Canne de Combat/Basics
Now you have all the necessary equipments, you can begin the work with your canne. What you have to learn:
- Warm up
- Strength and stretching exercises
- Feel the stick
- Hand change tricks
- Double canne
There are two basic stances. The first is a classical fencing like stance. In this case you show only your side to you opponent. Your stance is a kind of L or T stance. This is useful, because you show a smaller target, however in Canne de Combat we move in a circular way, and from this stance is very hard to use both of the hands (the change of hands is a preferred thing in Canne). Because of the reasons described above the classical fencing stance is only partially used (during lunges). What we prefer in Canne de Combat as a default stance is to use a kind of kickboxing stance. Your whole body faces your opponent, you are standing on the toes, having the stick before you, ready to attack and to parry. The distance between your legs is one shoulder length. Make your toes parallel. Now, step forward one step with either your left or the right leg. This is the basic stance. Now you have either your left or the right leg frontal. You hold the stick in that hand, that's leg is frontal. So, if your left leg is the frontal, then you hold the stick in your left hand. It's easy to remember and maintain this stance, if you imagine that you are standing on a rectangle. From this stance you can easily move both to the left or to the right, change to the fencing stance and do the lunges, or make hand changes, or jumps. Try to move from this stance, you will fell it comfortable.
The footwork is very important in canne. If you are mobile it is hard to hit you, whilst you can hit you opponet. Assume that your right leg is forward. Where can you move?
- some degree to left
- some degree to right
The main principle is that if you want to move to one direction, than that leg will step first, what is closer to the point, you want to be there. If you want to step forward, then your frontal leg will step first, and your rear leg next. If you have the right stance, and want to go right, then your right leg will move first, than the left. There is one exception: if you want to play with the distance for example in a case of a lunge, you can step with the other leg, too. But mainly it's preferred to use the principle.
Exercises: here comes some exercises for improvement the footwork
Feel the stick
There is one very important in the weapons art, is the feel of the weapon, in our case the stick. The principle of this feeling is that the stick moves itself, and through this motion, the body will move. The movement of the stick implies the movement of the body, but only then, if it's necessary. If you want to make a twirl with a stick, you have to let the stick to do it's motion based on its weight and the gravity using your hand as a turning point. Really you don't twirl the stick, but it just falls because of the gravity, but you hold it, so it will make a circular movement. You can add additional power to this motion of course, but the base is to let the stick turning. In order to achieve it, it is important to hold the stick loose. Do not grab the stick with a strong grip, but hold it with a gentle wrist. In this case you will not have tension in your wrist and forearm, so you will be able to work more time with the stick, and you will be able to do the tricks much easier. The secret of stickfighting is to let the stick show it's possibilities, and to be able to change hitting planes easy.