It must be understood that the new art of self-defence with a walking-stick, herewith introduced for the first time, differs essentially from single-stick or sword-play; for a man may be a champion in the use of sword or single-stick and yet be quite unable to put a walking-stick to any effective use as a weapon of defence. The simple and sufficient reason to account for this is that both in single-stick and sword-play a cut is always taken up by the hilt of the weapon, whereas if you attempted to guard a blow with a walking-stick -- which has no hilt -- in the same way as you would with a sword, the blow would slide down your stick onto your hand and disable you. Therefore, in order to make a stick a real means of self-defence, it has been necessary to devise a system by which one can guard a blow in such a way as to cause it to slide away from the hand instead of toward it, and thus obviate the risk of being disarmed by being hit upon the fingers.
After some fifteen years of hard work, such a system has been devised by a Swiss professor of arms, M. Vigny. It has recently been assimilated by me into my system of self-defence called "Bartitsu."
In the art of self-defence with a walking-stick, the stick is held in the hand with the thumb overlapping the fingers, and not, as in single-stick or sword-play, with the thumb resting on the blade. The stick is therefore manipulated with the wrist -- and not with the fingers as in sword-play -- and the blows are given by swinging the body on the hips -- and not merely by flips from the elbow. In this way blows can be made so formidable that with an ordinary malacca cane it is possible to sever a man's jugular vein through the collar of his overcoat.