medieval stick is too heavy a weapon to be used in competition. Its use has thus been lost and la canne is today a sport which is itself in the process of disappearance. There is however a martial tradition transmitted to the Swiss Master Pierre Vigny in the 19th Century which was used for codification of techniques using the Indian cane at the beginning of the 20th Century.
An everyday object used initially for support and then later becoming a gentleman's accessory (in particular during the 19th Century) the cane offered a notable advantage in the event of combat. French law still considers the leaded cane (i.e. ballasted at one end) as a weapon.
Engagements are held in a circle. The cane is held with one hand but can change side during the bout. One strikes laterally or from top to bottom, the 'blows of estoc' (thrusting or stabbing blows) being proscribed. The scoring zones are the calves, the bust and the head.
To count, the blows must be armed and strike them low being accomplished of a movement of slit. The winner is designated on points, the lightness of the cane and protective clothing making a knockout impossible. Rules which are more complex than for fencing remove points according to the correctness of body positions during fighting. The keys on areas closed as the arms are penalized. One can thus win a match without touching one's adversary if he accumulates the penalties.
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