My Sensei brought out 'the cane' the other day. He can turn the everyday cane into a fantastic tool for self defense. It has all the benefits of various straight sticks plus the bonus of having a hook for grabbing, trapping etc. It can be used for both offense and defense.
The cane is versatile and effective. In most places in North America, it's also legal for everyone to have one. Now if you're only carrying it purely to use it as a weapon, that's a different story. A crow bar at a construction site isn't a weapon but one carried into a bar most likely is. Know the law in your area.
Moving on. The cane is a superior tool. It has several striking surfaces, a neat hook, it extends your reach by several feet, it feels good in your hand and can block incoming attacks from punches, kicks, grabs, chokes and weapons.
As with any weapon, any technique you learn should be an extension of your unarmed attacking method. Techniques should work empty handed first and then the cane or tool should follow the same path. Using a weapon or tool should add to and strengthen the technique, whether it be better reach, more power or increased leverage. You should not learn entirely new concepts which only apply to use with a weapon.
This approach is what makes some of the Filipino arts so effective. The techniques are all basically the same. In most systems of Kali and Escrima that I've seen, the techniques are learned first with weapons, then transitioned to empty hand, the reverse of many Japanese based styles. When combat happens, the movements must be ingrained and the mind doesn't have time to sift through different movements based on what might be in your hand.
Take a look at some cane techniques. Try doing technique you currently practice with a cane in your hand. See the opportunities that present themselves. Use one in Randori.
We often joke that we are probably some of the only people who are tempted to cross the street when we see someone walking with a cane.
And hey, apparently they can be used as a handy walking stick too.