by Alfred Hutton
“The Sword and the Centuries ” 1901
We cannot conclude without making some mention of a method of stick play which has been quite recently introduced to British athletes by M. Pierre Vigny, a professor from Switzerland, who unites in himself the qualities of a champion player and of a careful, judicious teacher of his art, and he possesses in a marked degree the natural gift of facility in interesting his pupil in the work which that pupil has set himself to learn.
The instrument he employs is nothing more than the ordinary walking-stick of daily life, say for example a lighty-mounted malacca cane. The exercise, when played merely as a game, is a remarkably attractive one, so brilliant, indeed, that our time honoured English singlestick is not to be compared with it. In the first place, the player is not hampered with a buffalo or wicker hand-guard, a fact which of itself lends variety to the play, for the man can, and does, frisk his cane, about from one hand to the other, so that his opponent can never precisely tell which hand will deliver the attack, and careful practice of the various lessons will shortly make the student prettty nearly ambidextrous. One of the fist things to understand in such play as this is to preserve the hand which holds the weapon, a thing which an occcasional tap on the knuckles impresses on one’s memory. M. Vigny does not confine himself to teaching a mere exhilarating game of play; he shows his pupils also the more serious side of the system, instructing them carefully in what they should do if attacked by a gang of ruffians. But we must not enter the arena of technical detail; it is better left in the hands of M. Vigny himself.