A couple of weeks back I wrote about walking with a stick in the snow. People slip and slide around, curse the snow and even injure themselves falling but the simple expedient of having a walking stick for such weather never occurs to most of them. I have been using my hiking pole in the last spell of snow but since I don’t really like using my travelling gear for everyday use I recently treated myself to a walking cane. I had not expected to get any use from it this year, but this morning there was more snow. It hasn’t settled, but perhaps my cane will see some use this year after all.
Correct length for a cane is determined by standing up straight, arms by your sides and measuring from the crease of your wrist to the floor. Wear the shoes or boots you would normally use. This figure should be at least half your height. If it is lower you may be slouching or leaning so try again with your back to a wall. Your elbow should be bent at about 15 to 20 degrees when using a cane. Interestingly the correct length for a hiking pole is about elbow height, so if you are used these the above recommendation might be taken to be the minimum length. My initial measurements were that my wrist to floor distance was 88 cm, which since I am 180 cm I now realize that I must have been leaning since I was measuring it myself. I was also bare foot when I did it. I brought a 96 cm cane and it actually turns out this was perfect height for me. Sometimes you get lucky.
Here is a photo of my new cane, or a model just like it. The head is silver-plated and 6 cm in diameter. It fits the hand nicely and is quite substantial.
Many of you read this blog for the discussions on self-defence, so I do not need to tell you that a walking cane can be a very useful tool for defending yourself. Techniques for using a cane have been covered in some of the previous blog entries and also in my book. Some martial artists like hook handled canes and employ clever trapping and throwing techniques using them. I prefer the knob ended stick for walking and prefer a KISS approach when it comes to self-defence. Effectively I have a silver-plated knobkierrie.