The cane is the archetypal implement of English school disci­pline. Stroke for stroke, a rattan cane of good quality probably administers the most intense sting of any instrument of correc­tion.

With the cane, every stroke must be clean, very hard and painfully effective. it is one of the most serious forms of discipline and should be treated as such. A caning is a serious punishment and must be administered effectively or not at all.


The miscreant is usually requested to bend over a desk or chair to receive the caning. Touching the toes or gripping the ankles i said to result in a somewhat more painful punishment; how­ever, it is not recommended for a formal caning.


Preliminaries may include a few practice cuts in the air with the cane, emitting a frightening swish, and perhaps some prelimi­nary aim taking taps on the buttock. These are both designed to heighten the sense of dread, anticipation and are valuable in getting hand and eye for the administration of the most effective caning.

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The technique of flexing the cane may sound rather hackneyed but it is highly recommended for it is sensible to get the feel of the implement with which the punishment is to be adminis­tered.

Having completed all preliminaries, one must proceed to the caning itself. Ensure that each stroke is a good one. There must be no half-hearted strokes in a caning. Think of each stroke as if it were the only one you were giving. Put your all into it. in particular, having made sure that the first strokes are hard, make sure that the last strokes do not tail off in severity. if anything, the last one or two should be administered with an extra reserve of force.

Ensure the cane falls parallel to the buttocks. it is very easy to strike at an angle, so that the last few inches of the cane are all that strike the buttocks. The ideal stoke should leave a perfectly horizontal weal right across the buttocks. Do not be disturbed by these weals. They will fade in four or five days and are the normal result of a good caning. if they vanish sooner, then you are not caning effectively.

Do not hold back in caning. it is important to give each stoke its full eight and impact. Use the whole of the arm, shoul­der, forearm and wrist in your stroke.

Control of the cane means control of the tip. Before each stroke ensure the tip falls well within the furthest cheek.

There must be a goodwill toward the punishment with a resolution to carry it out effectively, thus making the punish­ment an intensely painful event.



The decision as to the number of strokes is all-important in the case of a caning. Since there is no variety in the force of the stroke, it is the number alone that determines the severity. Having ordained the number; each stroke must be, as far as possi­ble, of unvarying force and severity.

The most standard caning is of course six strokes. It is against this that other canings are measured. Of numbers over six, eight, nine and ten strokes would be considered relatively severe. Twelve is double the classic number and is a very severe punishment indeed.


A final point to be considered is the interval between strokes. A caning, being a set number of strokes of uniform severity, is less variable in tone than most punishments, but onE aspect which may give it a particular characteristic is the period of interval. Generally, with more severe canings longer intervals are allowed between strokes. This lengthens the punishment, allows each stroke to be fully savoured, impresses on the mind and heart of the miscreant the seriousness of the misdeed and underlines the solemnity of the occasion.


It is evident no physical punishment can be a wholly dignified proceeding for the recipient, and there are times when it is en­tirely desirable to make the miscreant feel the humiliation of their position. However, the punishment as a whole: the occa­sion and the ritual must have dignity. The miscreant may be shamed and subjugated; all these things are acceptable and after salutary.


The cane is a very durable implement and a good cane may last for many years of regular use. However, it must receive a mini­mum of care and attention. Canes tend, especially in warm weather and in heated builds, to dry out. When this happens they become lighter, lose their flexibility and have a tendency to break in use. This is obviously severely prejudicial to the dignity of so solemn an occasion as a formal caning.

Rattan grows in damp tropical conditions. If you exam­ine the end of a cane, you will see it is full of round holes. Each of these runs the entire length of the cane, and in its natural state is charged with water. The simplest method of maintaining the cane in a healthy, supple condition is to stand it in a few inches of water overnight each week. There is no need to soak the whole cane, just stand the tip of the cane in water and it will drink it into the long arteries. It should be added that a cane may be wax-polished externally for extra suppleness. A well maintained cane will deliver the ferocious sting that is required, thus making the caning an intensively painful and memorable event.