**1.** Practice, practice, practice. Pillows make great practice dummies – they leave behind one to two strokes worth of lines to show you if you’re getting a good clean stroke, and a good vertical line. The time to make an “oopsie” isn’t on someone’s rear, it’s on someone’s pillow. (That sounded dirty, didn’t it?)
**2.** Know your rear ends. And your thighs. And your calves, and breasts, and soles of the feet. Know where you can hit (those places), and where you should never hit (the spine line, base of the spine, kidneys, joints, hands, face, head, neck, shoulders, ankles, knees…just nowhere with bones, joints or major nerves, okay?).
**3.** Kneel, Lean and Rest. Actually, kneeling, leaning, resting, bent over, on all fours, face down-ass-up…put the bottom in a position where they’re supported and where the body part you want is available for play. Caning causes a sharp jump and sudden slack in the muscles – having a hot girl stand in the middle of a room while you do it may look cool, but it risks serious injury.
**4.** Know your angles. Your swinging hand should never go past someone’s hip. A cane has flex – but not that much. When you swing, you want the flat of the cane to impact at as near to an even angle as possible with the surface you’re caning. Think of it this way – a wrap-around with a whip will leave painful marks – a wrap around with a cane will break the cane and the bottom’s skin.
**5.** Know your area. Seriously. Please don’t hit me, sitting over here, in the corner? (I’ve been a good boy Mommy, I promise!) About the only activities that take more “safety” room than caning are whipping and beat-downs. If you can make a 360 degree circle with your cane without hitting someone, you’re good. If you can’t, you can still play – just be aware of where everything is.
**6.** Know your canes. Wood canes hit, but may splinter and break. Oiled wood canes will last longer, flex better – but can require re-oiling and care. Rattan canes can last forever, but they can be very rigid depending on size, and don't always have a solid weight. Plastic canes are whippy and springy, but with time they’ll harden and may shatter. Lexan and polymer canes are inert and combine the whippiness of plastic with a solid weight – but can cost like the dickens. The best bet for a beginner starting on a budget? Oiled Hardwood.
**7.** To insert or not to insert – don’t. First, a cane is too thin to really make a good impression. Second, most canes have picked up body oils, sweat, maybe even blood – don’t insert that into a partner. If you want a caning toy that is insertable, try a baton.
**8.** Breaking a Cane isn’t cool. It’s bad technique. Tons and tons and TONS of newbie Tops will show you just how “incredible” they are by breaking a cane on you. That’s heap bad mojo. Breaking a toy can break your skin – never good during play. A Top who actually knows what they’re doing almost never breaks a cane or a toy - he moves up to the next level tool. If you're reaching the end of use for Oiled hardwood, then it's time for something heavier. A good Top has more tools than just one.
**9.** Caning is either sexy, or a punishment. If it’s sexy, then see the 10 Tips On Paddling section of “Keep a Rhythm – Then Don’t.” If it’s a punishment (or a punishment scene) though – be sure that your partner has themselves a really good safeword, and that you’re watching out for them anyway. Caning is sharp, instant, cutting pain – your partner may not have enough time to use the safeword before they start dropping.
**10.** Good technique with a cane doesn’t take much power. It’s a cross over of paddling and whipping, with an emphasis on the wrist and elbow for power and control. It takes practice. But if you work up a heavy sweat using a cane – you’re doing it wrong. The bottom should be sweating. You should be, err….dripping happiness.