by Old Tom, of old-tom.com
Now that you understand the nature of the cane, you know just about all you need to know about the cane. You can send someone flying as high and far as she cares to go, without leaving the safety of her chair. Whatever works for her - blindfolds, anything - she can take sitting down.
Still, the Sit Down Caning is NOT the real thing. It's real, of course, and as heavy or light a session as you care to make it. But, it's not the same as a full-horsepower caning.
I see a full-horsepower caning session, as requiring two skills in equal measure. The secondary skill is mastery of the cane itself. There can be no errors. You must observe certain safety precautions, and you must remain within your own skill level.
Practice with a pillow. Pillows don't scream, and pillows can be replaced. So can canes. If you break a few canes in practice, you're probably on the right track. (Don't just swish the cane back and forth to see how flexible it is. It will break about an inch above where you're gripping it. Recognize that as an error, buy another cane, and learn from the experience.)
Canes break and shatter. I've broken more canes in practice, than on real people. That's the way it should be - I do the experimenting, and make the mistakes, in practicing on pillows. I keep a sharpie marker with my canes, so that when I break a cane on someone, I can write her name and the date on the cane, and present it as a momento.
It's particularly important to carefully inspect bamboo (as opposed to rattan) for any breaks or cracks. Split bamboo slices the skin open like a razor.
With the Sit Down Caning, you have developed delicacy of technique. With pillows, you can develop power while retaining accuracy. Keep your awareness of the cane's tip, and its placement.
For me, developing full power with complete accuracy is - surprise - a matter of physics. I swing the cane in an arc - but I make sure the arc is in a single plane. That is, the swing is completely flat. It may be horizontal, parallel with the floor, or it may be vertical, coming straight down from above. By swinging in a precise arc, I know precisely where the tip will land. The tip won't wobble, becoming a missed stroke.
For a harder stroke, I swing faster - in that same arc. I really only have one stroke!
Safety and accuracy are the keys. You can't afford any missed strokes. If you know you can accurately strike within three inches of the intended point, stay at least six inches from the danger zones. That is stay six inches from the tailbone, six inches from the back of the knee, and so on.
Aim the tip of the cane to land on the leg/button centerline. If your stroke lands too far over (i.e., it wraps), you still won't wrap all the way to the outside. Move from her left to right side and vice versa, to keep things even.
You'll often see a person's right buttock and leg chewed up, with the left hardly marked, because a right-handed caner only used a forehand stroke.
Yes, this means you need to learn the backhand cane strokes. Every stroke you do forehand, every technique, you *can* also learn to do backhand. In fact I can develop a more powerful stroke backhand than I can forehand. If you can keep things evenly balanced, she'll last longer.
So long as you remain firmly within your current skill level, you'll be fine.
However, as I said, the physical skill is secondary. What's most important, is how you conduct the scene. You already know what I mean: reading her body language, negotiating expectations, interacting with the audience, rhythm and pacing and reminding her to breathe. All of these things become more pronounced with the cane. Everything intensifies - and that includes "aftercare," keeping an eye on her as she comes back down over the next few minutes, hours, and days.