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The Cane as a Disciplinary and/or Coercive Implement

A cane is a long, straight wooden stick, generally of bamboo, Malacca (rattan), or some similar plant, mainly used as a support, such as a walking stick or as an instrument of punishment.

Judicial Caning

Rattan canes especially are used to beat someone, generally on the buttocks or the palm of the hand, as a form of physical punishment, (often as a severe spanking, like a paddling) specifically known as caning (see that article for all details), both domestic and judicial, and traditional in various cultures, notably England and many nations of the British Commonwealth.

In 1994, after pleading guilty to vandalism charges, Michael Peter Fay, an American 18-year-old student was sentenced March 3 to four months in jail, a $2,200 fine -- and six strokes of the cane in Singapore.

A lot more information about Corporal Punishment at

Care of Canes

  • To keep canes healthy, once a year one should sand the tip, stand the cane in a vase of water overnight, and then revarnish the tip.

Selecting a Cane

  • Canes may be straight of with a crook at the end, it's a matter of personal taste. (I personally prefer a straight cane because it affords me more control.)
  • Canes should be able to bend significantly.
  • One should be able to bring the cane down in a straight line.
  • The cane should have three or more coats of varnish.
  • Small diameter = sharp pain. Large diameter = thud.

Caning Hints

  • The bottom experiences two sensations with every stroke (nerves being compressed and then expanding). Thus, the strokes shouldn't go too fast.
  • Be sure the room isn't too cold.
  • Bottom should relax muscles in butt to avoid later lactic acid buildup causing a deep ache.
  • It is difficult if not imposssible to kill any Hepatitis pathogens on canes.
  • Extra Zinc helps bruises heal.
  • Avoid striking the tailbone and the back of the knee.
  • Front of thighs can be caned.
  • The fold between the buttocks and thighs is termed the "sulcus," and can be quite painful when struck.
  • A circular "fluffing" motion can be effective for rapid "warm-up" strokes.
  • Backhanded strokes often land harder.
  • Hitting and holding delays the second stage of pain.

Caning in Sessions (by Robin)

A rattan cane in the hands of an inexperienced person can be described as, at best, brutal. Caning is an art form; many countries view it as a martial art.

When I teach people to use a cane, I place a pillow on a table about thirty six inches tall. I then place paper towels across the pillow living a gap of about four inches. To become proficient with a cane, you should be able to lay ten strokes on the pillow without touching or tearing the paper towels. Once you have accomplished consistency, then you may proceed to the strength of the stroke.

In 2005, I did a “Judicial Caning Session”. “The Prisoner” was brought before me: it had been determined that the prisoner would receive twenty five with a cane; I had him remove his clothing. I tied him face down on a table and placed towels across the tops of his thighs and across his back, just above his buttocks. In the 60’s, I was stationed (I was in the Navy) in Japan. Kenjutsu was just one of the Martial Arts I studied. It is a form of sword fighting, and is the root of today’s Kendo. I have pretty strong upper body strength. Even at about 75% force, he could only take twenty two with a cane. When I talked to him about three months later, he stated that he still had marks.

Also see "Caning" on WikiPedia


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