Re: Whips and weapons

One thing I forgot to mention about the exercise is that the attacker is instructed to stop the moment they feel themselves get shot.

More often than not, they never feel a thing (and, in fact, are never even hit).

The thing that surprises everyone the first time they participate in this exercise is just how quickly a determined attacker can cross a room.  Often they reach the defender and are "cutting" with the red marker before the gun is even out of the holster.

If the defender is unarmed?  All of those fancy grab and throw/disarm techniques go out the window.  The defender has many, many "cuts" before they are able to get any technique to work.

You're right, Robert.  The absolutely best strategy is to avoid.

If that isn't possible, then the next best thing is to keep things as absolutely simple as possible.  If someone is coming at me and I can't avoid them, am I going to hope I can flick a whip at them, or prepare to do some fancy joint wrap/manipulation?  Or am I just going to deliver the fastest, hardest palm strike to the face I can?

I'll save the flashy stuff for demonstrations.


Re: Whips and weapons

It seems like most combat theorycrafters always go after the "Theory of Rational Deterrence", which is to say that the attacker must necessarily have a self-preservation instinct, or -at the very least- want to avoid getting hurt. Some attackers are so enraged that pain does not matter to them at all.

The most potent example of this that I can remember is a Laser Tag match I had with an old friend of mine. It had to be ten years ago. I worked with him at the local Taco Bell, and we decided to hang out at the laser tag place.

This person had absolutely no goal in mind other than to tag me as many times as possible. He walked behind me, taking as many hits as necessary to insure victory. There was no attempt at all to avoid being hit. He just kept pulling the trigger over and over, until the match was over. Win, lose, or draw. It was surreal.

It hit me that this mentality was not just applicable to a game. There are people who might actually feel this way in real combat. How do you stop a person who doesn't care that they might be hurt or killed? How can you rely on that instinct when it doesn't exist?

The situation described earlier is a perfect example. Rules are outlined, and none of those rules say that the attacker has to be afraid of getting hurt. Sure, you'll take a few hits, but you'll take down your target. The victim is still just as dead.

How much "stopping power" does a whip really have? At worst, you get cut. Oh, no. If you're hopped up on PCP, that doesn't even register as something that even happened. You get cut and you power through, pummeling your victim as hard and as often as you can.

Does it matter, then, that he had a whip? Does it matter if the attacker even dies? Let's say you get lucky and cut the throat with your whip. You still get taken to the ground and you still get beaten into a bloody pulp.

The point here is that nothing is a "perfect" weapon. You can't rely on any one strategy being successful. You have to be willing to adapt to a situation. If you think just holding a whip or a gun will save you, then you're already dead.


Re: Whips and weapons

Very wise, David! Very wise!

'Less is often more!'


Re: Whips and weapons


There is a thing, no one was thinking about. I was waiting if someone would touch that. It's about the distance. Let me ask you a question. When is an attacker near enough to be a real threat to you? And? Does that open a door in your minds... smile

I am standing somewhere. Let's ay I'm waiting for a bus. To my right there is a guy. Black leather jacket, tattoos on his hands, bald head. He looks at me with a dark look. Then he draws a knife. Lucky enough I have a whip with me! I unroll the whip and hit him straight to the face! I cut his face open and his left eye is bleeding. I am a hero. I defended myself successfully with a whip.

That guy was far away from me so that I could use the whip. It was the perfect distance. But was it the perfect distance for him to attack me...? No. He was way too far away. The police comes and I'll face court.


He had a knife and he looked like a real bad guy. So I HAD to strike first to survive. Later on I hear that his mother died in the hospital an hour ago  - therefore the sinister look on his face - and he draw the knife to cut a string from a button on his jacket. And the last thing, the judge will ask me is this:

"Mr. Amper. You felt threatened by that man, is that correct?"

"Yes, Sir. He looked at me and pulled a knife from his jacket."

"How close was he?"

"Pardon me?"

"Was he close enough to stab you with his knife? Was he close enough to hurt you with that knife?"

"Sir, I felt threatened by the knife!"

"My question is: Was that man close enough to you to reach you with the blade?"

"Ahm, ohm, I'm not sure..."

"You hit that man with a whip, which had an overall reach/length of nearly seven feet. 5 feet braided and two feet of some cord with some fluffy thing at the end. That means, the man was about 2,5 meters away from you. I see that this man doesn't have arms like an ape. So it was absolutely impossible for him to reach you with his knife. So - please - explain me where the threat was..."

Conclusion: I hurt a man who was way too far away from me to be a real & physical threat to me. Even if would've yelled at me - he-was-too-far-away-from-me. And even if someone yells at you: I kill you!!!! As long as he's not close enough, it's not more than yelling. Got the point...? I think, I'll go to jail and pay for the poor man for the rest of my life. That good a whip is as weapon!

If the man would have had a gun, pointing at me - then it is a serious and real attack. But then I wouldn't take my whip. Would you?

You can't justify the attack at another person which is obviously too far away as he could do any harm to you. You carry a gun. Suddenly a person - let's say about 30 feet away from you - looks at you and starts to run straight into your direction. You draw the gun and shoot him. Pitty, that he was realizing that he's going to miss the bus, he was waiting for. And so he started to run, and the bus station was 40 feet behind you...

There is a huge difference in difference. As long as you defend yourself against someone who's close enough to be a threat - hands, knife, screwdriver, broken bottle... - you are the defender. But the same moment you hit someone who is NOT near enough to hurt you - with a knife, screwdriver, bottle etc. - YOU will be the attacker! And the same moment, you hit someone with a whip, you're hitting a person which is not close enough to be a real and physical threat. YOU are the attacker, then.

That was a long story, but it's worth to be told. That's the story I tell my students on every seminar I give, when the (unavoidable) question comes "Can I defend myself with a whip?" Now think again. What would you say when you read an article in a newspaper, which says that someone defended himself with a 7 ft. long spear against someone who was yelling at him? Of course you would say first: "What idiot is this to carry a spear?" Careful, friends, careful. If someone would read such an article, that one defended himself with a whip, others would say instantly "Which idiot carries a whip...?"

In my opinion and experience it's a wishful, romantic and adventurous thinking to be a hero like Indy or Zorro out on the streets. In fact you'll be an inmate in the state prison for hurting someone without reason...


I have a screwdriver. I am Legend...


Re: Whips and weapons

Robby, this is an excellent point - and very important. Thank you very much!

'Less is often more!'


Re: Whips and weapons

That's just the part they leave out of every movie. Of course that's because it would be boring if every action movie sequel started with a court scene or a prison life montage, but admit it, you would love to see Johnny the Aryan Douche facing charges for the attempted murder of Daniel in Karate Kid. But I digress.

It's funny how violence seems like the perfect quick solution to problems for people with poor impulse control, but considering what Robby said above, it's far from quick. Actions do have consequences even for the good guys. Very good point, thanks.

- Pokkis


Re: Whips and weapons

I think what it boils down to for me is this:

I get very annoyed when someone like DeLongis tries to claim that the whip is the "ideal" self defense weapon, or that it was "designed" for so many of these techniques.

No it isn't, and no it wasn't.

I know *WHY* he says these things.  He's trying to sell seminars. But it makes me angry because some people view him as an expert and fall for the notion that what he's teaching will somehow be practical.

I would have no problems whatsoever if it were treated like any other martial arts "weapon."  Schools teach students the bo staff, nunchaku, swords, etc., but do so with the understanding that they are learning traditions and technique and NOT how to use these weapons on the street.

Why?  Because having these weapons with them would either be illegal or impractical. (Or both.)

Learning self defense with those weapons is more for academic knowledge, body awareness training, and ENJOYMENT.

If someone wants to train with the whip as a "weapon" for those reasons, I have absolutely zero problems with that.  I can absolutely see the appeal in it.


Re: Whips and weapons

You can practice to kill a person with a phone book, if you like. I have "zero problems" with that, too. But if you try to use that and hit someone on the head, I know a few folks who will have a problem. They are called "Police" and later on "Judge". I was not talking about practicing anything. I am talking about attacking other people and then to face the consequences. I don't think you really got my point.


I have a screwdriver. I am Legend...


Re: Whips and weapons

I got your point just fine, Robby.  I wasn't making my comment to try to oppose or negate your point.  I feel like it complements it.

What you said doesn't apply to just whips, but every level of self defense.  No matter what you do to "defend" yourself, be it hands, baseball bats, whips, guns, cars, etc., you'd best be prepared to prove that running away wasn't an option and your actions were justified as DEFENSE.

In some cases, even having martial arts training can actually make it even MORE difficult to legally justify self defense.

But the LAW is a fuzzy thing with many interpretations and conditions.  Situations that seem alike on the surface can be judged completely differently.

I have friends who live by the mantra of "I'd rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6."  To a degree that makes sense, but at the same time we want to be careful to not foster an attitude of, like you said, shooting someone running for a train.  Wanting to protect oneself should not be an excuse to have an "itchy trigger finger."

That's opening a whole topic of discussion that I feel way bigger than just how ridiculous it is that some out there promote the whip as some "magical" self defense tool.


Re: Whips and weapons

It is true, Robert.  A flew years ago we had a police officer who shot and killed a man who was shooting at him and rushing towards him.  He did everything that his police training told him to do in a situation like that.  However, since he has martial arts training he had to go to trial to explain why he used his gun.  Any other cop would not have been questioned like that.


Re: Whips and weapons

Another thing that concerns me is that many states currently ban some martial arts items.  In New York, for example, it is illegal to even OWN nunchaku, unless you are a martial arts school.  In other words, a person can go to their dojo/dojang and practice there, but cannot own a pair of nunchaku personally.

The reason the law was enacted was that it was actually cited in court that nunchaku were "widely used" by muggers.

Personally, I question the "widely used" claim.

There is no doubt that nunchaku are potentially deadly, and there is no doubt that they have been used to inflict injury, but the perception of them as an effective weapon -- and even HOW they should be used for self defense -- is VERY different from reality.

I imagine that Bruce Lee was far more likely the reason lawmakers wanted them banned than any accountable instances of "widespread" use by gangs.

And I would hate to see some kind of similar ruling based on perception instead of reality happen with whips. 

Not only do I NOT want to see people getting themselves in trouble by skirting the legal definition of "self defense" with their whips, but I also don't want some nanny-minded lawyers deciding that whips should be banned because they are supposedly "dangerous weapons."


Re: Whips and weapons

Robert Wurth wrote:

Not only do I NOT want to see people getting themselves in trouble by skirting the legal definition of "self defense" with their whips, but I also don't want some nanny-minded lawyers deciding that whips should be banned because they are supposedly "dangerous weapons."

I absolutely agree, Robert!

It seems to me that, at the heart of this problem, there is far too much blurring in people's minds between fantasy and real life. I was astonished (and horrified) to read recently that American soldiers in the Middle East have sometimes repeated a particular assault two or three times just to get good videos of themselves in action! This article (in The Spectator magazine, a highly respectable source) suggested that they 'wanted to look like Rambo' more than to be good and effective soldiers. It quoted one of them saying, 'Everyone wants cool stuff to show their friends on Facebook.'

I have no problem with fantasy - but let's do all we can to make sure it's never confused with with life!

'Less is often more!'


Re: Whips and weapons

Oops! What I meant was 'never confused with real life'!

'Less is often more!'


Re: Whips and weapons

You know, when I started making whips just over a year ago it never occurred to me tat I was making a weapon. All I saw, and still do today, is  a thing of beauty and practical function. That's why I make 'em!

Think for yourself, act for everyone.


Re: Whips and weapons

And you're perfectly right with that!


I have a screwdriver. I am Legend...


Re: Whips and weapons

That can be a bit difficult to explain to someone who just heard whips can be a hobby. First question is mostly "are they sex toys", and after explaining the difference between supersonic whips and those flappy spanking thingies sold in sex shops, the next question is "are they weapons then?"

A funny thing really, I just noticed that almost nobody asks anything about them at first. Mostly I just have to listen to a lot of assumptions and say "no" a lot.

- Pokkis


Re: Whips and weapons

This is something I'm not proud of but I have first hand experience with the whip as a weapon. In a large family full of testosterone filled young men there can be fights to establish some sort of hierarchy. I was involved in one of these scuffles in my younger years. Luckily these fights always end up with everybody shaking hands and being buddy's again. My cousin and I had a heated argument while working cattle. He took aim at me with his whip but came up short. The next swing I had closed the distance a few steps and the crack was too far over my shoulder. The third swing never had a chance to develop because my fist had reached his jaw and knocked him cleanly to the ground. So in my opinion the whip is pretty worthless as a weapon.

He died for me, I'll live for him


Re: Whips and weapons

Quod erat demonstrandum.

- Pokkis


Re: Whips and weapons

Roy, I think that's one of the strongest examples we've heard yet of Robby's theme song, 'A Whip is not a Weapon'. Thanks for posting!

'Less is often more!'


Re: Whips and weapons

Every time I think of a circumstance where I whip *might* be effective for self defense, I think of some martial arts demonstrations I've seen...

"Ok, I'm going to show you guys this technique by having [student] throw a punch.  Ok, [student], punch at me. Wait wait wait!  Use your other hand!  Whoa, wait!  Slow down!  No, no... make it just a reverse punch.  No slower.  Wait... just hold your arm out and I'll demonstrate the technique. Great!  Just like that. Stand perfectly still.  Now everyone watch, because this is what you'll do when someone tries to punch you..."