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A walking stick or walking cane is a device used primarily to aid walking, provide postural stability or support, or assist in maintaining a good posture. Some designs also serve as a fashion accessory, or are used for self-defense.
Walking sticks come in many shapes and sizes and some have become collector's items. People with disabilities may use some kinds of walking sticks as a crutch but a walking cane is not designed for full weight support and is instead designed to help with balance. The walking stick has also historically been known to be used as a self defensive weapon and may conceal a knife or sword – as in a swordstick or swordcane.
Hikers use walking sticks, also known as trekking poles, pilgrim's staffs, hiking poles, or hiking sticks, for a wide variety of purposes: as a support when going uphill or as a brake when going downhill; as a balance point when crossing streams, swamps, or other rough terrain; to feel for obstacles in the path; to test mud and water for depth; to enhance the cadence of striding, and as a defence against animals. An alpenstock, from its origins in mountaineering in the Alps, is equipped with a steel point and may carry a hook or ice axe on top. More ornate sticks may be adorned with small trinkets or medallions depicting visited territory. Wooden walking-sticks are used for outdoor sports, healthy upper-body exercise, and even club, department, and family memorials. They can be individually handcrafted from a number of woods and may be personalised with wood carving or metal engraving plaques.
A collector of walking sticks is termed a rabologist. 
Around the 17th or 18th century, a walking stick took over from the shepherd's walking stick as an essential part of the European gentleman's wardrobe, used primarily as a walking stick. A walking stick also became a men's fashion and dress accessory which also helped to display one's social class level. It would be common for an individual to wear a custom hat and walking stick to distinguish their status and wealth. In addition to its value as a decorative accessory, it also continued to be a self defense item to protect the user from street crime. The standard cane was rattan with a rounded wooden handle.[ citation needed ]
Some canes had specially weighted metalwork. Other types of wood, such as hickory, are equally suitable.
Various staffs of office derived from walking sticks or staffs are used by both western and eastern Christian churches.   In Islam the walking stick ('Asa) is considered a sunnah and Muslims are encouraged to carry one. The imam traditionally delivers the Khutbah while leaning on a stick. 
In North America, a walking cane is a walking stick with a curved top much like a shepherd's staff, but shorter. Thus, although they are called "canes", they are usually made of more modern material other than cane, such as wood, metal or carbon fiber.
In the United States, presidents have often carried canes and received them as gifts.[ citation needed ] The Smithsonian has a cane given to George Washington by Benjamin Franklin. It features a gold handle in the shape of a Phrygian cap. In modern times, walking sticks are usually only seen with formal attire. Retractable canes that reveal such properties as hidden compartments, pool sticks, or blades are popular among collectors. Handles have been made from many substances, both natural and manmade. Carved and decorated canes have turned the functional into the fantastic.
The idea of a fancy cane as a fashion accessory to go with top hat and tails has been popularized in many song-and-dance acts, especially by Fred Astaire in several of his films and songs such as Top Hat, White Tie and Tails and Puttin' On the Ritz , where he exhorts "Come, let's mix where Rockefellers walk with sticks or umbrellas in their mitts." He danced with a cane frequently.
Some canes, known as "tippling canes" or "tipplers", have hollowed-out compartments near the top where flasks or vials of alcohol could be hidden and sprung out on demand.
When used as a mobility or stability aid, canes are generally used in the hand opposite the injury or weakness. This may appear counter-intuitive, but this allows the cane to be used for stability in a way that lets the user shift much of their weight onto the cane and away from their weaker side as they walk. Personal preference, or a need to hold the cane in their dominant hand, means some cane users choose to hold the cane on their injured side.
In the U.S. Congress in 1856, Charles Sumner of Massachusetts criticized Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois and Andrew Butler of South Carolina for the Kansas–Nebraska Act. When a relative of Andrew Butler, Preston Brooks, heard of it, he felt that Sumner's behavior demanded retaliation, and beat him senseless on the floor of the Senate with a gutta-percha walking cane.  Although this event is commonly known as "the caning of Senator Charles Sumner", it was not a caning in the normal (especially British) sense of formal corporal punishment with a much more flexible and usually thinner rattan.
A staff of office is a staff, the carrying of which often denotes an official's position, a social rank or a degree of social prestige.
Rattan, also spelled ratan, is the name for roughly 600 species of Old World climbing palms belonging to subfamily Calamoideae. The greatest diversity of rattan palm species and genera are in the closed-canopy old-growth tropical forests of Southeast Asia, though they can also be found in other parts of tropical Asia and Africa. Most rattan palms are ecologically considered lianas due to their climbing habits, unlike other palm species. A few species also have tree-like or shrub-like habits.
An ice axe is a multi-purpose hiking and climbing tool used by mountaineers in both the ascent and descent of routes that involve snow, ice, or frozen conditions. Its use depends on the terrain: in its simplest role it is used like a walking stick, with the mountaineer holding the head in the center of their uphill hand. On steep terrain it is swung by its handle and embedded in snow or ice for security and an aid to traction. It can also be buried pick down, the rope tied around the shaft to form a secure anchor on which to bring up a second climber, or buried vertically to form a stomp belay. The adze is used to cut footholds, as well as scoop out compacted snow to bury the axe as a belay anchor.
A percussion mallet or beater is an object used to strike or beat a percussion instrument in order to produce its sound.
A club is a short staff or stick, usually made of wood, wielded as a weapon since prehistory. There are several examples of blunt-force trauma caused by clubs in the past, including at the site of Nataruk in Turkana, Kenya, described as the scene of a prehistoric conflict between bands of hunter-gatherers 10,000 years ago.
An assistive cane is a walking stick used as a crutch or mobility aid. A cane can help redistribute weight from a lower leg that is weak or painful, improve stability by increasing the base of support, and provide tactile information about the ground to improve balance. In the US, ten percent of adults older than 65 years use a cane, and 4.6 percent use walkers.
A monopod, also called a unipod, is a single staff or pole used to help support cameras, binoculars, rifles or other precision instruments in the field.
Stick-fighting, stickfighting, or stick fighting, is a variety of martial arts which use simple long, slender, blunt, hand-held, generally wooden "sticks" for fighting, such as a gun staff, bō, jō, walking stick, baston, arnis sticks or similar weapons. Some techniques can also be used with a sturdy umbrella or even with a sword or dagger in its scabbard.
A swordstick or cane-sword is a cane containing a hidden blade. The term is typically used to describe European weapons from around the 18th century, but similar devices have been used throughout history, notably the Roman dolon, the Japanese shikomizue and the Indian gupti.
In Irish martial arts, bataireacht refers to a form of stick-fighting from Ireland. Although an old term, it was used by author John W. Hurley and introduced back into modern usage in the late 1990’s.
A swagger stick is a short stick or riding crop usually carried by a uniformed person as a symbol of authority. A swagger stick is shorter than a staff or cane, and is usually made from rattan. Its use derives from the vine staff carried by Roman centurions as an emblem of office.
Trekking poles are a common hiking accessory that function to assist walkers with their rhythm, to provide stability, and reduce strain on joints on rough terrain.
A pace stick is a long stick usually carried by warrant officer and non-commissioned officer drill instructors in the British and Commonwealth armed forces as a symbol of authority and as an aid to military drill.
A lacrosse stick or crosse is used to play the sport of lacrosse. Players use the lacrosse stick to handle the ball and to strike or "check" opposing players' sticks, causing them to drop the ball. The head of a lacrosse stick is roughly triangular in shape and is strung with loose netting that allows the ball to be caught, carried, passed, or shot.
A shillelagh is a wooden walking stick and club or cudgel, typically made from a stout knotty blackthorn stick with a large knob at the top. It is associated with Ireland and Irish folklore.
A cane gun is a walking cane with a hidden gun built into it. Cane guns are sometimes confused with so-called "poacher's guns".
The makila is a traditional Basque walking stick, and is notable as both a practical tool and a cultural symbol of authority and strength.
A mobility aid is a device designed to assist walking or otherwise improve the mobility of people with a mobility impairment.
Listed here are the weapons of pencak silat. The most common are the machete, staff, kris, sickle, spear, and kerambit. Because Southeast Asian society was traditionally based around agriculture, many of these weapons were originally farming tools.
The baston is one of the primary weapons of Arnis and Filipino martial arts. It is also known as yantok, olisi, palo, pamalo, garrote, caña, cane, arnis stick, eskrima stick or simply, stick.
A walking sticks expert (rabologist) is cataloguing great collection of walking sticks.
[A Bishop] may carry a walking stick ...
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