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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
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PostPosted: Tue 05 Jun, 2007 9:25 pm    Post subject: Martial use of whips?         Reply with quote

Does anybody here know about the employment of whips as weapons for use against people? I'm referring specifically to leather or fabric whips like the bullwhip or the snake whip, not the (metal) Chinese chain whip, and I'm mostly curious about whether the martial use of whips is strictly fictional or not. Of course, by "martial use" I refer to its use against people wh oare trying to strike back, not in punitive floggings or lashings done on bound subjects.

(And I suspect it's not included in Mair's treatise?)

Don't ask why. I'm just in the mood for asking these silly questions.
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Vincent Le Chevalier




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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jun, 2007 1:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm not aware of any treatise mentioning the whip, but then I'm far from knowing the details of each...

I remember seeing an account in one of my books, of a "duel" between two coachmen, where they fought using the handles of their whips to strike one another. Must have been an efficient way to use the thing as well... I believe this was in the 19th century, I'll try to find more details when I come back home.

Regards

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Vincent
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Vincent Le Chevalier




Location: Paris, France
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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jun, 2007 12:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, as far as details go, there is not much...

It's in fact an illustration from Le Petit Journal N°1013, published April 17, 1910.

Oh, in fact there is a website out there with all the covers and this one in particular:

http://cent.ans.free.fr/pj1910/pj101317041910.jpg

As you can see, they have wrapped the lash around their wrist and are hitting each other with the long, solid handle. Of course the accuracy of this illustration is questionable, but it does seem like it could be really dangerous as a weapon this way (a solid hit on the head could be more than enough to knock someone down or worse), and maybe more versatile than when used the obvious way...

Aside from that, I think non-metallic whips are also used in Chinese martial arts, though I have never seen that in a demo. I'd think that it is more common as an occasional weapon when you have nothing else at hand, than as a weapon you choose purposely. Kind of like all the agricultural tools that became weapons throughout the world...

Regards

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Vincent
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jun, 2007 9:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

People bepping each other with coach whips? Very interesting. I've seen a couple of horsemen with flaring tempers try to hit each other with their riding crops, too, but it was over too quickly because the others moved in to separate them. Just like their illustration, they're using the solid handles instead of the really whippy part.

Still leaves me wondering whether there were anybody brave/stupid/skilled enough to really use a whip (not the handle) in a fight.
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John Cooksey




Location: NW Ark
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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jun, 2007 10:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I believe that there are some "documented" cases of the "bullwhip" being used as dueling weapon in the American southwest during the early 19th century.
I also believe that the nomadic Turks occasionally used the whip as a quasi-military weapon, but I could be thinking of the braided rawhide lariat, here. The lariat is well documented.
(think Conan the Destroyer)

I didn't surrender, but they took my horse and made him surrender.
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Shayan G





Joined: 26 Sep 2006

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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jun, 2007 11:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Indiana Jones was well-known for his mastery of the whip ;-)
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Adam Simmonds




Location: Henley-on-Thames
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PostPosted: Thu 07 Jun, 2007 12:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

hi there,

can't give you any sources, was told this by another, but you could check some pictures of Aztec warriors which i've seen with such weapons...

apparently they used multi- stranded whips/ flails made of rawhide with obsidian chips sown into the strands,

these could also be dipped in a variety of poisons and, on impacting flesh, tiny shards of obsidian would flake off and stay behind, keeping the wounds open and insuring the poison was carried into the bloodstream causing infection, gangrene etc.


we humans certainly are sweethearts, huh? Wink

adam s
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Michael Clark




Location: Welland, Ontario
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PostPosted: Thu 07 Jun, 2007 2:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I believe I had heard, once upon a time, that the whip was sometimes used as a showman's weapon used by some gladiators. It was only effective because it was an awkward weapon in comparison to the conventional gladius.

I couldn't cite you a source, but it might give you something to go on.
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Bob Burns




Location: South Indianapolis IN
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PostPosted: Thu 07 Jun, 2007 4:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have an incredibly supreme quality 7 foot mini bullwhip by master whipmaker Joe Wheeler of Seattle, Washington, who used to live here in Chicago in the early to mid 90s. It's a 20 platt over a 12 platt with a shot loaded belly, the braid is straight as a laser and smooth as glass.
You can find his website at http://www.masterwhipmaker.com/ He uses the highest quality of kangaroo hide, which is 4 times as strong as cowhide and Joe is easily the best whipmaker in America and probably the world. He is fanatical about perfection and very fair in pricing, considering the extreme quality. My whip was $700.00 back in the mid 90's.

Any trouble reaching him, message me and I can call him.

Though I was only interested in a mini bull, he does make all kinds of leather related whips!

Hope this helps.

Bob
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
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PostPosted: Fri 08 Jun, 2007 6:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

John Cooksey wrote:
I believe that there are some "documented" cases of the "bullwhip" being used as dueling weapon in the American southwest during the early 19th century.
I also believe that the nomadic Turks occasionally used the whip as a quasi-military weapon, but I could be thinking of the braided rawhide lariat, here. The lariat is well documented.
(think Conan the Destroyer)


Well, I'm quite familiar with the military use of the lariat/lasso, having read first-hand accounts of Californeros lassoing U.S. Cavalrymen off their horses before lancing them down on the ground. Bu that thing about the bullwhip dueling is definitely interesting. Do you have any references about it?

Adam Simmonds wrote:
apparently they used multi- stranded whips/ flails made of rawhide with obsidian chips sown into the strands,

these could also be dipped in a variety of poisons and, on impacting flesh, tiny shards of obsidian would flake off and stay behind, keeping the wounds open and insuring the poison was carried into the bloodstream causing infection, gangrene etc.


Boy. Doesn't that sound like a Roman scourge?
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John Cooksey




Location: NW Ark
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PostPosted: Sat 09 Jun, 2007 10:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, I couldn't find my sources for the whip usage in the historic southwest US. I read about them way back in my undergrad days, and IIRC, the context was "informal" dueling/streetfights between drovers and/or teamsters.
On a similar note, however, I have been reading about the filipino martial art of "latigo y daga". Apparently this is quite well documented, and still used at least in the martial arts context. A derivitave, I would think, of the Spanish use of whips, which kind of goes back to my southwestern theme? :-)

On the other hand, I did find a solid source for my mention of whip usage on the Eurasian steppes, from a very early period. . In Burchard Brentjes "Arms of the Sakas", he describes a Scytho-Sarmatian weapon known as a "nagaika". Apparently it was a heavy, weighted whip made of wood and leather, which could be used to "break the back of a wolf". According to the author, these whips have been found in royal graves along with other arms, and contemporary artwork depicts them in the hands of armed riders.

I didn't surrender, but they took my horse and made him surrender.
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Marton Pap




Location: Hungary
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PostPosted: Sat 09 Jun, 2007 12:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As far as I know wranglers and robbers used whips as weapons in Hungary. I heard that sometimes the whips had a lead ball on the end. (it sounds quite effective.) I think it was quite hard to use them because they were really long: 2-5m.
Cheers!
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George Hill




Location: Atlanta Ga
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PostPosted: Mon 11 Jun, 2007 12:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

John Cooksey wrote:

On a similar note, however, I have been reading about the filipino martial art of "latigo y daga". Apparently this is quite well documented, and still used at least in the martial arts context. .


I've heard of just the same thing done by gypsies... but there seemed to be some doubt about it from the source. I tried to follow up, but got nowhere. Anyone have more information?

To abandon your shield is the basest of crimes. - --Tacitus on Germania
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Shayan G





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PostPosted: Tue 12 Jun, 2007 12:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Refer to minute 2 or so of this video for an example of use of the whip in a Filipino martial art:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=81xAaa4dCc4&NR=1
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C. Stackhouse




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PostPosted: Tue 12 Jun, 2007 2:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I could imagine they were used in times when nothing else was available... I just couldn't see a standard hide whip being a common weapon in a military setting. Perhaps in personal martial arts.
Above all else, be armed

-Niccolo Machiavelli
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John Cooksey




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PostPosted: Tue 12 Jun, 2007 7:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

C. Stackhouse wrote:
I could imagine they were used in times when nothing else was available... I just couldn't see a standard hide whip being a common weapon in a military setting. Perhaps in personal martial arts.


I guess that might depend on what one was going to define as a military setting. It would certainly be fairly useless (IMO) against anyone wearing a significant amount of armor.
But for a small party of nomads (or others) raiding other tribesmen or local farmers, I could see how it might be useful. For a lot of ancient societies, a continuous low level of what we would call warfare was just daily life. (despite what a lot of my fellow anthropologists choose to believe)
Raids, counter-raids, feuds, that kind of thing . . . .

When I was a bit younger, I used to practice with a braided leather whip quite a bit. It is pretty useful for catching/grabbing, and pulling on things. And it is damned fast. And there is considerable potential for accuracy in striking, despite what one might think. I wouldn't consider it so much a weapon, personally, as it is a tool with some martial applications. Kind of like a big camp knife (if not quite so ubiquitous and versatile).

Just my two drachmas worth . . . . . .

I didn't surrender, but they took my horse and made him surrender.
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Wed 13 Jun, 2007 3:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, I wasn't asking specifically about military situations anyway--just fighting situations, which includes dueling, street fighting, and even out-and-out brawling. So all this information has been quite enlightening. Wink

BTW, the latigo y daga information I see on the Web seem to deal mostly with a modern martial art--or at least a modern version of the style--and says a lot about the whats and hows but not about the history, inspiration, or heritage of the style. Does anybody know of some place that speaks in greater detail about any possible relationship between this art and its Spanish/Filipino/whatever predecessors?
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Martin Forrester




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PostPosted: Wed 13 Jun, 2007 4:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Marton Pap wrote:
As far as I know wranglers and robbers used whips as weapons in Hungary. I heard that sometimes the whips had a lead ball on the end. (it sounds quite effective.) I think it was quite hard to use them because they were really long: 2-5m.
Cheers!


If your going to start sticking heavy stuff on the end, then where does whip stop and flail start? After you've launched your lead ball and (presumably) whomped someone over the head, how do you get it back in a hurry without braining yourself, your horse or your mates too? Quite hard to use indeed...

Oh, lets just pull out our swords and start whacking at each other, that'll solve everything!
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Eric Meulemans
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PostPosted: Wed 13 Jun, 2007 6:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've been following this thread with interest as I fancy whips and own a couple with which I have a meager amount of skill with. I am delighted to see some info I've not run across before or considered. However, given my own experience with whips and the not infrequent conjecture over their combat use, I'm going to say their effectiveness in such a situation would be minimal if not hurtful to the user.

Whips do indeed cause a significant amount of damage to unprotected or lightly covered flesh (as a friend discovered long-ago when he sliced a foot-long wound across his own back through a jacket and t-shirt...). I have sliced, diced, and flayed many innocent members of the fruit and vegetable family, and more than a few playing cards. Apples cut neatly in half as easily as the cards. Yes, a piece of leather, or nylon, or steel, traveling in excess of 750 MPH hurts.

The catch is, there is a very finite range in which this damage will be inflicted. Too far away and obviously you're out of range, too close and you won't strike with the tip at maximum velocity - if intercepted often the energy is dissipated altogether. It works great against stationary targets, like, say, someone bound to a pole, but if someone is trying to maim or kill you a whip is one of the the last things I'd want in my hand - they rush you and you're done. Perhaps you get a lash in, but it won't be lethal and probably won't even slow them down. So as far as defense against an aggressor, I'd say it'd only serve to enrage them further.

Now, as far as dueling... there I can see an application. I think the whip would be a fine dueling instrument, actually, as you are (presumably) bound by some simple set of rules and a strike would satisfy honour but not kill or excessively maim. Perhaps an eye is lost, but that's a lot better than a collapsed lung! Besides, you can then still attend that soirée next week in confidence of your manhood (Aye, I lost this eye in a duel, with WHIPS!).
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Wed 13 Jun, 2007 9:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Eric Meulemans wrote:
Now, as far as dueling... there I can see an application. I think the whip would be a fine dueling instrument, actually, as you are (presumably) bound by some simple set of rules and a strike would satisfy honour but not kill or excessively maim. Perhaps an eye is lost, but that's a lot better than a collapsed lung! Besides, you can then still attend that soirée next week in confidence of your manhood (Aye, I lost this eye in a duel, with WHIPS!).


Damn! You shouldn't say that in front of a fiction writer like me. It breeds the vicious, prolific, and unrelenting bastards we know as "plot bunnies."
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