CANE ARMAGEDDON 2021
The American Eagle Cane Style is a traditional martial art for adult men and women who seek to improve quality of life. Students train with a walking cane and learn self-defense techniques, katas, basic forms, strikes, partner drills, and more.
On Saturday, July 10, 2021, the American Martial Arts Institute hosted its first annual cane competition "Cane Armageddon."
The tournament began with opening remarks from Headmaster Eric Stalloch, the 10th Dan and head for the American Eagle Cane Style, and a introduction to the days events by Grandmaster Clifford C. Crandall, Jr., the founder and head of the American Martial Arts Institute, and 10th Degree for the American Eagle Style (empty hand martial art).
The American Eagle Cane Style was founded by Grandmaster Crandall, Headmaster Stalloch, and Master Lynn Jessee. The three founders judged the three tournament divisions.
The first division was katas. Katas (also called "forms") are a series of moves that fight off multiple imaginary attackers. They assist the student in establishing a foundation for growth within the style as the forms challenge the balance between mind and body, power and flow, and their relationship to timing. The katas incorporate directional changes, stances, techniques, breathing, and a variety of other
essential aspects. The American Eagle Cane Style has numerous traditional katas, documented in the style's textbook, including Basic Kata, Reflection 1 through 5, Natural Walk, Anvil, Autumn Wind, Valley, Briar Patch, Old man with a Cane and others. There were two divisions this year: white belt through purple belt and brown belt through black belt ranks.
Following an exciting demonstration of skill from all of the competitors, Grandmaster Crandall and Headmaster Stalloch made two special presentations.
First was to Ryan Byrne, a 1st degree black belt student in American Eagle Style. Ryan was awarded the $500 Crandall-Stalloch Community Safety Scholarship. This scholarship is awarded to only one graduating senior each year for use toward their college or trade school expenses. The student must be one of the American Martial Arts Institute's "red tops" (junior rank black belt class assistants), and they must complete a project that improves safety in the community and submit their project for review and judging by a panel of 6th and 7th degree black belts. Ryan will be attending Cornell in the Fall.
Second was to Mr. John Strachen, owner of Claim Masters in Central New York. Mr. Strachen was presented with a certificate recognizing him as an honorary American Eagle Style black belt for his contributions to making the school and community safer during the Covid-19 pandemic. His efforts helped to create a germ-free environment that improved the well-being of our school's students.
Following the presentations, the competition continued outdoors with the breaking division. Competitors had the option to break boards, concrete blocks, or bricks to demonstrated the power of the cane and their skill in its use. A variety of techniques were demonstrated including breaks on boards supported between two blocks, free standing boards, boards dropped and broken mid-air, clamped boards, hand-held boards, and more. In addition, the competitors could execute up to four individual breaks with points awarded for each successful break, the complexity of the break, and the overall presentation of the break and skill demonstrated. The competitor had to choose between two methods of demonstration. Option A was to present up to four individual breaks. Option B was to do up to four breaks in a combination that represented blocks or strikes in application to a self defense scenario. For example: if two attackers were defended against by blocking the arm, striking the attacker's knee and then turning to strike the second attacker in the head, then the breaks would represent these impacts against boards in a constant flow. It was an exciting demonstration for the spectators, judges, and students alike.
The final division of the day was self-defense. Students used padded training canes with partner. Similar to the breaking division, competitors could demonstrate their skill by two different methods. Option A was three individual techniques. Option B was three different attackers in a constant flow approximating an actual attack scenario. The most important factor was safety for the partners, students, and spectators. Mats were used, and at times partners wore padded safety equipment. Key to the judging was concern and appropriate power demonstrated toward the partners. Competitors could choose to demonstrate against grabs, punches, kicks, knives, hand guns, long guns, sticks, and other common methods of assault. All training implements were rubber or padded replicas.
The day ended with awarding plaques for first and second place for each division, and gift cards for movie tickets for honorable mentions. The day was a lot of fun and it was clear that it built camaraderie for the students. Next year's cane competition will be held in June or July 2022.
American Eagle Cane Style classes are offered weekly at the American Martial Arts Institute for men and women ages 18 and older.