by Dennis Dalman
Next time you see a dear little granny on the street walking with a cane, you best be nice to her.
It’s possible the sweet granny might have had “cane training,” and she could wallop a cocky punk into pulp if he tried to snatch her purse.
A cane, so often associated with someone crippled, is — in fact — a very deadly weapon, according to Bruce Miller of Sartell. Miller is an instructor of the Quan Li K’an Martial Arts Group of Central Minnesota. On July 28, in the back yard of his home, under the shelter of a huge tarp, Miller hosted a free Quan Li K’an seminar for about 20 people.
One of his lessons involved ordinary walking canes as weapons.
“If they started teaching canes in nursing homes, little old ladies would be the safest people on the streets,” Miller said, without a hint on humor or irony.
An 80-year old woman, with a bit of cane knowledge, could subdue, injure and even kill a young, strong aggressor. Using a cane as a weapon requires almost no strength, agility or speed. The crook of an ordinary cane can be locked across an aggressors neck, the cane can be twisted in such a way that renders an aggressor utterly helpless in a bent-over hangdog position. A cane, if held firm just below the crook, can be used to smash facial bones, break leg bones and even put the toughest attacker into a pathetic puddle of pain if the cane is used to whack him on the front shin bones. It takes only 40-50 pounds per inch of cane pressure to incapacitate or even kill someone with evil intentions.
Miller said he is convinced the cane was invented not as a walking aid but as a weapon. The early French colonialists in North Africa, he said, carried canes as weapons because they were not allowed by law to carry guns. The idea for the cane as weapon probably came from people observing how useful certain types of canes were in controlling domesticated animals.
If people learn where pressure points are on people’s bodies, then use a cane accordingly, it can be a very deadly up-close weapon, Miller assured his students. It’s sometimes called the “old man’s weapon.” Canes, he said, are also perfect to effectively deflect blows from an aggressor.
After Miller’s brief talk, the men divided themselves up into groups of two and three and then practiced ways in which to wield canes. Just as Miller said, the canes were used to stunning effect to render “attackers” quite helpless — especially when used to grab an opponent’s neck and then twist his upper body into utter uselessness.
Miller has taught the “cane as weapon,” along with other Quan Li K’an techniques for more than 30 years. Like the cane techniques, other Quan Li K’an methods do not require particular strength, agility or speed. Quite a few of Miller’s students during his seminar were in their 60s, some of them on the pudgy side and none of them built like musclemen.
Quan Li K’an is more than anything else a practical technique concerned above all with “what works.” Unlike the martial arts of Karate or Tai Kwan Do – to name just two – Quan Li K’an is not about form or aesthics. Although it’s borrowed some techniques from five of the martial arts, its practioners work tirelessly to test and re-test self-defence techniques that work. If they do not work, they are quickly discarded. Quan Li K’an relates to real combat, whether on the streets or in military situations. Although its adherents would always prefer to deter and control rather than to kill, if there is an immediate danger of being killed, a Quan Li K’an-trained person can and will cripple or kill an attacker. It is a very serious form of self-protection, even for people who are very old and out of shape.
Quan Li K’an began in 1982 when some people, disillusioned with some of the “mystiques” of the other martial arts, wanted something more practical in the ways of self-defence – something that could be easily taught and learned, even for those who not strong, fast or tough. Over the years, Quan Li K’an grew and is still growing through a reformulation and re-combination of techniques from other martial arts.
If an attacker jumps an innocent person on the street, it takes anywhere from one-half second to three seconds for the victim to decide how to defend himself or herself. Those adept in Quan Li K’an can react in a split second, protecting themselves and rendering the attacker in pain, seriously injured and, yes, in some cases dead.
Don’t need size, strength or speed.
One of the long-time Quan Li K’an students is Dave Cofell of St. Cloud. Some years ago, he enrolled his three daughers in a Quan Li K’an course, determined they must learn to defend themselves. He decided to join, too.
“It works, and the people who teach it are great people, and they’re willing to share what they know,” Cofell said.
At the July 28 seminar, Cofell videotaped the demonstrations. Others can then access the tapes to study the techniques from home.
Anyone interested in joining a Quan Li K’an group can enroll via the St. Cloud School District 742 Community Education Program. The course is taught, until November, at Discovery Elementary School in Waite Park on Thursdays from 6:30-7:30 p.m. for beginners and from 7:30-8:30 p.m. for those more advanced. Starting in October, that same course will be taught at North Junior High School in St. Cloud. Call the community education office at 320-529-6500.
For more about Quan Li K’an, visit its website at www.quanlikan.com.