Canne de combat


Canne de combat is a French martial arts weapon. It uses a cane or canne (a kind of walking-stick) designed for fighting. Canne de combat was standardized in the 1970s for sporting competition by Maurice Sarry. The canne is very light, made of chestnut wood and slightly tapered. A padded suit and a fencing mask are worn for protection.

History

The “Canne de Combat” or “Canne d’Arme” is a pure product of French history and culture. It developed in the early 19th century as a self-defence discipline and was particularly used by upper class “bourgeoise” gentlemen in big, unsafe cities such as Paris. Some speak of French martial art although its codification as a sport does not allow this name officially. The history of the discipline is closely linked to the development of the Savate boxing techniques which at the beginning was mainly using kicks and lately under the influence of the British incorporated also punches. Gentlemen trained into the Savate techniques mastered cane as a way of fighting from a certain distance as well as close combat kickboxing. The cane was, in the hands of the city men, while the staff was in the hands of farm men. In fact, cane and staff were closely associated in many countries and cultures.[citation needed]

The techniques of “Savate” and “Canne d’Arme” increased in popularity up to the point that they were used by military and police forces (depicted in the TV series Les Brigades du Tigre, referring to a special police task force of the French Third Republic) until World War I. The millions of lives that were called during the war caused the discipline to nearly disappear. The techniques continued however to be taught in a few “savate boxing” clubs that reopened in between the two wars and managed to survive World War II. There is reputed to be a group who operated during the Nazi occupation who used cane techniques to carry out assassinations. Cane fighting techniques of the late 1950s and 1960s were influenced by a few skilled individuals who revived it.

During the late 1970s, the techniques of the “Canne d’Arme” were codified by Maurice Sarry with a view to rehabilitate it as a sport. This led to the discipline which is still today associated with the “Federation de Savate Boxe Francaise” (French Savate Boxing federation). Aside from the sport approach, self-defense techniques are still alive: e.g. “Master Lafond” technique.

Today, the sport “Canne de Combat”, is practiced by a thousand of “cannistes”, just as the French staff, by some hundreds of “bâtonniers” or “bâtonnistes”.

Use

The use of the cane as a weapon, as originally taught in 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 bâton français), 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 today Canne de combat itself is disappearing. There is, however, a martial tradition passed down 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, forming a separate tradition from the more common sporting cane seen in France today. The cane, first used for support and then as a gentleman's accessory, also provided a useful weapon. A normal walking stick is usually within the boundaries of legal self-defence, but the loaded cane (weighted with lead at one end) may be considered a weapon in some legal systems.

Technique

In the modern sporting Canne de combat system found in France, bouts are held inside a ring. The cane is held with one hand but the player can change it from hand to hand during the bout. Strokes are made either horizontally or downward, thrusting or stabbing blows being prohibited. The scoring zones are the calves, the torso and the head.

To count, all strokes must be with the cane, and low blows must have a lunging movement. The bout is won on points, the lightness of the cane and the protective clothing making a knockout impossible. Points are scored for style, according to the correctness of body positions during fighting. Contact with prohibited areas such as the arms are penalized. It is thus possible to win a match without landing a blow on one's adversary, if he or she accumulates penalties.

Weapons

Parts

Canne de combat has more parts:

Canne

Canne is the biggest part of canne de combat. When playing canne, the cannists (canne players) have a stick in their hand, wear a protecting suit and a fencing helmet, and try to achieve more and more hits during the match.

Scoring parts:

During canne you have to use the valid attacks and defenses, combined with jumps and voltes. There is no simultan attack, that means, if one of the player started an attack, the other has to parry or evade, and is allowed to counterattack only after the evade. An evade can be a step, a jump or a crouch. The stick can be held either in the left, or in the right hand, and it is allowed (and suggested) to change hand during the match.

Double Canne

During the double canne the players hold a stick both in their right and in the left hand. They try to make a hit with a right and with a left hand using similar techniques like in canne, whilst they parry and counter-attack. The two stick allows much faster attack and defense.

 

Bâton

Bâton means long stick techniques and is based on the movements of the medieval longsword and longer countyside walking stick, extended with the movement base of canne.

 

Canne défense

Canne défense means self-defense with the canne. It's base is the movements of canne, but it contains thrusts, slashes, parries and counter-attacks, neck and handlocks, releases from holds. During canne défense not only the scoring points are a target, but every vulnerable part of the body: the elbow, the knee, the face, etc. It is under heavy development. There is no competition from défense, only pair techniques.

Canne chausson

Canne chausson combines the savate kicks with the canne stick attacks.

Techniques

Attacks

Canne de combat is based on six techniques, combinations, and other elements (jumps, voltes, hand switches).

Defenses

You can defend yourself by a parry or an evade. An evade can be a step, a jump or a crouch. There is no simultan attack which means if one of the player started an attack, the other has to parry or evade and is allowed to counterattack only after the evade.

As described above, the simultan attack is not allowed. The logic of canne does not accept the theory of "getting a small hit in order to deal a bigger hit". If player A starts to attack and instead of defending himself, player B also starts an attack, then the following is the rule:

Stances

Valid attacks

Only valid attacks are counted. An attack is valid, if it is done with the techniques described above, and:

Rules

Bouts are held in a circle with 9 m diameter. The cane is held with one hand but the player can change it from hand to hand during the bout. Strokes are made either horizontally or downward, thrusting or stabbing blows being prohibited. The scoring zones are the calves, the torso and the head.

To count, all strokes must be with the cane, and low blows must have a lunging movement. The bout is won on points, the lightness of the cane and the protective clothing making a knockout impossible. Points are scored for style, according to the correctness of body positions during fighting. Contact with prohibited areas such as the arms are penalized. It is thus possible to win a match without landing a blow on one's adversary, if he or she accumulates penalties.

Rounds and age-groups

Grades

Blue pommel

Green pommel

Red pommel

White pommel

Yellow pommel