of the Best: Canes and Caning
Mitch Kessler - aka SirAdam
is a good deal more to caning than one person simply hitting
someone else with a stick."
A cane can be used mildly, even
sensually, by a reasonably skilled and self-controlled Caner.
But the mystique and the appeal of The Cane, as opposed to any
number of other long thin things you can hit with, is that it
is used for intense, deliberate and severe corporal correction
of miscreants. Psychologically, it can be highly fetishized
and formal. Physically, it places great demands on the Canees
resolution and fortitude. For the caner it is
almost an equally challenging exercise in concentration, technical
skill, and psychological dominance.
is fairly traditional for formal caning scenes to be conducted
without a safeword. Once the canee has agreed to a certain number
of strokes, that is the number that must be endured ... regardless.
As a result, caning is probably one of those practices that
benefits from a good deal of discussion (negotiation) beforehand,
and the permission to discuss it afterward.
First the issues of how much pain
and how much marking need to be resolved. Equally
important is the issue of, who are we and why are we doing
this? Is this a punishment scenario, an ordeal, or a demonstration
of skill for one participant and fortitude on the other? Is
caning going to be used to punish actual misdeeds? Are there
strong feelings or values concerning a sense of youthful
victim found in so much of caning literature and fantasy?
Its also worthwhile to explore what
happens after the actual caning. Is the canee to be left in
place (enjoying an endorphin euphoria, one hopes) ?... required
to dress and depart (as in boarding school scenarios)? ... or
when the scene ends, is there to be aftercare such
as cuddling, nurturing, or sex?
use a cane mildly, employ a a tapping technique, powered by
the wrist alone. The actual sensation can be described as sharp,
stinging or focused. Its severity
will vary based on the strength of the taps, their frequency,
and how close together they land. As much as there can be an
objective definition of what is mild and what is
severe, the dividing line for canes may be that
a love tap is silent, but a stroke you can hear is one youll
really feel! A mild blow will not bend the cane, either on impact
or while traveling to its target. Used full-force, the cane
is usually applied only to the buttocks, but these lighter taps
may be used on almost any part of the body without too much
anxiety about damaging tissues or relationships. Targets that
are usually considered off-limits for whips and
floggers, such as the palms, soles, or calves can be explored.
Even the back and chest can be hit, within reason.
Proper Caning is a completely different matter.
One stroke of the best feels like a knife edge of
fire and lightning that blots out every other thought and sensation.
As the initial blaze fades, an aftershock still sharp,
localized, but with a bit of dull achiness begins to
sink in, feeling as if the stripe runs clear to the bone and
beyond. Then the stroke fades to an afterglow some may find
almost pleasant, others, almost endurable. he second is the
same ... only more so. And so on, until the full quantity is
completed. Significant marking by each and every stroke is to
be expected, and breaking of the skin is not unlikely. The sensation
of the cane is such that a single dozen, or even six of
the best, is usually entirely sufficient in most peoples
reckoning. A caning of 24 strokes is sometimes referred to as
the Military Caning and is a serious ordeal in anyones
This does not mean, however, that a Proper
Caning scene need be short, either objectively or subjectively.
In fact, prolonged anticipation, elaborate preparation, and
resolute cooperation by the Canee are important elements in
a fully-realized traditional caning. In the Victorian educational
setting, boys sent down for caning might wait several
days before presenting themselves and a memorandum of their
wrongdoing to the senior educator who would actually chastise
them. When used as authentic behavior modifying punishment,
the anxiety and expectation brought on by the promise of caning
for misbehavior, might be felt almost as keenly as the actual
consensual erotic practice, some people will increase pain tolerance
with a spanking, flogging or paddling before the caning. It
could be purely a matter of mental preparation ... it might
be endorphin release ... sexual arousal could be raising the
pain threshold ... or the impact and subsequent engorgement
may actually desensitize the nerves ... it seems paradoxical
but it does work.
preparation ritual is not uncommon, often utilizing aspects
of the traditional school canings. Sometimes the offense for
which the punishment is being administered is described, the
punishee may be required to fetch and present the cane in a
particular manner and kiss or otherwise show it
respect and gratitude before presenting it (again in a prescribed
manner) to the caner.
might be caned trousers up OR trousers down,
with the tails of their jackets and shirts pinned up and out
of the way. This process of securing the excess clothing is
what is known as taking up. What it provides in
convenience and modesty the trousers up style of
caning has practical and aesthetic drawbacks. Aesthetically
it deprives Caner of agreeable sights, first of the bared bottom,
and then the development of an even row of neatly spaced cane-strips.
Practically, the punishee is less likely to take excessive damage
if the Caner can see the effect of each strike as
it happens. In addition, the formal taking down
of trousers and/or knickers adds, in this context, at least
the potential for feelings of humiliation and powerlessness.
Once pinned up and taken
down the punishee is bent over. The more extreme
the bend (grasping the ankles, for example) the more effect
the cane cuts will have. Bending also exaggerates the curve
of the bottom, for the Caners visual pleasure, and limits
the the punishees ability to minimize the blow by clenching
the muscles of the buttocks. The bent-over position also assures
that the cane will not land above the tail bone where it might
conceivably do some damage. Some caners will insist on nearly
impossible perfection in positioning arched back, buttocks
presented, legs straight, head up, shoulders back both
before and during the caning. Lapses of posture may be a cause
for increasing the number of strokes, or may form the basis
for verbal harassment and humiliation. This, of course, adds
to everyones enjoyment of the encounter.
Once bent over, the punishee may be
required to endure a period of waiting for the first strike.
The caner may sweep the cane through the air a few times for
the sake of the sound, or so that the punishee can feel its
wind, and hear its characteristic noise. The punishee
very quickly learns the difference between the sound of the
cane being merely swished through the air, and the hiss of the
To increase the anticipation some Caners will
require that the punishee request each stroke and count the
cane strokes either as they fall, or before each stroke is delivered.
At the same time the caner may intensify the anticipation either
by holding the cane away from the target entirely, or touching
it lightly it to express growing impatience with the cowardly
In addition the canee may be required to count
each stroke according to a prescribed formula: ONE Sir (or Maam,
or Miss) Thank you Sir, May I have another, Sir ... losing count
or miscounting can be a reason to start over, or
earn the subject another caning at another time.
It is worth remembering that these tricks,
formal counting, posture correction, lecturing, etc., not only
add to the ritual and psychology of the caning ... they also
can be used to control the pace of the caning. The caner wants
to allow enough time between strokes to let the canee enjoy
the full benefit of each stroke while at the same time recovering
enough to be able to accept another. This is necessary for the
same reason that a blow from a cane is called a strike
or a cut the sensation has a certain amount
in common with the effects associated with lightning and swords.
Proper Caning is an ordeal, an exercise in significant pain.
A skilled practitioner with quality materials can soon have
a canee cherishing every stripe on their body and coming
back for more.
the necessary skill for this is not really difficult, but it
does call for the investment of some time and effort. The novice
caner will want to develop accuracy first. This is not a skill
to develop by practicing on your Significant Other. A dusty
blanket or quilt, folded over the back of a high backed chair
is a much better choice. You might want to dust a palm sized
circle with carpenters chalk, to give you a better idea
of where your strokes are landing. The target area is roughly
7 high, 9 wide , 30 - 35 from the floor. (You
might also have your S.O. sit in some non-toxic paint, bend
over, back up to the blanket and thereby mark the exact target
youll be trying for.)
Once you are certain of hitting
your mark each and every time you are ready to work on gaining
control of speed and impact. A partner with a high pain threshold
and a forgiving nature is of inestimable value here, as is your
willingness to increase the the impact from taps to strikes
in very small increments. At this stage of development, you
may want to consider taking a few stripes, and even a full dozen
or two (at different times) to develop understanding of what
you propose to be administering. A skilled and sensitive caner
will be able to show you style, pacing, and form, while a willing,
enthusiastic, and unskilled partner will quickly teach you all
the faults you need to eliminate in your own technique. While
you dont really need to feel the cane in
order to cane well ... theres no teacher like experience.
must not scissor thin flesh between cane and bone,
or land on joints. The backs of the thighs are a problematic
target, especially in adipose-tissue-deprived persons.
Hits to the thighs are astonishingly painful and there are large
blood vessels, tendons and nerve bundles under the fat and muscle.
While some tough and athletically gifted persons can take a
cane strike to the pectoral region or abdomen (crotch and throat
protection are such a good idea, for this trick) in nearly
all cases canes should never land where there are nerves close
to the surface, or soft organs directly below.
In caning the goal is to
hit with a section of cane starting at the tip and extending
perhaps six to eight inches toward the handle. The idea is to
avoid hitting with the tip either by leading with the
point (usually the result of using too much wrist action)
or by bending the cane around the body (throwing wraps),
which is usually caused by standing too close . Strikes with
the tip leave short dot-like marks that can take an astonishingly
long time to heal, whether they break skin or not.
There is a legitimate difference of
opinion concerning crossing cane stripes. One school
of thought holds that crossed stripes are the sign of a careless,
skilless, caner. Their ideal is a number of perfectly spaced
and distinct marks to look at and admire. A practical objection
to crossed stripes is that skin damage at the point of crossing
is, if anything, more severe than is caused by a strike with
the tip. Another school of thought likes to cross their cuts
for that very reason taking care to make the crosses
uniform and deliberate looking.
Cane strokes often break skin, intentionally
or not. This has lead to some practitioners to add a very modern
innovation to the preparation ritual. Before the actual caning
begins, the canees bottom is anointed with a petroleum-jelly
based antibiotic ointment such as Bacitracin.
This has three advantages. The first is psychological effect
of the touching itself, whether it is kindly, threatening, matter
of fact, or salacious. Secondly, the lubricating property of
the oil base, softens the skin and helps minimize actual damage.
Lastly, if the skin is broken by cane strokes,
the cut receives immediate infection preventing first aid, as
the active antibiotic is driven into the wound.
about disease transmission via bloodied S/M toys
is probably more a question of social norms and personal comfort
levels then of medical imperatives. It is the potential for
HIV transmission that is most compelling though the epidemiological
evidence should reassure rather than alarm. On the other hand,
both the cane and the skin are far more likely to be exposed
to other pathogens including from the common cold to hepatitis,
diphtheria, the dysentaries - all the diseases associated with
blood, sweat, and raw sewage. This could be considered a reason
to reserving one cane for use on one person only. It might also
be an incentive for more dedicated or extreme devotees to invest
in the vaccinations advised for health and rescue workers
although rabies and tetanus shots are probably very optional.
to the strike itself, the force of the impact depends on the
speed with which the cane is accelerated rather than the strength
or muscle the caner can put behind the blow. During
its forward motion, the cane bends, storing the energy of its
travel, which it then releases when it hits. The more extreme
the bend and the more abrupt the stop, the more impact will
be produced. (And the greater the likelihood the cane will break
in mid-air, too.) After the strike, the caner should allow a
few seconds at least for the punishee to appreciate the full
There are three basic styles of swinging a
cane. In the Traditional style, a portion of the cane is held
braced against the inside of the forearm. The arm is kept very
straight both on the back swing and in the forward cut.
This is probably the most lenient or lower form
way of using the cane, producing the least effect. By some accounts
(probably more imaginative than actual) while Schoolmasters
were to required to keep a stiff arm some of them offset
this limitation with a running start. From a schoolboys
point of view, this technique at least offers the possibility
that the caner rather than the punishee will suffer pain and
Supposedly banned in the schoolroom, was a
variation called the Cavalry Cut. The stroke begins
with the cane held over the caners head, roughly parallel
to the ground as if parrying a sabre cut to the caners
head. The cane is then brought downward and around in a circular
motion, like a riposte to the flank only lower. Perfectly
executed, this will lay a stripe on the underside of the curve
of the buttocks, an area not easily reached by other means.
Less than perfectly done, this stroke can land somewhere on
the back of the thighs. This can lead to intense ill-feeling
in a consensual relationship especially during the swimsuit
Mistress Nan B. of California has been the
most outstanding practitioner and teacher of the Modern Style,
which is probably the most devastating. She advocates a very
supple wrist action, with the time taken to draw the cane back
exactly equal to the time required for the forward motion of
the blow. This introduces the most extreme bend in the cane,
to the extent that its tip may actually strike the caners
back. The Caner stands with weight centered over well-planted
feet, with the extended cane hand even with, or slightly back
of the presented buttocks. The blow completes even with or just
behind the plane of the presented buttocks. A skilled practitioner
may introduce a bit of hip rotation to increase the distance
of travel, and may cock the cane-wrist backward a bit as the
backswing reaches its most extreme point.
Cane strikes of that severity should absolutely
be restricted to areas of deep fat and muscle. Its probably
worth remembering that a Proper Caning perfectly done
will leave a set of parallel stripes exactly one cane-diameter
apart, with no stripe at or above the level of tailbone, nor
below the point where the buttocks join the thighs.
good cane is one that will land where it is aimed, and have
the effect that is intended. That leaves a lot of leeway for
personal choice and preference. Most canes on the market today
are between 3/16 and 3/8 in diameter. Any smaller is too
whippy and flexible to be really accurate, much larger too heavy
and club-like to be really recreational. Thin canes cut and
sting more than thick ones. They leave red welts that fade more
quickly, but are more likely to break skin. Thicker canes not
only have more mass, but are stiffer and can be made longer
than thin ones and as a result are, all things being equal,
more severe and more damaging.
is sold in two forms. Kooboo is the natural unprocessed
form. It ranges in color from pale yellow to a mottled brown.
Each stick tapers slightly, with visible segments along its
length. Polished reed is the processed form, favored
by furniture makers. The outer skin, coloring and joints have
been sanded off and the stick is of a uniform diameter. Kooboo
needs no additional finishing for use as a cane. Polished reed
is somewhat porous, and lacks stiffness. On the other hand,
polished reed is available in precise sizes and is very uniform.
It is very attractive when finished with varnish or epoxy resin,
which also helps correct the lack of stiffness. Some people
prefer the slower action of the polished reed cane, which enables
them to use a longer and thicker stick than their partner(s)
could tolerate in the stiffer natural finish.
much damage a cane will do depends as much on the speed with
which it travels as with its mass and diameter. A long stiff
cane can achieve greater tip velocity than a shorter or thinner
one. For a thin-ish cane 24 to 30 inches will be about right;
for a thick one, 36 to 40 inches. If there is an average
or normal cane it is about 5/16 in diameter
and 32-35 long.
combination of length, thickness, and composition produces a
balance of stiffness and flexibility called bone.
How much bone you want is a matter of taste and experience as
much as anything else. Natural rattan has more bone than the
same species sanded to polished reed. Polished reed
is a bit porous and needs to be sealed with a varnish, and this
restores some of the stiffness. Natural rattan canes are often
varnished because the resulting appearance is so attractive,
though it adds little to the canes bone or durability.
infamous Singapore cane is roughly 1/2 in diameter
and 48 inches long. The first 8-10 are soaked in water,
overnight, before use. In the hands of fit and skilled police
officials, this instrument is so savage that 12 blows are considered
adequate corporal punishment (imposed in addition to fines and
prison time) for felony crimes such as rape and robbery. (For
more about the Singapore cane and the caning, see
Circle-Test Myth and Mystique
is a common belief that a good cane can be bent
into a true circle, with the tip touching the handle. The problem
is, this a test that can be performed about once!.
If the cane passes the test, it was a good cane before testing!
Only the longest canes can be treated this way without damage.
The circle test is actually used by cane makers to evaluate
uncut eight-foot lengths of cane.
or things serving the purpose of canes can be made of materials
other than rattan. Nylon rod is denser than cane, and
has less "bone." This promotes a slower motion that
bruises more and cuts less. It is also nearly unbreakable.
Fiberglass is very stiff and hard, which promotes extreme
accuracy, and is very prone to cut skin. Acrylic
Rod ( Lucite or Plexiglas) is extremely stiff and
dense. In the thicknesses that can be used without undue breakage,
it is extremely heavy and punishing.
are a number of choices in handle designs for canes. The oldest
design, actually ties a circle into one end of the cane. The
more modern style is a simple wrapping of ribbon or leather
on a straight piece of cane, or a built-up handle made of several
layers of leather or ribbon.
traditional Schoolmasters Cane has a crook handle,
like a common walking cane. In practice, the Modern
style is more suited to supple wrist work, the Schoolmasters
design, more suited to straight-arm work.
and Gillian's carry a variety of canes in
rattan and other materials.
We buy rattan by the bale, and do the steaming and straightening
in our workshop.
You can select your own length and diameter as well as style.)
Linseed Oil Myth and Mystique
common belief about the care of canes is that putting the cane
tip-down into a bottle of linseed oil for a week at a time every
month will cause the oil to migrate up the fibers of the cane,
keeping it flexible. The fact is that linseed oil is essentially
colorless oil paint, and not a lubricant at all. Fortunately,
it does not migrate up the tip either, since with time, it becomes
quite hard and dense like old paint. What the linseed
oil treatment does do is seal the tip of the cane, and glue
small cracks together. Repeated wiping off of the excess oil
give the cane a deep multi-coat varnish-like finish. It is probably
better simply to wipe the cane with linseed oil, hang it vertically,
and then wet the tip with the oil and allow to dry. Letting
the cane rest on its tip for a week at a time can put permanent
warp into the cane.
Break! Theres no escaping that. Sooner or later
your favorite will divide itself into a number of pieces. If
you are lucky it will be at the very tip, or close to the grip.
Then the broken part can be cut off, the tip rounded with a
file or a sharp knife, and additional use gotten from the smaller
cane. There are a number of ways, however, to help prevent premature
failure. Canes should be stored absolutely flat, or hanging
vertically. They should also be used only for their intended
purpose, hitting soft things. (Not edges of tables, counters
or wood chairs!) Whipping a cane back and forth in midair,
or too much bending between the hands will greatly reduce its
useful life. Varnished canes may benefit from having their tips
sealed, while unvarnished ones can be kept flexible longer by
exposing them to very high humidity once in a while. Hanging
the cane behind a bathroom door while taking a hot shower does
the job nicely.