Let me start off by giving you some back story. I hurt my back in May of 1997 and then again in August of 1999 while in the Marines. It started off as pain that would lay me up for a few days if I did something really strenuous, such as a MCRE which is a 50+ mile hump in full gear, and over the years has gotten progressively worse. Fast forward to now and even doing household duties has become a hurdle.
I have four bulging or herniated disks and two of them also have annular fissures , also known as annular tears. They are between L3 and L4, L4 and L5, L5 and S1, and S1 and S2. To say the least I have significant lower back pain. I also have Degenerative Disk Decease, which means that it is only going to get worse. With the bulging disks I also have a narrowing of the spinal canal. This is causing certain nerves to become pinches which is leading to sciatic pain in my left leg, that began in 2000, and in the last few year has also led to pain in my hips. When my hips flare up it literally feels like my hip is going to come out of it's socket with each and every step. I have had my hips x-rayed and there is absolutely nothing wrong with my hips themselves so the pain has to be coming from my back. Fortunately it only happens to one hip at a time, at least so far that has been the case. The hip pain has been there from the very beginning, but was usually pretty rare. It would probably only happen twice a year so it was not too bad to deal with. In the last few years that has increased to probably an average on once a month, not fun. Unfortunately it has gotten even worse to were it usually occurs on average once a week and lasts anywhere between a couple of days to a week. The pain is so bad that when it happens, at best I have to use a cane and deal with the pain, or at worst I am completely laid up.
OK thank you for bearing with me so far and that brings me to my real question. When I am using a cane I feel extremely vulnerable. Does anybody know of any good reading or sites where I can use my cane to an advantage, something preferably with some good illustrations? Even better, any self defense classes that deal with working disabled people?
Thank you for your time.
Here are a couple pics of the can I am currently using. I am planning on getting something a little more.......shall we say stylish, considering I am only 37 and have to use a cane, I want something at least looks nice. I plan on using the same style because it is comfortable. When my left hip hurts, I place the cane down next to my hurt leg, the incorrect way. When my right hip hurts, I place the cane down opposite of my hurt leg, the correct way.
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I also have the same type of injury but mine was from a AN/VRC-46 68lb. radio falling 3 feet from it's mount and taking out L3,L4 and L5 disc. I might recommend a Cold Steel Blackthorn walking stick, it is like a 37" Irish Shillelagh and has a 2" ball head. you should check out their web sight and watch the video on it, I think you would be impressed.
June 4, 2011, 10:19 PM
Being blasted out of a HMMWV by an IED messed my back up pretty good, too. L1 and L5 are completely blown, 2, 3 and 4 still have a slight bulge. My knees aren't so hot, either.
I've been thinking about getting a cane myself, but at 31, I'd look a little foolish. I know that is a poor reason not to get the assistance, so I'm probably going to bite the bullet and see what the VA has to offer.
When I am using a cane I feel extremely vulnerable
Another reason I've pretty much ignored my injury.
Funny thing is, I actually have a bit of stick fighting experience. I don't have a CPL yet, so a cane is about the best thing I can use for SD.
June 5, 2011, 02:12 PM
Michael Janich has a DVD on using canes for self defense: http://www.staysafemedia.com/product.php?proid=75
June 5, 2011, 04:28 PM
before someone jumps in with praises for sword canes and cane guns research the local regs. i know alabama law has a very specific ban on them
June 5, 2011, 06:55 PM
For anyone with serious chronic back pain.... there but for the grace of God, go the rest of us. My minor back pain issues seemed to diappear when I retired from police work and quit wearing the standard police gear and uniform....
I used to recommend to my officers with chronic back problems to find out whether yoga or tai chi might give them some relief. Many cops have back problems since most of us weren't in top shape and led the same lives that any taxi driver did (until you end up in a scrap with some young kid and the next day you couldn't get out of bed...). Guys that went through various back surgeries were just as likely to come out in worse shape than better (but this was more than fifteen years ago, now so the state of the medical solutions for back problems might be greatly improved).
All of the above is a preamble to what to do if you need a walking stick.... I'd get an ordinary looking stick that was still tough as nails and use it all the time (whether it was needed or not) so that it becomes part of your daily routine. One of my judo instructors many years ago could do amazing things with a stick when necessary. As you learn various means of self defense with it, keep it to yourself. Never allow anyone to know that it's more than just a walking stick. If it's ever needed what you're hoping for is a real look of surprise on your opponents face as they are going down.... One source of training is any local dojo that offers aikido, since that discipline also involves stick and training sword routines.... as well as the proper footwork to employ or defend against that kind of situation.
Hope this helps. I imagine that there's lots and lots of vets these days with similar problems.
June 5, 2011, 09:10 PM
Thanks for all the replies gentlemen.
For me personally I do not want a cane or stick that could be easily construed as a weapon. I do not want something with a cane inside, gunstock looking club at the top, or a huge ball. I simply want an effective, but a comfortable, as comfortable as a cane can be, cane. I'm sure even a regular cane can double as an effective weapon if need be. I have found the ergonomic palm grip to be pretty comfy. It doesn't make my hand hurt even if I have to use it all day long. When I use my cane I actually have to put fairly stout amount of weight on it. Other canes I have tried ended up hurting my hand.
When I said I felt very vulnerable when using my cane, I meant it, but not that I could not defend myself if I was forced to do so. I think between a cane, a gun, and most importantly my brain, that I could most effectively defend myself if I was forced to do so. Where I feel really vulnerable is that I feel like it makes me look like easy prey and therefore more likely that I would be forced to defend myself. Unfortunately at times I do not have a choice.
To USAF Vet, I too felt a bit silly at first because I felt way too young to have to use a device that we generally only depict elderly people using. I will say this however, it is only us that see us this way, not the people around us. I say if a cane would help you, then you should certainly use one. On the other hand I'm not sure how much the VA with help with this. Oh they will certainly give you a cane, but most likely be that four pronged aluminum monstrosity that you see scooting around a nursing home. :D
I would love to find a place to learn some sort of stick fighting or even learn more hand to hand combat, but unfortunately my body could not handle the normal regime. That I why I was asking about somewhere that deals with people with disabilities. That CaneFu site has a few things and I may end up getting a manual from there. In the mean time I may try to come up with my own regime, even if it is just a few things where I can use my cane to an advantage. I can't imagine it would be that difficult and if I come up with anything that I think could be extremely helpful to others, I will make sure to post them.
One a Marine, forever a Marine is something that they ingrained in us over and over and there is always that brotherhood when you meet another former Marine. I swear I almost feel the same way when I meet someone else with bad back problems. It's almost like nobody else really knows what it is like. Some people are like, oh I have back pain it's not that bad and to a point they are right. But when you live in pain day in and day out and you literally have to live your life around your pain instead of vise versa. So to all of you out there with chronic back pain, I feel for you brother.
Here is the cane (http://www.elderluxe.com/store/item.asp?ITEM_ID=748&DEPARTMENT_ID=57) I want to get. Just a tough, but comfortable cane.
Thanks for the help and letting me ramble.
June 5, 2011, 09:15 PM
I looked at that Stay Safe site and I think that is more like what I was looking for. Thanks.
June 5, 2011, 09:37 PM
Hey guys, Im in the club also. C2, C5, with repacement bone from my hip and a plate ti T1. An L5 that will need surgery soon. And C8 nerve root damage resulting in pain and numbness..
My solution, I make my own canes. Quite relaxing and fun. Ball heads and eggs make for ambidextrous handling.
June 5, 2011, 09:39 PM
Don't worry about a cane being awkward. You get so used to it, it becomes a part of you.
In 1971, I was given a medical discharge from the army for injuries received on active duty. My right foot and ankle were pretty broken up. When I was released from Walter Reed, they gave me a standard crook top old fogy cane. I used it for a while, then my Uncle Pat gave me a real Irish blackthorn stick. Loved it, and used it instead of the old fogy cane, even though I really did need a cane for the rest of my life. That stick became such a part of me, that I never made a move without. Of course, I went looking for some training.
I made the rounds of the chain karate places around Washington D.C., and they all wanted to sign me up for the standard stuff. Finally, I ran into a little place in Adelphi Maryland, the Dale Tompkins karate studio. They had one guy who knew about canes and sticks. It was worth every penny!
If you're going to be on a cane, go through every martial arts place in the yellow pages until you find a good studio that will teach you the knowledge base that you will need on the street. The cane is an invaluable tool for self defense that can go anywhere, even right onto an airliner. Nobody looks twice at it. But most times it can be used to diffuse a situation way better than a gun, there's no terrible heavy legal repercussions like shooting someone.
And USAF vet, don't expect too much from the VA. I just had surgery on my right foot, trying to solve some of the arthritis and pain issues from the old injury, and they gave me one of those butt ugly question mark shaped alluminum canes with a foam grip. Light and comfy, but as inspiring as a roll of toilet paper.
June 7, 2011, 10:40 AM
can you make a stick? i had a walking stick for when i was out in the woods that i made out of a young oak tree, about 1.5-2 inches in diameter, it strong, got a good weight, and isnt bad looking, when its first cut is easy enough to work with
and if you know anyone good at working with wood, you could ask them to help you
June 7, 2011, 04:34 PM
Feeling vulnerable is what will make you look like prey.
With 3 foot hardwood stick in your hand and a pistol on your hip you should project a certain confidence--that usually causes predators to look elsewhere.
There are some good links in this thread: martialtalk.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-1834.html
June 7, 2011, 05:01 PM
Take a look at American Cane, gentleman by the name of Chris Koontz. Excellent canes made with personal defense in mind. I have 2 and always have one with me. He has a large selection of woods to make them from, and cuts them to the length you need, it's not one size fits all. Having wrecked T2-T3, and L3,4,5, I understand where you're coming from.
June 7, 2011, 05:50 PM
Oh they will certainly give you a cane, but most likely be that four pronged aluminum monstrosity that you see scooting around a nursing home.
Hmmm.... I can then put tennis balls on the ends and really fit the depiction of a grumpy bastard, until a fat kid and a lovable talking dog (not to mention an eight foot multicolored rare bird) lift my spirits, as well as my house. :D
June 7, 2011, 06:12 PM
We've had a lot of discussions in Non-Firearms Weapons on the use of canes in self-defense and you can find a lot of information there.
It boils down to either buying the Canemaster instructional material (which can be had on sale for cheap), finding a seminar that is close enough to travel to OR finding a martial arts school locally that teaches cane techniques and the instructor that will work with you and within your limitations.
June 7, 2011, 06:16 PM
Your cane should be about half as long as you are tall; for a height of 74 inches, the cane should be about 37 inches long.
Avoid the large rubber tip shown on your current cane. The shaft should taper to accept a 5/8 or 3/4 inch rubber tip.
A conventional walking cane can be quite formidable - not as a club, but as a jabbing tool, hence the small diameter end. Aim for the upper chest, throat and face; your assailant will find this very discouraging.
Don't despair; I find that a cane attracts the ladies. ;)
June 7, 2011, 06:36 PM
Michael Janich has a good DVD you can reference. This was developed especially for people with physical limitations.
For self-defense classes. You should check into local retirement community centers as they may offer Cane self-defense for seniors. I understand it is quite popular. I know that you may think you are too young to be affiliating with seniors, but these classes are designed for people with limited movement or strength.
Your only other sources for SD which use canes would be in Hapkido or Kung Fu, escrima or the stick-fighting schools, but these only offer canes as part of the total curriculum, and I doubt that your spine will be up for the rigors of Hapkido or full-contact sparring.
June 7, 2011, 09:48 PM
A free e-book on the subject is Broad-Sword and Single-Stick With Chapters on Quarter-Staff, Bayonet, Cudgel, Shillalah, Walking-Stick, Umbrella and Other Weapons of Self-Defence by Rowland George Allanson Allanson-Winn (http://www.amazon.com/Single-Stick-Quarter-Staff-Walking-Stick-Self-Defence-ebook/dp/B0039GL1PK/ref=sr_1_6?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1307493778&sr=1-6). The link will take you to Amazon.com's Kindle store. You can read the book on a Kindle reader or Amazon's free Kindle software for PC or Mac.
It's not the final work on the subject but it may be a useful primer.
June 7, 2011, 11:11 PM
My use of a cane is due to repeated Sports related injuries to my right ankle and our 2006 auto accident that compressed my right leg over one inch and popped my ankle out of joint and tore tendons and ligaments. My issue is I can not predict when it will go out so I have to keep a cane handy. Before I started carry my cane I had fell about 4 times out in public when it popped out when I was walking. Dr's say due to the war they might have a fix in 10 more years.
As far as age goes you have to what is best for yourself let others go pound sand. Attidude is the first key to personal safety. Remember you're a Marine and act like it.
June 11, 2011, 05:14 PM
Im in the same boat as Deltaboy with the bum ankle. Three days ago mine came out in a bad way. I just stepped out to get my son from the bus stop took 4 steps out of my house and bam it went out and I went down. The VA says they are gonna fix it but who knows when. I usually have my Cold Steel Irish Blackthorn but that last time I left it in the house cuz I was running late and forgot it. Last time I make that mistake. Now Im looking for a old fogie crook type cane asthere is less chance some fool thinks at my age,31, I carry it to use as a club. However it is there should the need arise to have a club.
June 11, 2011, 06:18 PM
Well if I HAD to use a cane, I'd have this guy make me a custom:
June 11, 2011, 08:56 PM
Check out www.warriortalk com & Ted Truscott (email@example.com)
for info. Then check out your local co-op,Tractor Supply Co or similar stores for stock canes.These are plan-jane hickory curved(crook) canes for $10-15. Solid,cheap,you can decorate them to your personal taste,& you can get a bunch at that price.
Ambidextrous1 has the basics right IMAO:fast,hard jabs to keep 'em off,hard swings to the outside of the knee or humerol notch to finish.
Points to carpettbaggerr:cane in hand,gun on hip.
June 12, 2011, 11:30 PM
Stock Canes are tough and raise no eyebrows !
June 13, 2011, 06:00 PM
I used one of these to recover from hip surgery. I cannot recommend them highly enough. They colapse, are light and very strong. Most medical insurance will cover the cost. Beware of cheaper products. This brand works.
I have that Janich DVD unopened and will sell it for $30 shipped...it's $40 + shipping elsewhere. Mods please remove this if it's not appropriate but I just remembered I bought it and have never gotten around to viewing it.
June 13, 2011, 10:47 PM
Thanks for all the advice guys. I'm going to delve a little deeper into some of those DVDs and decide which one suits me the best.
Conwict, if I decide on that one I will send you a PM.
I guess like most things it just takes time to get accustomed to. Like I said, I do not feel like prey, but feel like others may view me as easy prey. I'm still trying to remain optimistic that the VA is going to find a way to help.
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