Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Parries of AC Cunningham’s “The Cane as a Weapon”


Five years before the United States entered World War I, AC Cunningham, a Civil engineer for the US Navy and a former Naval Officer, wrote a short book on self-defense, titled “The Cane as a Weapon” (CAAW). Concisely written, the book details a system of personal protection with a cane against single-unarmed, armed, and multiple assailants. Tactics are even included for handling specific situations, such as being attacked by a dog, or improvising “off-hand” protection against a knife attack.

As a publication, CAAW was not particularly impressive; it was only 25 pages in length and contained only 12 pictures. The pictures themselves weren’t all that illustrative either, as they were composed of the model (the author himself) alone, without the benefit of an agent indicating how the pose worked “in action.” The system of defense presented in this book, however, is impressive both for its simplicity and versatility.

The minimal nature of the book can be somewhat of an impediment to understanding the content Cunningham presents. The writing is concise to the extreme, and many of his ideas are presented tersely, without elaborate explanation or detailed description, and, as mentioned above, without any supporting photos or graphics. Many who encounter the book tend to dismiss it outright, or “skim” the work and think it “very simple.”