Product review by Craig Gemeiner (c) 2010
It’s little wonder Christian Darce, the manager of the worlds leading supplier of wooden trainers for western martial arts- ‘Purple Heart Armoury’ has come up with the new “Heavy Cane”- Vigny Walking Stick.
Riding on the popularity of his now standard Vigny walking stick models, Christian felt the need to present a product that would be robust enough to supply years of constant use for the serious practitioner.
Measuring in at just on 1 meter in length the “Heavy Cane” comprises a hickory shaft that tapers from a solid 1 inch down to ¾ inch and not only looks attractive but also provides great shock absorbing qualities. The knob of the cane consists of a Brazilian hardwood called Jatoba which, I’m told by Christian, is as near as strong as hickory. Attached with industrial strength epoxy, the look and colour of the knob nicely breaks up the natural clean white hickory shaft which gives the appearance of what some of my La Canne students affectionately refer to as the “big match stick”.
The tapered end is covered with a rubber tip, which is both serviceable and practical, providing support on slippery and unstable surfaces. Upon request, Christian can mount a metal ferrule at the tip for an additional price.
Blending in comfortably with any surrounding environment, the overall appearance of the “Heavy Cane” reduces any suspicions it could be an implement used for self-defense.
The skill sets pertaining to the Vigny and Lang method are generally based on using a medium to light weight cane with a weighted distal end. The “Heavy Cane” facilitates techniques best suited to double-handed strikes e.g. two handed thrust, end cuts, centre shaft strikes and cuts in which both hands are joined. Offensively, these power strikes can produce debilitating results. With such a heavier walking stick defensive guards, in which the hands are spaced at each end of the cane or joined together at one end, can be executed with confidence against heavy weapon attacks.
Purple Heart also provides a training model designed to facilitate the weight and balance of the “Heavy Cane”. In place of the Jatoba knob a black rubber blunt is fitted very tight to the end of the hickory shaft.
The training replica is very handy, particularly if you don’t want to run the risk of eventually damaging the cane you would normally carry in the street. This in turn allows one to exercise full force strikes against heavy bags, target boards, tyres and pells, and at thirty dollars it makes for an inexpensive but nicely balanced training tool.
As you can see in the accompanying photos, we put the Heavy Cane training model to the test. Using two-handed guards, the author absorbed a number of powerful strikes from an aluminium baseball bat wielded by fellow La Canne instructor Richard Bradfield. The Purple Heart training model came out of the experience with only superficial marks.
With a renewed interest in the Vigny method of walking stick self-defense, along with numerous requests for a designed to meet the needs of actual hikers, walkers and self -defense advocates, Christian’s latest product has the durability necessary to meet all their needs.
Go here to order the “Heavy Cane” – Vigny Walking Stick.
Special thanks to Christian and Natasha Darce for supplying the author with evaluation samples of their latest designs.