THÉORIE POUR APPRENDRE A TIRER LA CANNE by [FENCING/SELF-DEFENCE.] LEBOUCHER…

THÉORIE POUR APPRENDRE A TIRER LA CANNE by [FENCING/SELF-DEFENCE.] LEBOUCHER de Rouen, [Louis Armand Victorin.] < >
  • Another image of THÉORIE POUR APPRENDRE A TIRER LA CANNE by [FENCING/SELF-DEFENCE.] LEBOUCHER de Rouen, [Louis Armand Victorin.]
  • Another image of THÉORIE POUR APPRENDRE A TIRER LA CANNE by [FENCING/SELF-DEFENCE.] LEBOUCHER de Rouen, [Louis Armand Victorin.]
  • Another image of THÉORIE POUR APPRENDRE A TIRER LA CANNE by [FENCING/SELF-DEFENCE.] LEBOUCHER de Rouen, [Louis Armand Victorin.]
  • Another image of THÉORIE POUR APPRENDRE A TIRER LA CANNE by [FENCING/SELF-DEFENCE.] LEBOUCHER de Rouen, [Louis Armand Victorin.]
The art of fencing with the cane

THÉORIE POUR APPRENDRE A TIRER LA CANNE en 25 leçons. Ornée de soixante-quatorze figures, par Leboucher, de Rouen, Professeur de Canne, Bâton, Adresse et Boxe. Prix: 5 francs. A Paris, Chez L’Auteur, rue de la Michodière, No. 20, Percepied, Libraire... Amable Rigaud... et tous les Marchands de Nouveautés.

1843. 8vo, pp. 54; with lithograph frontispiece portrait and with 38 lithograph plates (numbered 1 - 37, including 10 bis); lightly foxed and toned throughout, but generally clean and bright; uncut in the original blue printed wrappers, head and tail of spine a little chipped and worn, covers a little soiled, with a number of small marginal tears and some furling, with signature of ‘Hri de Crouzet de Rayssac’? at head of front wrapper; a very good copy. Extremely scarce first edition of this self-published treatise on the art of fencing with a cane, including 38 striking lithograph plates, the work of Louis Armand Victorin Leboucher (1807-1866), a professional teacher in the arts of boxing, and fencing with canes and sticks.
Basing himself in Paris, Leboucher established a school of self defence at the rue de la Michodière, and became renown as a powerful and, by the sounds of it, a fearsome fencer. As he notes in his preface, man’s first means of defence, other than the fist, would have been a large stick or club. Whilst carrying a firearm may not be socially acceptable, carrying a walking cane was commonplace, so why not learn to employ it for self defence if required when travelling. His methods focused upon strength and speed. As he continues, far from being futile as some may think, fencing with a cane was an essential personal defence skill, providing ‘a means of repulsion useful in certain circumstances’ (p. 4). It should also be seen as an acceptable and suitable form of gymnastic exercise and relaxation. He believes that his 25 lessons will be sufficient for any student to ‘obtain a degree of perfection which would otherwise require six months of practice’ (p.4). It will develop muscular strength in the arms, chest and legs, expand the lungs, and he claims that as a result of the training, most ordinary students should be able to carry out 150 blows in a minute. His students, he states, will be able to defend themselves with poise and dexterity, and he concludes by inviting the heads of military institutions, ‘who have not yet accepted our method, to make their students aware of the advantages of his theories, uniquely established as a system of personal defence’.
In addition to the present work, Leboucher published Théorie de boxe française (1844) and Théorie de boxe française et anglaise pour apprendre à tirer en 25 leçons (1853).
Though the signature is slightly obscure, we believe the copy to have once belonged to the Henri de Crouzet de Rayssac (1853-1930).

Bibliography: We have so far located only one copy, at the BnF, which has been digitised and whilst noting only 37 plates, does collate as here, including the portrait.

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