It isn’t every day that you get to meet real life heroes. CTD Martin and I had the honor and pleasure of meeting several heroes at the Warrior Cane Project event near Dallas, TX. The project is an effort to empower disabled veterans by training them how to defend themselves with a cane.
There are several advantages to this approach. You can literally take a cane anywhere. Airports and other controlled entry locations can’t take a person’s cane away. They also cannot legally ask you why you need a cane. Obviously, a person’s medical conditions are their own business. I was a bit skeptical in the beginning that a person could do any real damage with a cane, but after seeing the types of sticks these folks used for training, I quickly began to understand. Typically, canes nowadays are hollow tubes of aluminum, which are light and comfortable for the user due to padding around the curved handle. The fighting canes however, are hand-carved hardwood sticks with lethal grooves carved into the sides. Designers included this shark tooth pattern of grooves to tear skin off the bone should someone be so inclined, and getting smacked with a fast-moving wooden rod isn’t something I want to be on the business end of.
The class took place in a pub in Dallas, TX. When we entered the pub, I wasn’t sure we were even in the right place. A large shadow appeared to my left and I no longer had any doubts. The instructor for the class, Thomas Forman, stands 6 feet 4 inches tall and would make most NFL linebackers look like sissies. He graciously introduced us to some of the warriors taking the class and we had a chance to chat before the class started. We met several people who were anxious to discuss a myriad of topics including the fading support for veterans benefits that is stemming from Washington. There are veterans out there having to pay money out of their own pockets to take care of wounds they sustained while fighting for our country. This situation is obviously unacceptable. Randy Stamm, an author and veteran with a laundry list of military accomplishments and decorations that I can’t fit into one blog post, explained some of the hardships that currently face veterans under the current administration. Randy spends one hundred percent of his time helping veterans get the benefits they earned while keeping our country safe. As a veteran myself, I was happy to meet him. I recommend reading his book, “A Soldier’s Dying Heart,” a documentary about the Gulf War.
By the time the class started, the room filled up with heroes like Thomas and Randy. They stood in a large circle where Thomas began to teach the basics of cane fighting. This style of fighting originated in Korea, and Thomas has a perfected version that veterans can use to help defend themselves against attackers. Criminals routinely target the disabled and elderly since they believe they are easy prey. The crooks typically don’t expect the disabled elderly person to be a former special operations soldier who is wielding a three-foot stick with sharp edges. As the class continued to learn, you could see that warrior mentality surface in the faces of the students. Empowering otherwise disabled veterans is what this program is all about.
Due to the success of the initial training sessions, the Marine Corps and the Army have requested Mr. Forman and Valhalla Security Consulting to teach Combat Cane sessions all over the United States, and train Wounded Warriors to become Combat Cane Instructors. These Wounded Warrior instructors can then maintain partial or full active duty service.
As with most programs, there is no such thing as a free lunch. Each hand carved cane costs $160.00. The program relies totally on donations, so help these troops become warriors again. You can donate here, and your contribution is 100% tax deductible as a donation to the Metroplex Military Charitable Trust, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
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