Re: Whips and weapons

No prob, Tyler. A respctful discussion is a healthy thing and - as far I'm concerned - it's more than welcome to last forever.  To the weapons... I'm practicing the nunchaku since I was 14 years old. Great for hand/eye coordination. Exactly like the whip. I agree with you, that there are situations where you can't just turn your back and run away. The situation you described is a perfect sample for the need to defend yourself. It's next to impossible to create a rule that fits every situation in a lifetime. What I told my students was that "run away thingie" in the situations one experiences most. Someone tries to insult you. A crime is a total different story, sure. But - for example - I'm out for dinner. A group of (probably drunken) folks come up and give me names. "Fucker", "asshole" and what's more in the book.

Do I have to fight? No. Some people say that they have to defend their honor. Could I really be hurt by the words of a person which doesn't know me at all? I think not. Should I react if someone is attacked who can't run; can't defend him/herself? Yes.

If it comes to that (old) discussion if it makes sense to carry weapons... I strongly believe that weapons belong into the hands of the police. That's it. When people say "It's our right to carry weapons!" Okay - that's based on a social situation which happened to be 100 years ago. But now...? Argument #1 is always that one needs a gun to defend. From the crooks with guns. But - history - who wants to buy a gun will get one, sure. Is this the right way? Surely not. I leave home and check everything... Ballpen, book, warm gloves, S&W 357, handkerchief, shoes laced... Violence creates violence. So - for my part in that game - I try to avoid everything which could lead into violance.

I have my hands full, to explain the people here, that whip cracking is a sport. The last thing I need is whips to be declared weapons. If this would become popular, the whole sport would suffer.

But - on the other hand - I'm really happy that these - serious! - things can be discussed in the nice and respectful way we do it here  smile


I have a screwdriver. I am Legend...


Re: Whips and weapons

Well said, Robby.

Though I disagree with your opinions on weapons, I do understand why you say it. Nobody wants to contribute to a problem; especially peaceful people.

I am one of those peaceful people. I know at least a dozen ways to kill a man with my bare hands, but I absolutely refuse to use that knowledge unless my life is threatened. Even then, I will attempt to find another way out. Only as a very last resort will I ever lift my hand to another person.

But I also believe in the right to self-defense equipment. A choice to go without weapons will not influence a criminal's choice to carry them. To say that a person who carries will cause another person to carry is -in my opinion- a moot point. Whether or not violence leads to violence does not alter an evil person's hateful choice to intentionally cause harm to another person.

This is why, above all other reasons, I choose to support the right to carry weapons. I wish to hell we didn't have to. I wish we could get rid of them. But we can't. As long as the concept of violence exists, there will be people who wish to use it to get what they want. As long as that remains true, the innocent have a right, a priviledge, and indeed a duty to defend not only themselves, but others who cannot do so.

Like I said before, we have to be responsible with our knowledge and equipment. We have to, as Ghandi said, "Become the change (we) seek in the world". We have to be peaceful if we want to receive peace.

But we also have to be prepared for those who wish to take that peace away.


Re: Whips and weapons

I have seen other web sights that do advertise "fighting" whips which are whips that have retractible blades in the tail . Sounds like it would not work to well, sort of "Ninja " weapon. Oh well all things for all people.

24 (edited by Steph 22.08.2010 23:50:24)

Re: Whips and weapons

I've had someone ask me to make some whips for him to his  specifications. He just ordered a few more for the rest of his class, they are for Latigo y daga (Whip & dagger) martial arts. They are pretty short (4.5 feet) and made with short handles that are lead weighted for use as a sap and have smaller heel knots to aid in passing from hand to hand. They are made solely for combat and nothing else.

Being a huge knife lover, I'm aware of the "bad name" they carry and because of it there are some knives I'm not able to carry. This has nothing to do with them being any more/less dangerous than the next knife, in fact most edged weapon crimes are committed with common kitchen knives. However, people have been told by the media/government to fear these things and because of it only the knife lovers suffer, the criminals aren't the ones who will be following these laws anyhow.

Back to whips, I don't want to be a part of anything that would contribute to giving whips a bad name like so many knives now have. I don't have an issue with making whips for this purpose for a man who is trained in martial arts and will use them in a controlled, training type atmosphere. I don't think I would ever advertise that I make "whips for fighting". The last thing I would want is for some kid to get into his head that it was something "cool" and to hurt himself or someone else because I advertised it as something to be used against another human being. 

If someone were to ask for one, I'm not saying I wouldn't make another, but I don't see myself advertising whips as anything other than a  recreational toy for fun or sport or as a tool for use with livestock. These days people are way too easily convinced/scared of things that the media tells them to fear, I don't want any part in making their job any easier than it already is.


Re: Whips and weapons

Let me begin by disclosing that I have actively trained in several martial arts, (and more to come.  Don't take that "Several" as cross-training.  It's more a "Try this...Nah...That's not it...Move on." kind of thing. Still trying to find what is best for me.  I in NO WAY consider myself adept, and rarely, if ever, refer to myself as an actual "martial artist.)

I'm also an enthusiast for swords, guns, knives, etc. and I have a permit to carry a concealed firearm, (because gun violence is a serious problem in this country, and criminals DO carry illegal guns, so I carry one legally.  I hope to God that I'll never have to use it.)

Where I live, (the State of Ohio in the US, the place you only hear about once every 4 years because our electoral votes tend to determine the Presidential Election.  Yes, our Electoral College is a stupid, archaic system,) you can be charged with "Assault with a Deadly Weapon," if you stab someone with a pen or pencil.  This makes perfect sense to me.  Weapons are tools, and ANYTHING used to harm another person is a weapon.  So, the whip is LEGALLY DEFINED as a farming implement UNTIL it is used otherwise.

So, the best way for us to prevent whips being categorized or labeled as weapons is to not go around assaulting people with them, (and I haven't read about any "assaults with a bullwhip" in...well...ever.)

And as much respect as I have for Tom Meadows and the Latigo y Daga association, the idea of those whips being used as weapons in anything but drill sessions and kata isn't high.  While I've read Meadows book, talked to folks who use them in the dojo, etc. etc. there are VERY few people who actually do Latigo y Daga SPARRING.

The only footage I've seen of Latigo y Daga have been handling drills, demonstrations, and katas.  The ONLY place I've seen anything actually resembling COMBAT using the type of whips WE use is in the Australian sport of whip boxing.  Everything else has been short riding crop/horse whip types of things where handling more resembles escrima stick or baton sparring.

I'm sure folks have read about Anthony DeLongis's infamous sparring session with the Dog Brothers, where a guy in motorcycle helmet, leather jacket and gloves tried to close range on Anthony.  But the style that Anthony practices is primarily his own.  It is NOT Latigo y Daga, (though there's a lot of LyD in it.) 

The LyD system, as BlessedWrath points out, uses short-handled, lead weighted whips of about 3-5 foot.  DeLongis uses Terry Jacka long-handled whips of 7-8 foot with very little lead in them. 

LyD teaches an "Against Bias" coil-under-the-handle orientation to the whip, (what I have come to refer to as a "Pronated" orientation.)  DeLongis's "Rolling Loop" technique uses a "With Bias" coil-over-the-handle orientation, (which I conversly refer to as "Supinated.")

So, I don't think I've ever seen anything, short of "STAGED violence" that really shows the whip used as a weapon.

Will it work?  Heck yeah.  And I'd have to agree with Anthony DeLongis that if I HAD to carry a weapon into a fight, short of a gun, the whip would be my choice, (because of all of them, it is what I am the most comfortable with.)  Now, I don't want to get into a debate about whip vs. gun, or whip vs. knife or sword, or any such nonsense.  Those arguements are all hypothetical nonsense with as much bearing on real world situations as talking about who would win in a fight between the Star Ship Enterprise and an Imperial Star Destroyer.

And while I admire the workmanship and the engineering of Vic Tella's "Latigo y Daga" Viper whip, (with the steel spike,) it's a novelty.  It's a wall hanging that can be admired, but is about as actually USEFUL as those elaborately hilted "Art Knives" from Gil Hibben and Kit Rae.

HOWEVER, something I WILL NOT BUDGE on, and THIS is where people seem to be getting all upset in the "Whips being called Weapons" argument, is that IN most martial arts, "training tools," no matter how impractical in a random encounter "street fight," are referred to as "Weapons." 

Chain whips, tiger hooks, sai, tonfa, swords, war hammers, maces, pole-arms, etc. etc. etc. 

Martial artists TRAIN with these, and REFER to them as weapons, but there is little consideration of carrying these things on the street to be deployed to actually DEFEND one's self.

On the occasions we see on the news where some moron with a sword tries to rob a convenience store, the guy picked it up at a pawn shop, and has NO experience in how to actually USE it, and typically hurts himself before he hurts others.  The only reason it makes the news is because there are ratings in novelty.

More often than not, it is actually anathema to the TRUE martial artist to use ones weapons for ANYTHING but controlled training between fellow students and their instructors.

There is a saying in the art of Kendo, Kenjutsu, Aijutsu, (all Japanese samurai sword forms,) that the sword is a tool to cut away the impurities of the swordsman's soul, (similar to the old saying that is Japanese Archery that "The Target is the Self.") 

Tai Chi, (which is labelled as a "Martial Art" and DOES have some defensive application, but has more merit as an excersise for mental and physical health,) uses a sword in many of its forms.  But the GOAL of that sword form is NOT to learn how to kill one's enemies.  The GOAL is to channel one's internal energies, (one's "Chi") into an object that is NOT a part of the body.

That is a mystical way of looking at it, but it has just as much to do with the the strictly biological aspects physical awareness, and for THAT I think the whip is a FAR more responsive, useful, (and unfortunately, less forgiving,) tool FOR that.

As I've said, I've worked with guns, knives, swords, and all sorts of traditional European, African, and Asian "Weapons," and I have never EVER handled a more responsive, "Live," and insight-inducing training tool than the bullwhip.

MY goals in whip cracking are NOT to cut targets or do fancy cracking routines.  Those are secondary byproducts of the ACTUAL goal.  The ACTUAL goal is to extend my physical awareness, (my willpower, chi, life-force, whatever you want to call it,) into the whip in such a way that cutting that target or doing fancy cracking routines is as second nature to pressing an elevator button without thinking or dancing.

We spend the formative years of our lives learning to extend our will into our own limbs.  We start as infants by sitting up on our own, then learning to crawl, then walk then run, and then we begin to develop fine motor control.  Later on, we learn to use our muscles to type without thinking about where the keys are, or playing a musical instrument, or dance or sing, etc. etc.

The GOAL of training with a martial arts "weapon" is more often than not, just EXTENDING that, (as I said above.)  So, I do regularly refer to my whips as Martial Arts Weapons WITHIN that context, and in an emergency situation would USE the whip to deter an attacker.  But that's about it.

In fact, if it wasn't for the entertainment industry turning whips into weapons in the early 20th century, I think it's doubtful that the North American Whip Artistry tradition would have survived until today, (I have an entire separate post about that, which I will regail you with...whether you want to read it or not...at some later date.)

So, there is my take, respectful of all other points of view, and convinced that regardless of what side of the arguement folks fall on, that each side has MUCH to learn from the other.

All the best, and happy cracking.



Re: Whips and weapons

1.an instrument or device of any kind used to injure or kill, as in fighting or hunting
2.any organ or part of an organism used for attacking or defending
3.any means of attack or defense: the weapon of the law

Cut and pasted from http://www.yourdictionary.com

We have gone round many times and whater or not it is or is not but it is not the iteam but the intent of the person using it, A garden hoe in a famers hand is nothign but tool use for plants, in someone hand in tent on harm it is a weapon. I think anythign that can be used as a tool must be classiffied as a tool first unlike something ment just for damage or to kill people  IE a Big Bomb do not want to use it as a hammer to pound in nails smile

Robby  The best way to win a fight is not to be in the the fight. not sure where that comes from but always true.. Fighting should alwasy be a last rescort in my opioin

What ever you use the whip for as long as your intent is not as a weapon to hurt ( do not mean BDSM that on to it self)  or to Kill some one with it .. it is a Great sport. and a great tool.

Where there is a whip there is a way


Re: Whips and weapons

My standpoint on this is also that a whip should NOT be a weapon. I liked  your

video on it BTW.

Something you need to remember though, all of us know how whips are used, and

how we could EASILY defend ourselves against one. The general population does

not know this, in fact most of them thing of a whip as something to be avoided

due to indiana jones repeatedly using a whip as a weapon. So, if they were

wanting to harm you or rob you or anything like that, and they saw you using a

whip, it may make them back off. I still don't think it should be used as a

weapon, because I know how one is used and how poor a weapon it makes. Most,

however, do not...


Re: Whips and weapons

Killertrees wrote:

1.an instrument or device of any kind used to injure or kill, as in fighting or hunting
2.any organ or part of an organism used for attacking or defending
3.any means of attack or defense: the weapon of the law

Cut and pasted from http://www.yourdictionary.com

We have gone round many times and whater or not it is or is not but it is not the iteam but the intent of the person using it, A garden hoe in a famers hand is nothign but tool use for plants, in someone hand in tent on harm it is a weapon. I think anythign that can be used as a tool must be classiffied as a tool first unlike something ment just for damage or to kill people  IE a Big Bomb do not want to use it as a hammer to pound in nails smile

Robby  The best way to win a fight is not to be in the the fight. not sure where that comes from but always true.. Fighting should alwasy be a last rescort in my opioin

What ever you use the whip for as long as your intent is not as a weapon to hurt ( do not mean BDSM that on to it self)  or to Kill some one with it .. it is a Great sport. and a great tool.

Where there is a whip there is a way

What you're saying about literally anything being a weapon if intended is so

true. I remember my family and I going to six flags one day, and my dad,

out of habit, was carrying his very small pocket knife on him. The people

took it from him, and he wasn't too happy about this. He tried to point out

that his keys, which they did not take, could be just as harmful a weapon as

any knife of the same size, if he wanted it to be. He was just wasting

breath, of course they weren't going to let him have a knife in there, but

it's so true. Anything can be a weapon if put in the right hands.

29 (edited by Zuiun 21.02.2012 17:10:29)

Re: Whips and weapons

I know this is a pretty old thread, but I thought I'd chime in with a couple of thoughts...

In my mind, the debate isn't whether or not the whip can be used as a weapon, but whether it can be used as an EFFECTIVE weapon.

Huge difference.

First, in its intended use: As others in this thread have pointed out, it would be difficult to fend off an attacker by cracking the whip alone. Unless you are very, very, very skilled, you simply don't have the speed to generate enough repeat cracks around yourself to maintain an effective "shield." Once an opponent sees your timing, he can rush in and you're done for. And the whip used in this way is going to really suck for close combat. Nevermind the fact if you're talking about 6, 7, 8+ foot whip, you're going to require some decent space around you to effectively use it, which also gives your opponent room to rush to your weak spots.  In Hapkido class, we've trained with paintball guns against a rushing attacker. Even if you are familiar with firearms and have very good aim, do you know how hard it is to hit a rushing attacker even ONCE from 30 feet away before he's on you?  Damn hard. And you can fire bullets a lot fast than you can crack whips.

Second, as an enveloping implement: This makes a little more sense. A number of martial arts teach techniques for using a belt or rope to "trap" an attacker. It takes a very high degree of skill, but can be done. Even so, I don't necessarily think a whip is the best tool for this. They are flexible, but only to a point.  The most flexible is toward the bottom of the whip, which leaves the heavy end free to get in your way. Possible? Maybe. But definitely not the most practical item to use for this method of defense.

Third, as a flail: Of all of the methods for using a whip as a weapon, this is probably the one that makes the most sense. Whip handles are often very heavy and can transfer a tremendous amount of energy on impact. Still, the problem is that this leaves you with the rest of the whip to contend with and keep under control. But if my ONLY defensive option was a whip, this is probably the method I would rely on.

The biggest issue, however, is what is the point? That is to say, who is going to just happen to have a whip on them when they get attacked? There is zero practicality in it and when it comes to survival, that's a huge consideration.

In my mind, anyone who seriously entertains the thought of a whip as a legitimate self defense tool is being a little bit ridiculous.

But... that's not to say I think that people shouldn't train with a whip in that manner if that makes them happy. A contradiction?  Not necessarily.

For one thing, as with other martial arts weapons that are also not likely to be handy in a self defense situation, it can be useful for teaching body awareness. It can be useful for learning how to adapt when all you have are impractical tools.

For another, it can be merely entertainment.

SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) enthusiasts train very hard with medieval-style weapons for recreational combat. There is very little real world self defense merit in what they do (and historians agree there is also very little historical accuracy to their fighting style), but as it's for recreation, what's the harm?

Likewise, people who want to entertain themselves with recreational whip self defense training don't bother me.

It's only when there is a passionate belief that they will be able to fend off a mugger with their bullwhip that I raise an eyebrow. Impossible? Certainly not. But just because it's not impossible doesn't mean it's practical or smart.

Also, I wanted to address a comment made earlier that referenced martial arts weapons that supposedly were really farm tools, as if this somehow legitimizes the whip as a weapon.

The whole "farm tools" theory is a very common belief. The trouble is, there are no hard facts to support it. The nunchaku, for example. A rice flail? Or a modification of the sectional staff from China? The history is murky, but supports both.

Regardless, one thing is very clear: Even if the origin of some of these weapons is purely benign, they were modified and adapted to become weapons. One only has to look at the sai to understand that, as is, it would make a very lousy farming tool. Nunchaku as a rice flail? No farmer in their right mind would spend their day bent over trying to flail rice with sticks that short.

And that's a very important point: whatever their origins, these items were modified to make them more effective as weapons.

This is not true of the whip.  The construction of all whips is still based around their original use. So calling it a weapon makes as much sense as calling a chair a weapon.

-- Robert


Re: Whips and weapons

In the practice of martial arts, particularly internally biased arts such northern shaolin kung fu, baguazhang, and xingyiquan, a weapon is merely a bit of matter; inert until some other energy comes in contact with it. A stone becomes a weapon when accelerated, a wall becomes a weapon even when it does not move when something else is accelerated into it. The opponent himself can become a weapon, his mass being used against him as various forces are applied including gravity. From this standpoint, it is easy to see the martial applications of a long flexible object. Perhaps also one must consider the psychological aspect of the whip, however. I know very few people who do not have a range of involuntary responses to a whip being cracked over their heads. Blinking, turning, stepping back. If anything else, the crack of the whip makes space, it makes time. If you MUST attack or die, and require a split second to do so, the reactions caused by the whip can provide this. "Where the crack appears, the water flows in."

However, I agree with many who have said that the whip BY ITSELF is not an adequate self-defense weapon. It lacks power, takes too long to deploy, has limited applications in tight spaces, and would be quite easy for a trained attacker to turn against the person trying to defend with it. This is partly why traditionally weapons training is taught as a component of a particular existing martial system, rather than a system developing around a weapon.

As far as legality goes, it makes sense to classify whips as tools and not restrict their ability to be purchased, possessed, or carried. This, within reason. An electric cattle prod is a tool also, but I'm sure it may raise interesting questions with law enforcement if carried in an urban setting.

Just my thought on the matter. This is a fantastic discussion from all points.


Re: Whips and weapons

First, I really like the respectful tone in this discussion. It shows something of this forum. The topic is not easy to discuss, since peoples point of view differs quite much.

I live in Sweden, were regulations are quite strict about guns and knifes. We do have a lot of guns in the country, but that´s because extremely many people here are hunters. You need an education to get a permit for a gun, and you are not allowed to carry a knife with you out in the evening (as far as I know, it is only people who use knifes in their work wich are allowed to carry them). I like our regulations, but I do have respect for other countrys regulations (or lack of it) also. It´s about tradition and culture.

I would not like to have whips seen as weapons by the authorities here. I totally agree with that point of view. I think Sweden is a long way from there, fortunately. Because of these strict regulations, we notice the police in advance when we have a gathering for whipcracking. The first time, they didn´t really took us seriously (whips, whats that? You know, like Indiana Jones?), but finally they wrote it down. Whipcracking, especially if you happen to be many people, sounds a little as small arms fire. Most people we have met when we crack our whips have been curious and happy to see us.

Even when I´m practicing alone, most people are curious and some of them stop to watch and talk.

I also liked the point of whips as an effective weapon. IMO, they are not. I have seen De Longis, yes, but I agree to the points above. It´s for movies. Otherwise I have rarely seen whips mentioned as weapons at all. Yes, I know a little of this Filippino martial art, but the only other place I´ve ever seen it mentioned is in Ron Edwards books. He talks about short snakewhips as a weapon, but as I understand it it is basicly the handle he is talking about. I really like his remark that the best way to defend your self with a whip is to accidentically drop it on the ground and hope that your (unskilled) opponent picks it up and try to use it...

But I do carry a short snakewhip with me all the time. Many of my friends know this, and I have had great fun with it on parties and other occasions. To use it as a weapon? No. When things happen, they happen fast, there´s no time to pick it up. Even if I had a gun or a knife, I think I wouldn´t have the time. I´m also a nice guy, so I honestly belive I would get beaten down quite fast.

But I love whipcracking. And I love to try to get more people crack whips or start making them.


Re: Whips and weapons

And another thought -  let´s say you´ve practiced a lot with that tenfooter Indy-style. You are actually better then both De Longis and Winrich combined. But where do you keep that tenfoot bullwhip when you go out for some beer with your friends?


Re: Whips and weapons


Oh, you're soooo right, Patrik. Especially that last post. I don't know what people used to carry around, but I doubt that Mr. Delongis always carries a whip... Well, I practice very often, I give lessons and seminars, but I never - never - have a whip with me aside of these occasions. I think it's more that "adventurer's wishful thinking" than reality.

I mean... I can defend myself with a bbq set. But who will carry a bbq set? A sherman tank is also great for defense, but...  smile

Thanks for your thoughts, Patrik.


I have a screwdriver. I am Legend...


Re: Whips and weapons

Well, i do carry my snake-whip when I walk my dogs in the late evening in case I need to scare off the coyotes. They will sometimes kill a dog. We live at approximately the intersection of 5 separate coyote packs and they are quite large, active and unafraid in this area. (My hypothesis is that they are so large because they are actually moving into the ecological niche left empty by the wholesale killing of wolves).
But in this case, I am relying only on the sound, so it still does not count as a weapon.


Re: Whips and weapons

Jonathan, this is fascinating with an international forum - to hear about other peoples lives and surroundings. I´ve never even seen a coyote in my life, but we do have a lot of wild boar not far from here. Maybe I should bring a whip with me when walking in the woods. I don´t believe a whip could do a thing to an angry boar, but the aspect of sound/crack will maybe scare them away. They do have respect for gunshots.


Re: Whips and weapons

Someone else on this forum also mentioned that they carry a whip to scare away the coyotes. I've never seen a wild boar, though they do live in many parts of the USA. If you ever find out if the crack sound works to drive them away let us hear about it. Maybe you should try it first from up in a tree though. smile


Re: Whips and weapons

my thoughts are that all "weapons" are only tools. Everything is based on perception. One can kill someone just as well with a whip as with a knife or a car, and both of these things are every day tools. The person is the true weapon, everything else is just a tool.

38 (edited by superwhip 12.03.2013 15:03:40)

Re: Whips and weapons

I thought I'd chime in with a couple thoughts of mine.
I personally believe in the right to carry weapons, I do not want to ever have to use a weapon of course! But it has been shown that in areas where concealed carry is permitted the murder rates decrease. For instance. Florida in 1987 ( I think) passed a law that allowed concealed carry. Before the law passed Florida had a higher murder rate than the National average for many years. After the law passed within 4 years the murder rate was below National average. Think about it, if you where a robber would you choose to rob a town in Florida or some place where it isn't legal to possess weapons? In most cases if a criminal has the option at the time he will be carrying something to protect himself if something goes wrong but will you be carrying something to protect yourself? Probably not if it isn't allowed in your area, I'm not so sure the criminal will care about those laws though.
  I to agree we don't need whips labeled as weapons, it would make customs even more of a nightmare for some of us. It would also not help getting people interested in our sport.


Re: Whips and weapons

Anything you put into your hand is a tool. Anything you put into your mind is a weapon.
In the role of a "weapon", I see the whip as being a counterpart to the knife or pistol. The whip harries and distracts, providing an opening for the more lethal gun or knife. I have more than a few friends who are into Latigo y Daga methods, and have asked me for whips in the 4-6 foot range.


Re: Whips and weapons

Ryan Fitts wrote:

Anything you put into your hand is a tool. Anything you put into your mind is a weapon.
In the role of a "weapon", I see the whip as being a counterpart to the knife or pistol. The whip harries and distracts, providing an opening for the more lethal gun or knife. I have more than a few friends who are into Latigo y Daga methods, and have asked me for whips in the 4-6 foot range.

Why would I need to distract anyone with a whip if I have a gun?