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Caning on the hands

June 7 2007 at 7:19 PM

I was never caned on the hand but always dreaded it as it seems especially cruel and must be incredibly painful. There is no flesh on the fingers and precious little on the palm so I really feel that method should have been outlawed long before caning was banned altogether.
I have never understood how anyone could keep their hand out when they knew a stick was going to come whacking down across it any second - and to actually watch it coming down must have made it ten times worse! The reflexes must force you to snatch it away from any danger so how was it done? Then, of course, it was often the case that you had to hold it out again, with it stinging like crazy, for another one or even more!
The cane across the bottom seems far more humane compared to getting it across the hand so why was bending over considered in many schools to be the way you were punished for the most serious offences. I would say it should have been the other way around!

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Re: Caning on the hands

June 7 2007, 9:50 PM 

Of course the strap/belt used in Scotland (and other odd places in England) has the same problem but seemed to have worked


Re: Caning on the hands

June 7 2007, 10:00 PM 

Caning on the hands, dangerous for the reasons you outline above, was preferred by some teachers who were aware of the sexual implications of bottom caning.

Steve M

Re: Caning on the hands

June 7 2007, 10:11 PM 


In your era,I presume hands for girls was the general rule, if girls got it.

It was in mine, though, as an all-boy's grammar, caning girls would have taken a bit of doing anyway!

Very few at primary school-I can remember only 2 boys & 2 girls in nearly 4 years-2 pairs of truants. All 4 came back to class biting lips and with hands firmly clenched under armpits,which strongly suggests the hands-you are right about it hurting more.

Let's face it-your sense of touch is strongest there, so it must be more delicate nerve-endingly. OK, I've never tried navigating around for matches and candles in a power cut with my backside to test that, but............!

If it was hands for girls, the fact they have more fatty tissue down there might also explain a thing or two, sexual connotations apart, though that aspect might just have spared the ladies, unless faced by Ketta's monster!

The other thing-did they ever spare the WRITING hand?


Re: Caning on the hands

June 8 2007, 11:03 AM 

I think that they used a lighter cane on palms than they did on bottoms, so it might not have been as vicious as it sounds.

Even if they weren't aware that bottom caning was "sexy", I think that some teachers thought that it was undignified for an older boy -- by caning the hand, they hurt him but let him keep some self-respect.

I think that most teachers held onto the victims wrist while whacking his hand so "pulling the hand away" might not have been a problem. (I've also heard that victims were sometimes specifically told to close their eyes.)

A friend of mind claimed to have experienced a mass execution -- a teacher had demanded that someone own up to some terrible crime (vandalizing a piece of classroom equipment; when no culprit came forward, the whole class got their hands caned. They didn't have to queue up; the teacher walked around the class; when he came to your desk, you had to stand up and hold your hand out. The boys were specifically told to hold out the hand that they didn't write with. My friend claimed to be able to write equally well with both hands; the teacher asked which he would rather take it on; he said he didn't know, so the teacher told him to hold out his left hand. This has always seemed to me to be particulularly sadistic: having a calm, cold-blooded conversation with someone who is just about to hurt you about how you want them to do it.

I have often heard that some schools offered boys the choice between getting it on the hand or the bum, and boys were by no means agreed about which was worse.

If children were injured by hand-canings, it would have been all over the newspapers, so I guess the teachers new what they were doing.


Re: Caning on the hands

June 8 2007, 1:10 PM 

After a lifelong interest in the cane I have never agreed with caning on the hands - far too dangerous. The bottom is "natures place" and ideally suited for the cane. Having said that I take the point that maybe it was used on girls hands to save some embarassment.

It may well have been a lighter junior cane that was used on the hands. Dont forget the KES film where all the boys got it on their hands so its not just a girl thing.


I know that with the tawse - some were made to sit on a desk with their short trousers / dresses or skirts rolled up to expose the fronts of the legs. The hands were then tawsed above - if you moved your hands - your legs got it instead.



Re: Caning on the hands

June 8 2007, 6:03 PM 

The cane strokes in "Kes" look quite light: no raising it above the teachers shoulder, but it obviously stings. There is also a hand caning scene in "The Long Day Closes" which seems to quite light I guess that is what most CP was like in real life -- a swift, nasty sting, but not a horrible whipping.


Re: Caning on the hands

June 8 2007, 8:11 PM 

But you imagine putting you hand into a clump of stinging nettles - then having to put your other hand in - then back to the first one again - and so on, up to six times!
It must have been agony and I really admire those kids who managed to do it.


Re: Caning on the hands

July 24 2007, 11:29 AM 

I see it like this - all caning on the bottom has a sexual motive, although the teacher doing the caning may not be self-aware enough to realise it. I do not believe there is a sexual element in hand caning.


Re: Caning on the hands

July 24 2007, 1:36 PM 

With great respect to your point of view Jo I would have to disagree with such a sweeping generalisation.

Some administrators of the cane no doubt were excited by the practice - that is well documented but equally there surely must have been those who viewed it purely as necessary discipline - a job that had to be done.

As to the steely determination to keep the hand in place for the tawse or the cane - i know that some were made to sit on a desk with short trousers or rolled up skirt or dress for girls with the thighs exposed - any missed strokes due to the removal of the hands landed on the legs. All very clever.

Just a few more thoughts on this interesting debate



Re: Caning on the hands

July 24 2007, 7:10 PM 

Jo you would be astounded at what some folks find a turn on.

Steve M

Re: Caning on the hands

July 24 2007, 9:38 PM 


Did you have experience yourself or at your schools of this Heads I win, Tails you lose approach to CP infliction. Revolting idea,I feel.

And oh so practical-wonder how many staff-room hours went into researching that as a win-win solution?

Steve M


Re: Caning on the hands

July 25 2007, 1:35 AM 

No Steve - no first hand experience - but I have it on very reliable authority from one ex teacher I know well and have no reason to distrust.

As you say this amongst other "scientific" and calculating ideas must have emanated from somewhere and yes I suppose someone must have thought this one out. Imagine the discussion. This is only one example though - Im sure our members here can think of lots more.



Re: Caning on the hands

July 25 2007, 9:38 AM 

Quote Danny:
" There is no flesh on the fingers and precious little on the palm so I really feel that method should have been outlawed long before caning was banned altogether."

I find myself agreeing Danny - so perhaps there's hope for us yet!

The hand is an extremely verasatile tool with an extraordinary ability to perform really quite complex operations. Its construction too is complex involving numerous small bones, blood vessels, nerves, ligaments, skin, muscles and joints, a true wonder of nature. So let's hit it with a stick shall we? ! !

However ..... as Beanokid says, if cases of injury from hand-caning had been common then it would have been all over the papers - or would it?

Hand caning puts the recipient facing the caner and the cane can be clearly seen, the trauma is different but no less daunting or humiliating than being caned on the bottom I suspect.



Re: Caning on the hands

July 25 2007, 8:49 PM 

Although it was perhaps more to do with the nature of the teacher rather than the methods below, I would submit:-
Girls having more delicate hands would feel the pain more on the hand. Punishment on the bottom could result in protruding girly bits being struck and fatter bottom absorbing sting more. Also as girls get older bottom punishment can stimulate after the initial painfull effect.
Boys caned on hands when young because hands not unlike a girl. Bottom a bit fatter thus absorbing strokes better?
As boys get older their hands toughen up, as the bottom becomes more muscular then it may sting more there.
If you get the drift.


Re: Caning on the hands

July 28 2007, 1:25 AM 

You tried to put on a brave face when you hands were being caned. Generally the most painful place to be caned was on your fingertips, my sixth grade teacher caned on the fingertips, fortunately I avoided this. My headmistress Mrs Joss preferred to cane the palm of your hand.
The worst part was seeing the cane approaching your hand and sharp swish sound, the canes that were used on me were fairly whippy and long.


Re: Caning on the hands

August 28 2007, 7:23 PM 

It was the confused position as to the "best" area to cane that was one of the reasons for it being discontinued by some schools before it was abolished by law. Teaching organisations were giving conflicting advice to heads as to where to apply the cane.State and private school heads tended to belong to differant organisations. The state heads were advised, due to the sexual connection to cane on the hands.this also avoided the problems that could arise in the state system if a boy decided to wear two or three pairs of pants knowing the cane was going to be applied to his trousers. Certainly, in the state system it would have caused the head some problems if, on seeing several pairs of pants being worn, to make the boy take his trousers down, and at least the extra pairs of pants. The idea that boys put exercise books down their trousers belongs in the reals of fantasy, but extra pants being worn was a common trick. In the private sector, heads wrre advised to cane on the bottom, rather than risk damage to the fingers. Private schools had the tradition of caning on the bottom, and indeed requiring it to be bared for the punishment. this would have been expected in private schools by parents has it had been going on for many years. The reasons for this i can explain if it is of interest. Caning on the bottom caused no long term damage to the body, but caning on the hands could damage fingers and joins for the rest of the persons life.

A caning on the bottom was easier for a boy to take, as he could hold position more, and just had to keep bending over. With the hands he had to hold one out, take a painful stroke on it and then hold the other one out for the same treatment. It was worse of course if he was getting four strokes and the strokes were applied alternately to each hand. I must have been very hard having had your hand caned, then the other one caned and then having to put them out again. At least on the bottom he just had to keep still.

One final point was that it was easier to administer hard srokes on the bottom than the hand. This was for three reasons. If the teacher had to hold the boys wrist he had limited room to swing the cane compared to doing on the bottom. Secondly, if the boy moved his hand it could cause a lasting injury which was not the case on his bottom. The third reason being that the palm of the hand is a very small are to strike compared to the bottom. this caused teacher to do it softer on the hands so as to get it on target. when caning the bottom it was easier to get the target and would not cause lasting injury if the stroke was off target, as it would in most cases be low and get his legs rather than the spine if aimed high.



caningon hands

August 29 2007, 3:41 PM 

yes, a lighter cane was used when caning on the hands.
there were two ways of carry-out this punishemnt -- one was to cane across the hand, hitting fingers as well as the base of the hand
the other was to hit diagonally across the palm
i knew of one teacher who, before he caned, would put a sixpenny piece in the centre of the palm, and the boy was told he could keep it if the teacher missed it! he never had to give any boy the tanner!


Re: Caning on the hands

September 3 2007, 12:22 PM 

I was only ever caned on my hands, at Hatfield House Lane. The most I ever got was four--delivered to the finger-tips of alternate hands. After the first stroke, each hand first felt as if it had doubled in size--then both went completely numb; and so strokes 3 & 4 were a doddle to receive. It never occured to me to pull my hand away. In fact, I never saw anyone do that throughout the scores of canings, witnessed by me; nor did I ever see a teacher have to hold a child's wrist, when caning him/her.

I once saw a girl refuse to put out her hand at all. It was obvious to her, and to the rest of the class, that Doug Jennings was brimming with satisfaction at the prospect of swishing the cane across the hand of the prettiest girl in the school. He hopped about impotently when she refused to play along. Instead, she went home and told her mother. The latter stormed up to the school, looking for Jennings. She found him on dining-room duty. To the delight of the assembled diners, she grabbed Jennings by the hair and, holding on to it all the way, dragged him: out of the room; up a flight of stone stairs; across the playground; and into the headteacher's office. I don't know what happened there, but I bet it was fun!

Usually, though, it was a point of honour to take one's strokes, looking the teacher straight in the eye, without flinching. Hand-caning was much more respectful of a child's dignity than the pseudo buggery, from which the eroticism of bottom-caning, no doubt, derives.


Re: Caning on the hands

September 3 2007, 11:55 PM 

In the book "Legal Cases For Teachers" most of the law suits relating to serious injuries from caning result from caning on the hands. The bottom is a far safer place.


Re: Caning on the hands

September 5 2007, 9:46 AM 

'...most of the law suits relating to serious injuries from caning result from caning on the hands'

How many serious injuries are listed in the book? If, hand-caning was the norm in Secondary Modern Schools; and if, caning on the bottom was relatively rare--then there were bound to have been more law suits, and injuries, arising from caning on the hands.


Re: Caning on the hands

September 14 2007, 7:46 PM 

Proponents of the efficacy of caning, as a deterrent to errant youth, often ignore one salient fact i.e. that most caning in UK schools, was caning on the hands. Some have averred that caning on the bottom is more humane. I believe that what they actually mean is that it is more erotic. If the cane is to return, then it makes no sense to apply it to mischief-makers' bottoms---that would be equivalent to rewarding them with blow-jobs and cunnilingus.


Re: Caning on the hands

September 22 2007, 8:44 PM 

Caning on the hands always took place on the bare flesh. I never saw anyone--whether male or female--caned in gloves. A good hand caning would keep modern mischief makers away from gun-play, for 15 minutes or so--which can't be such a bad thing can it?


Re: Caning on the hands

September 23 2007, 9:02 AM 

Ever try rolling a blunt, after your hands have been caned? Nigh impossible, believe me!


Re: Caning on the hands

October 24 2007, 2:50 PM 

I've only been caned on my hands before in primary school, so would not be able to compare if caning is actually more painful on the hands or on the buttocks. But I can say, caning on the hands is REALLY painful.

I came from a primary school where caning is just given even so frequently. I have been caned because of forgetting to do my homework, not bringing textbooks, failing spelling tests and so on. I was particularly naughty when I was in primary 2 and 3, so that was when I received most of my caning (could recall about 5 incidents at least which I was caned).

Most of the time before the caning, I would have known that I will be caned. The time waiting is scary indeed. She will then take the cane, hit the cane against the desk a few times, before calling the poor names to be caned. Sometimes she calls them out one by one, sometimes all those who will be caned line up first before receiving the strokes.

My teacher expects us to show our writing hand for caning (which is right hand for me), and support it with my other hand. The teacher will also hold my right hand with her left hand. It is the ritual for her to rest/point her cane on my palm, and then give me a small scolding/teaching about what the wrongs I have done, before caning me. The caning really hurts.

It really hurts especially when the cane hits the pal'ms cheek, or when the teacher mi****s and hits the fingers instead of the palm. My teacher usually delivers the strokes in quick sucession, with no pauses in between.

I still remember usually, after the first stroke I'll be in huge shock, after the 2nd, my palm feels hurt like hell, 3rd onwards hand starts feeling a bit numb. I also notice most of us girls tend to start tip-toeing after the 3rd stroke until the caning is complete. My worst caning was 5 strokes. Still remember how the caning marks left bruises, especially on the cheek of my palm for a few days. I think I cried after the caning.

Especially the first half hour after the caning, my right hand's always shaking badly due to the pain that it is really hard to hold the pencil to write properly.

I was lucky enough not to be caned on the buttocks before, but did witness a few. They sounded really loud. Thankfully I dont have to have those experiences!


Caning on the hands

November 29 2010, 5:36 AM 

I was caned four times during my schooling and the cane was applied to my hands on each occasion. School regulations permitted the use of corporal punishment which took the form of the cane applied to the hands with a maximum of six strokes. In primary school girls under the age of 12 were permitted to be caned (my sister was caned once), however in secondary schools only boys were permitted to be caned. Seeing the cane swishing down on your hands was an awful site and the sting was terrible. You could see the outline of the cane on your hands where the cane had struck and your skin was white inside the red outline your hands were also slightly swollen depending how hard the cane had struck you. I did not take three of my four canings that well and I heard "raise your hand, flatten your palm" after each stroke when I lowered my hand and put it under my armpit to dull the pain. ( I did receive corporal punishment on my bottom once but it was not administered with a cane).

If you knew you were going to be caned you could spend a couple of minutes warming your hands up by rubbing them together or on the material of your shorts or trousers if you were not instructed to wait for your punishment with your hands perched on your head. Other methods to dull the pain were rubbing dirt on your hands on your way to the office or putting a feather on your hands, however these methods of reducing the sting apparently had no effect on how sore you were after your punishment.
You could be caned on the palms of your hands or on your fingertips and receiving the cane on your fingertips hurt a great deal more. It was worse if you received all of the strokes on one hand and that happened to me for my two secondary school canings and my fingertips were caned on both occasions and my hand was quite swollen after both punishments. For my two primary school canings I received my punishment on both hands (three strokes on each hand).

On a personal note, I deserved the four corporal punishments I received and I don't believe that I was punished unjustly and my punishments I received were not outside of the accepted standards of the day. I do feel that the cane should have been applied to the bottom rather than the hands due to the delicate nature of the construction of human hands, especially children's hands. If there were concerns about the nature of striking children's bottoms for misbehaviour at school then the talk should have been about the continued use of school corporal punishment rather than adjusting the way school corporal punishmnet was administered. Furthermore the use of corporal punishment was under the notion of in loco parentis where teachers had the same rights as parents over the children under their care. If I was in trouble at home I ended up with a sore bottom rather than sore hands. Corporal punishment was stopped in 1986 and it was returned in 1988 and I was caned for the last time in my schooling that year.

P.S. My understanding is that most schools in the United Kingdom administered corporal punishment with the slipper or cane and it was mostly administered to the buttocks with the exception of Scotland where the hands were punished with a strap. I would like to know if there were instances of hand caning in British schools?


why cane handa?

December 22 2010, 5:04 AM 

Why should hands be caned when God has given buttocks,which are fleshy and made to receive castigation.


caning on hands----wrong

December 25 2010, 2:43 AM 

i was never caned on hands

i saw a few getting belted [ tawsed ] on hands and two on bottom

i think caning on hands was and is dangerous

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