Written By: James Felton Keith
The Cane Critique:
Necessity is the mother of invention. I’ve heard Drew Brown say in the past that he has spent 10’s of thousands of hours repairing broken canes, and he simply needed something more robust. I actually have one of the plastic canes, Drew sent me one, and I experienced the difference. A much lighter prop than wood. In the Twirlin’ community we often hear “respect the wood”, because of the potential for its hard structure to make our bodies black and blue…LOL. Drew had a cane (at Klave) that was wrapped heavy with tape (not the one he used to balance in the show), and the weight/impact of it on his limbs is comparable to wood, but its ability to bounce off of a surface is much greater. That is an advantage that no competitors have.
On one end of the spectrum an opposing Kanemaster could say that Drew’s approach isn’t fair, on the other, he changed the art of Twirlin’ structurally and strategically; But, I’m not an extremist. When practicing for a battle everyone Twirlin’ is thinking about which moves will appeal to the Twirlers and the crowd. We’re usually thinking of Twirlin as a rigid craft with parameters that only allow a certain set of moves, and for one competitor to come along and deliver a balancing act coupled with some juggling and mild Twirlin’, one should be compelled to ask the question: Did Drew’s Twirlin’ presentation just change the way in which a KaneMaster competition could be won? The reality is that none of us on that stage (including Drew) had enough time to perform what we actually wanted to in its entirety, but, we all charged to make due with what time and space we had to execute the best. While its a shame for the onlookers, it has nothing to do with the successful and failed execution of the Twirlers (including myself).
Consistent with the elements of elitism and prestige that any fraternity is designed to have in order to keep out the rif raf, Twirlin’ has a conservative community. Whether we are referencing the transition from flow to speed to tricks between the masters of the 1980’s and 1990’s to the present, as so elaborated on in A Brief History of Twirlin’. Brothers wise reaction to Drew’s win was that it was “other-than” Twirlin’ with the use of different tools and therefore unwarranted. Perhaps his presentation lacks couth, perhaps his statements lacks the necessary deference. Rhetoric here is important and the instead of using language like “I’m the 1st
official KaneMaster, per KAPsi” a better way to acknowledge his win should be “I won the 1st official KaneMaster contest endorsed by KAPsi”. The statements reads similar but they are very different. When Kappa’s started stepping in step shows, the first winners weren’t oblivious to the teams, styles, and expertise that came before them. There are dozens of KaneMasters from before the age of Yogi on forward…
I’d just like to say congrats to Drew, and that I’m looking forward to the next competition. 😉