Testimonials for Doc Stull

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Carolyn Hino-Bourassa

Doc Stull really went the extra mile in making the class a success.  He has a natural talent for turning an instructional environment into a fun and exciting experience.  He taught each class with enthusiasm and never ceased to encourage us.   The curriculum is very ambitious and in just six weeks, I learned many more moves than I thought I would.  I highly recommend this class to anyone who wants to learn how to protect themselves but does not have the time and physical ability to learn a more traditional form of martial arts.

Carolyn Hino-Bourassa

Carol Scher

Friday, March 5, 2021

I loved this class! I learned so much more than I thought I would. My biggest hurdle was finding the time to practice, but as I got better, I practiced more because it was so much fun to do the cane moves.  Richard (Doc) Stull is a great teacher, very encouraging, and takes the time to slow it down and explain the moves in detail. He sent us copies of the class so we could go over and over the more difficult moves until understanding how to do them.  I would recommend this class to anyone who wants to learn new skills that use something, a cane, that you might carry every day. I am 74, so using a cane is something I might use more now, especially hiking. Most of all, Doc Stull makes the class so much fun!

Carol Scher



Jan Arboit

Dear Coach Richard,

I wanted to send you a note of thanks for the excellent cane class I participated in last month.  I not only learned excellent self-defense skills, but I had so much fun in the process! You are an excellent teacher and I truly appreciate all your efforts to make this class possible via zoom! I would recommend it to anyone!  With gratitude,

Jan Arboit


Craig Riordan

March 8, 2021

I have had the opportunity to train in several self-defense and martial arts styles, including Shuri-ryū Karate, Aikido, police self-defense training, and Army Ranger hand-to-hand combat training.  American Cane Self-Defense is the best self-defense training I’ve ever experienced.

ACSD Advanced Instructor Richard “Doc” Stull was a remarkable instructor, He was ideal in balancing patience, encouragement, unique insights, and a great sense of humor to create a friendly, non-intimidating, and highly effective learning environment. Doc’s doctorate in biomechanics, his background in martial arts, boxing, and dance, and his years of teaching experience as a professor allow him to recognize and share insights that are incredibly beneficial and unique to his students.

ACSD qualities:

  1. This form of self-defense allows the student to become proficient and confident in a short amount of time.
  2. The techniques in this system make sense, there is no wasted movement or energy, and the student does not have a background in martial arts or athletics to become proficient.
  3. The techniques are instantly applicable, allowing the student to use the cane for leverage and maximum effect.
  4. Finally, the training sessions are delightful, dare I say even fun! There is no practicing the same punch 1000 times on a heavy bag or hours of practicing kata; instead, the student learns practical and effective techniques in a matter of weeks by investing thirty minutes per lesson, two days a week.

My ACSD California Instructor recommended the “Player Cane” as the best learning tool and practicing American Cane Self Defense.  So true!  Beautifully constructed and balanced, I found the Player Cane ideal for training, increasing my effectiveness and confidence.

Doc Stull’s lessons are like cheesecake; every bite is very rich (one gets much out of every minute).  Doc is an instructor that can make any student feel comfortable while they gain confidence and proficiency.


Dr. Craig Riordan

Ken Sparrow

June 15, 2021

I’ve had the good fortune to train firsthand under Doc Stull’s guidance. And to train with him through the ACSD Intermediate online live training course for the past year. Doc is a treat to learn from and to train with.  His contributions to the training process through inciteful posts and comments and his enthusiasm and valuable questions during training sessions have helped all of us who trained with him to constantly improve our skills.  Doc combines great teaching skills with terrific showmanship to get the most from his students and caning friends.

Ken Sparrow aka Keyser Soze



Brian Pector

June 18, 2021

Recommendation for Doc Stull as a Teacher

I am a former Military Officer in the USAF. I have been in many instructor/teaching positions in this capacity: Chief Instructor of all Flight Commanders at the USAF Officer Training School at Lackland AFB and Chief Navigator Instructor at Clark AFB, Philippines. I know what makes a good instructor/teacher.  I’ve observed Doc Stull for six months with him acting as my instructor/teacher in a Martial Arts discipline. Doc exhibits true patience, total understanding of the subject at hand, and the outstanding ability to effectively communicate his knowledge to others. He constantly challenges himself and his students with exceptional teaching methods based on his curiosity and enthusiasm to develop new ways to clearly present the subject material at hand.  If I had to have an instructor/teacher on my staff in a classroom environment, I would want it to be Doc Stull. He’s that good! I totally recommend him for any instructor/teaching position he may seek.

Major Brian Pector, USAF Ret



Stephen Birgells

Doc Stull, thank you for your service to Canin’. I’m certain that throughout the future and the past history of Canin’ you will be recognized and remembered for your devotion to the art along with founder Joe Robaina as current and future students investigate the ACSD archives.

Kathy McCarthy
My husband and I took this cane self-defense class and I was amazed at how fun it was! Doc is a great teacher giving lots of encouragement. He is very knowledgeable and often shared interesting stories about the history of cane self-defense or about his own experience of learning the art. He is very personable and I felt an instant connection to him. He was so patient and kind and motivating. I would call Doc a master teacher, a teacher of teachers, the best!
Mark McCarthy
Doc is an exceptional teacher who presents complicated training moves in bite sized portions that are doable and fun. He is very patient with bumbling beginners like me. I never felt any sense of judgment or frustration from him which is vital when trying to learn new skills. If you are nervous about looking inadequate, have no fear! Doc also presents the history and science related to caning in a way that is accessible and natural. I found particularly enlightening his knowledge regarding the physics of caning moves. I highly recommend Doc and his caning classes or anything else he might teach.

Mark McCarthy
Greg Pasden

Greg Pasden – 

I am personally giving my highest recommendation for Doc Stull as a Cane Self Defense instructor for several significant reasons.  I am a 22 year Air Force veteran who served proudly in multiple wars and conflicts. Currently, I am a COBRA Self Defense training center owner. COBRA is the global leader in training reality-based self-defense tactics, skills, improvised weapons, and real-life scenarios to civilians.I am the creator of the internationally recognized podcast, The Self Defense Channel. Our goal is to share self-defense tips that anyone can use to enhance their safety & security.

 Doc Stull is an excellent communicator. He can break down complicated steps into an easy-to-understand process.  He ensures that students fully understand the biomechanics (why it’s easier and more efficient). Doc is highly personable. The moment you meet and work with Doc, you feel an instant connection. This creates a friendly and welcoming instructor-student relationship.  Doc is trustworthy and a person of integrity – he will do the right thing for the students because he is passionate about learning and owning what they have been taught.

Doc can easily empathize with his students. This makes it even easier for students to work with him because both can feel the same and relate better with each other. For example, a student may need more time to accomplish a task. Doc understands and can relate so that the student actually achieves the learning.

Doc is charismatic, and his classes are dynamic. This makes the students anticipate attending each class. Students don’t want the classes to end. This makes classes and lessons a joy to learn. – a true goal of every instructor.  Again, I give my highest recommendation for Doc Stull as a Cane Self Defense instructor.

Greg Pasden



Dick Shannon

June 29, 2021

I was new to the American Cane Self Defense system and at times I questioned my abilities to learn the various skills being demonstrated.  Many times, it was through the questions that you asked GM Robaina that brought clarity to a particular skill and helped me to understand it more fully the application.  Doc, you have never been one to just accept something simply on its face value.  You take a skill and analyze it, break it down into its individual components, question for clarity so that you not only learn them correctly for yourself, but so you can then teach others not only how but why they are done a certain way.  You have the ability to put into words what needs to be communicated to your students and fellow caners along with your demonstrations to increase their understanding and expedite their learning.  When you review their submissions, you give them positive feedback on what they are doing correctly and are gentle with any corrections so as not to discourage them and remind them that everyone learns at their own rate.  I have watched the progress of your students as well as your fellow caners over time, both in the Cane At Home 6 Week Challenges and Cane Tribe, and how their canin’ skills have grown.  With your music background, you often use the rhythm of the music to bring various canin’ concepts to life.  Again, this helps bring clarity and understanding to the art.  In addition to your enthusiasm for the Cane Culture and empowering others in the use of the cane, you bring your skills and teaching talents with a sense of humor which helps keep everyone at ease and eager to learn.  You have never been afraid to laugh at yourself but have never made a joke at someone else’s expense.  That is a sign of a true gentleman, always aware of others’ needs and feelings, and there to support and lift them when needed.  Doc, thank you for your support and contributions as we have traveled together through the Leader and Advanced Curriculums, and now into the Master’s Curriculum.  You are an inspiration to others, and it is always enjoyable to cane with you.

Your friend and Fellow “Caner 4 Life”,  Richard “Dick” Shannon

Larry Bear

June 30, 2021

Don’t walk in fear anymore. Learn how to defend yourself with the one tool you can carry anywhere. Doc Stull in Northern California teaches ACSD ( American Cane Self Defense ). Learn how to use this simple mobility device to protect yourself and your loved ones.  Doc will teach you to have confidence in yourself and your ability to defend yourself if the time should ever arise.  In today’s world, everyone needs an advantage on their side in case of an altercation. Will you be ready when trouble comes to you? I certainly hope so. Be safe and carry a cane.

Larry Bear

Aaron Baulch

I wanted to take a few minutes and recognize ACSD Cane Empowerment Coach Doc Stull. As a Coach, Doc is engaging, personable, dedicated and truly cares about those he interacts with. His passion for sharing the ACSD System with others while continuing to deepen his understanding of all things Cane is second to none.

An amazing teacher yes…but, Doc remains even a better, more open and dedicated student. In a Doc Cane Class, you are guaranteed to get a story, probably laugh, a nuance or two to spark your brain and you will definitely come away with a realization of time well spent.

I am fortunate to be a CEC Coach alongside Doc and look forward to future interactions with him in Coaching and as a student. What would I say to those who might have an opportunity to get some Canin’ in with Doc?? DO IT, you will be more than glad that you did. – Coach Aaron

Ronald Doyle

I first met ACSD Advanced Instructor Doc Stull before I had even taken my first Leader class.

I mistakenly got invited to an instructor’s meeting and when I logged in and the attendees explained what the meeting was about and encouraged me to stick around and observe. Doc was one of the welcoming instructors.

I hadn’t taken any courses with Doc, but he had filled in for Founder, Joe Robaina when Joe couldn’t make the class.

Here’s an example of Doc’s great instruction abilities. One thing I was having trouble with was a jump spin. I could spin.  OK, but the timing and coordination of the jump part was a mystery to me. Doc was able to explain the jump spin in a way that made sense and made it simple to do. I was able to start doing the full jump spin which help sharpen my cane flows.

Of course, when Grand Cane Master and Founder Joe Robaina asks someone to stand in for him, that says a lot to me, and Doc has always done an outstanding job!

He has given clear instructions, and Always…has a Great Story to tell!

You can’t go wrong taking any course that Doc offers!!

Ron Doyle, ACSD Cane Master’s in training


Jonathan Altman


Anyone who has seen Doc knows he is a talented Caner (not to mention a good dancer).  He has a physical flair for the cane no doubt.  But he is also, maybe primarily, a wonderful teacher!

Anyone lucky enough to have practiced in the same class with him has benefited from what seems at first like a few random tips on caning, tossed off in class as charming asides—until you realize later that Doc passed on just those training tips you needed, and that you should have seen for yourself but somehow didn’t!

But Doc DID!

For those thinking about training with Doc, I have some very simple advice—DO IT!

You will not regret it, and for some, I know it will be the beginning of a life-changing journey with the cane!

Jonathan Altman

Thomas De Gasperis

I have had the opportunity to be coached by Doc Stull as well as train beside and with him at ACSD Headquarters in Miami, FL. I have always found Doc to be an excellent coach with a lot of enthusiasm and great attention to detail.

One of the best things that I have found working with Doc is he will get the job done and it will be with humor and a lot of fun.

If you have the opportunity to be trained by Doc Stull I highly recommend you take it. I am sure it will be a wonderful experience.

Thomas DeGasperis

Nicholas Hall

Hello, my name is Nicholas Hall, and I was very excited to hear that my Coach Richard
“Doc” Stull is offering an ACSD Course to the Over 60 Lifelong Learning Program on the West Coast in California… I have completed the ACSD Six Week Challenge course on the East Coast (CAH#109) and have been very fortunate enough to be able to attend Advanced classes with Coach Doc twice a week for the past 6 months.

I’ve also had the privilege to be able to work with my mentor Coach Doc in person while training in Miami in two seminars, one just recently and the other last year.  His style of training is unique.  Doc is versed in many different subjects.   His love for jazz and other musical arts enables him to incorporate the things he’s learned directly into his cane flow classes to make canin’ a fun experience.

Doc always finds a way to make even rigorous training a fun experience. I have had serious mobility issues in the past year.  Before starting ACSD, I went from using a wheelchair to walking a mile! My left hip has an artificial replacement and is now 14 years old. I have complications with 2 types of arthritis, I am on blood thinner and have “limitations” due to Lupus. Coach Doc has been very patient with me as I learn this material -always putting safety first and teaching me many different concepts and ways to strengthen my mind/body connection.

Doc is extremely knowledgeable cares very much about this challenging but fun subject in learning how to move efficiently with a cane, which is much more than simply a mobility tool.  Doc has taught me how to be more confident in myself and my abilities, always focusing on what I can do not what I am seemingly “limited to” …

I believe the class he is now offering is going to be a game-changer for most if not all who attend.  I’m currently in the best shape of my life, and now able to do things once thought impossible. I can bend at the knees, perform squats an spin around to get “in the circle, “all things I only dreamt about before starting ACSD and their highly trained and compassionate instructors like Doc. Enhanced focus and awareness, better balance overall enhanced mental health … all of the above ACSD has given me – the perfect outlet to express my well-being all while getting stronger and getting an  excellent cardio workout with my cane movements.

And, I don’t ever have to walk in fear again!! My training translates to many areas in my life and my family due to the self-protection foundation my cane training gives me!

Coach Doc has taught me if I am able to focus on “one thing,” that I can focus on anything!

I am so happy and grateful to hear this powerful information is going to be shared on the West Coast in California by Coach Doc Stull. Hearing this has really Jazzed me up has also made me realize one day I can follow in my mentors’ footsteps and teach this material one day, too… I appreciate you Coach Doc and am very proud to be a part of ACSD under yours, Leader Coach Aaron Baulch, and Grandmaster Joe Robaina’s tutelage.

Strong! Healthy! Happy!

Nicholas Diggler

Ana Menjivar

I have been “canin'” with Doc Stull for over a year now having completed the 6 Week Challenge and working my way through the Advanced Cane Curriculum.  What’s more, I have been one of only a handful of women trainees throughout much of that time and that’s why I want to encourage women to take this course.  Yes, you have to put in the time and “hard knocks” but the payoff is immeasurable.   Imagine a threatening situation where you are able to level the playing field with a cane (which we lovingly refer to as a “tool”).

What makes this training even more enjoyable is having it taught by our charming, amiable, and entertaining Doc Stull!   Did I mention that he is also extremely patient?  Doc remembers what it was like at the beginning of cane training.  He knows what you’re thinking…even before you’ve thought it!   He will help you learn these skills so that at the end of 6 weeks, you will be amazed at your newly developed abilities!    Do it!

Also, if you would like to know how the training is from a woman’s perspective you are most welcome to contact me because I have to admit that perhaps this is one thing Doc can’t help you with.   Doc is a one-of-a-kind instructor who loves “the dance.”  (You’ll understand what I mean by this later!)   Canin’ will change your life!  Sign up for the Challenge and enjoy!

Gary Savill

“Doc” Stull is a fantastic coach/instructor as an ACSD Coach.

He has a wonderfully uplifting energy and a great sense of humor, which makes the experience a lot of fun, while you are learning an incredible skill.

He is very detail-oriented with considerable feedback.

You would be lucky to have him as an instructor!–

Gary Savill, Ph.D.
Valery Hall

May 12, 2022

The course description for this class mentioned developing fitness, balance, coordination, brain health and self-defense. That’s a lot. I would have been happy to have success with any one of these. But this class helped me with ALL of these.

I came to the class with no self-defense skills. I’m a 76-year-old woman and use a cane due to a bad leg and often feel rather vulnerable. With my wonderful new self-defense cane and skills.  I’m beginning to feel powerful. The techniques are not difficult to learn, especially with Doc Stull as an instructor. HIs enthusiasm for American Cane Self Defense is contagious. I will definitely take another class.

Oh, and in addition to all the promised new skills, Doc taught me a way to hold my cane so walking is easier. That’s no small thing as walking is my most challenging problem.

I don’t think I’ve ever taken a course where I learned so much of real value that I can apply to my life. I’m looking forward to feeling more confident and powerful as I learn and practice more cane flow.


May 5, 2022

A few months ago, I happened to read in the newspaper that Richard “Doc” Stull was beginning to teach cane flow, and self-defense. I had been meaning to learn about self-defense for a long time, but the opportunity never presented itself. However, this cane technique was intriguing. A few months later, when a virtual course was announced, I enrolled.

I wasn’t up for traditional martial arts using my hands, as I have an arm injury and chronic pain. Because of this, I couldn’t do all of the cane flow, but Doc encouraged me to do what I could. When I was challenged by health issues and wondering whether to continue, Doc said, “You can drop me, but I will never drop you.” I was very busy at the time I took the course; on Tuesdays, I had a pain group in the morning and Doc’s course in the afternoon. Friends suggested that I’d bitten off more than I could chew. But “more cane, less pain” became my motto, and to my surprise, I found that learning cane moves helped refocus my brain from the pain.

It was easy to interject questions throughout the sessions, and Doc always had helpful answers. He has a sense of humor and his knowledge of biomechanics gave an air of authority to his material. I gained confidence from the first class, and it was clear how much joy Doc gets from continuing to teach after retiring from a long university career. So, I stuck with it, and hope to continue.

I stumbled into a fantastic opportunity and strode out with newfound strength. Thanks, Doc!