Bullwhip Study Group

Bullwhip Study Group

Last Sunday I stopped by the Bullwhip Study Group that’s held at the Seattle Wushu Center for about 15 minutes on my way to a show.  While I was there they were trying to use  a whip to flick a piece of paper in the air, the hit it again as it fell.  Here’s Gary and Restita working on it:

I managed to do this, but of course since I was recording with my camera I didn’t record myself doing it (I know I should have had someone else hold the camera).

After I left they were working on grabbing a water bottle:

The Bullwhip Study Group is every 3rd Sunday at the Seattle Wushu Center. They are a great group and if you are in the Seattle area they are worth a visit! For more info visit: http://seattlewushucenter.com

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Whip Cracking During Snowpocalypse

Whip Cracking During Snowpocalypse

The last couple of days here in the Seattle we’ve gotten (for us) a lot of snow.  I think our city normally averages something like 5ish inches a year and in one day we got about 9 inches of snow!  Add that to the topography of the region which is mostly hills and you get a slippery mess!

However I saw the silver lining and took this as a chance to test of the little tub of Fiebing’s Snowproof Leather Dressing that I bought a little while ago.

fiebings snowproof dressing

Also this is a chance for me to point out that you can take kangaroo bullwhips  and use them in the rain and snow.  There’s this general misconception that if you take you kangaroo whips outside in the rain you’ll ruin them. That’s simply not true.

What is true is that if you do take your whips outside in the rain or snow you will need to maintain them properly and it’s not that hard to do.  A coat of dressing before you take them out will help block the moisture from getting into your whip while you are cracking.  When you are finished cracking your whips you dry them off and give them another light coat of dressing.

That’s it, it’s not to hard.

Now back to my use of the Fiebing’s Snowproof Leather Dressing.  This stuff feels a bit more like Pecard Leather Dressing than the Fiebing’s Aussie Dressing does however it felt like it penetrated into my whips easier than Pecard’s does.  It didn’t take as much friction / heat to get it apply it, so that’s a plus.

I put a coat on my whips and took them out in the snow:

One thing I noticed was that my whips didn’t really get wet!  After cracking them in the snow they ended up very cold, but not wet.  I gave them a rub down with a towel anyway and another light coat of dressing.

I expected the falls of the whips at the very least to pick up some moisture but they never felt like they picked up any additional water weight while cracking.   Keep in mind that snow is a lot different from rain, where snow is basically a solid unlike rain which is a liquid.

If I was to go out and crack my whips in the snow again I would use Fiebing’s Snowproof again!

Louie

Want To Learn to Crack a Bullwhip

Want To Learn to Crack a Bullwhip

One of the cool things about living in the Seattle area is there is a ton of cool things happening around the city.  For example the Seattle Wushu Center has a once a month Bullwhip Study Group.  That’s right it’s a group that meets up and cracks bullwhips.

The Bullwhip Study group is run by Restita who has one of the coolest names ever and is super friendly!  Here she is teaching a whip crack combination:

I cracked whips with them over the summer and had a great time. The Bullwhip Study Group is open to all levels of whips crackers from beginners to advanced whip crackers.  The day I came there were several people that had never cracked whips before…and they have loaner whips to learn on!  So if you’ve always wanted to learn to crack a whip contact the Restita, for details visit: http://seattlewushucenter.com/FREEmonthlyevents.aspx

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

5 Crack combination

5 Crack combination

Here’s a little five crack combination.   Here’s the breakdown:

1. Reverse underhand crack

2. forward flick

3. second half of a fast 8  (reverse flick immediately following the foward flick)

4. Forward underhand crack

5. Circus crack

After the circus crack you can immediately go back to the reverse underhand crack and repeat the whole combination.

Here’s a video of it:

One of the challenging things about this is that you really have to pay attention after the first crack and be ready for the forward flick. If you wait you long you’ll turn this 5 crack combination into a six crack combination.  What will happen is the whip will start a new hairpin turn after the first crack (reverse underhand) and will crack while it’s aligning itself up for the forward flick, adding an extra crack.   Personally I don’t like the extra crack, but you can put it in there to get some bonus noise.

Also I just listed a six foot 16 plait bullwhip with sharkskin handle on ebay, the auction starts at 99 cents…this could be the best Christmas deal ever!  To view the auction visit: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=220704974786

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Pair of bullwhips

Pair of bullwhips

Yesterday I started working on a pair of 6 foot bullwhips.  These are 4 plait cowhide bullwhips with one plaited belly.  I did do one thing different with these whips while making them, I used veg tanned split leather for the bellies.  If you don’t know what split leather is, it’s leather that  has no grain.  Basicially it’s the flesh side of a piece of leather after then split it to thin it down.

I’ve been told that Terry Jacka uses split chrome tanned leather for his bellies, so this isn’t completely new territory for whip making.  However after doing a bit of plaiting with it, I’m starting to realize why his whips are the way they are.   As far as I know most whip makers (me included)  just bind the heck out of the transitions of their whips when trying to make a “jacka-like” transition.  That will give you a stiff transition, but it’s still not like Jacka’s transition.  I think the combination of materials and binding are what make it so unique…not just the binding which is the common thinking.

I do have enough of the split cowhide to make the insides of an 8-ish foot bullwhip and I do have kangaroo in the correct  colors to make an Indy IV style bullwhip…

Here are the two 4 plait bullwhips that I started yesterday:

bullwhips

I should have time to finish the heel knots on these later today.  My idea for them is to have a pair of whips that are inexpensive that someone could use to learn two handed whip cracking…without spending $700-$800 for a pair of roo whips.

I made them as a pair…but not a matched pair.  What I mean by that is that the core, belly, filler and overall lengths are the same and they were cut from the same hide right next to each other.  However there are  a couple of things that I didn’t do like make sure the strand are exactly the same width at every spot or split them to the same thickness.

The goal for these whips is to have whips that are close enough but keep the cost low so that they are affordable for someone to try out two handed crackinghowever if you want and exact pair, spend the extra money and get a nice kangaroo set.

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Alex Green passes…

Alex Green passes…

Alex green is a person that I only knew through reputation and his videos Whip Cracking Made Easy vol 1 & 2 that he was in with Mark Allen.  However based on what I’ve heard of him the whip world (and western arts world) has lost a legend!

Paul Nolan has put up a bunch of unique pictures of Alex on his twitter feed at: http://twitter.com/MidWestWhips

Here’s his obituary from the Province:

Legendary film stuntman and Vancouver resident Alex Green died from liver cancer Tuesday. He was 68.

The Australian-born stunt master was most famous for jumping boats for Bruno Gerussi in The Beachcombers and cracking the whip for Anthony Hopkins in the 1998 film, The Mask of Zorro.

“I always knew what I wanted to be when I grew up: a stunt man in cowboy movies!” Green had written on his biography on the Stunts Canada website. “I lived for the Saturday matinee — three hours of heaven!”

He grew up watching westerns with idols such as Roy Rogers, Gary Cooper, Randolph Scott and Lash Larue — the latter of whom he admired for his whip.

Green would later become internationally renowned for his western gun-spinning and bullwhip-cracking, performing in more than 2,500 shows around the world.

He moved to Vancouver in the 1960s and then took off to Hollywood, where he fell, fought and played with fire in productions such as the Superman films, Death Hunt, First Blood, Shanghai Noon and more.

At career’s end, he had doubled for such Hollywood heavyweights as Jack Lemmon, Omar Sharif, Christopher Plummer and Peter Falk.

In 1970, he helped found Stunts Canada, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year.

The organization’s current president, James Bamford, remembered visiting Green’s studio in Gastown when he was younger and having Green teach him how to spin a six-gun until his fingers were numb.

“He loved the film industry. He loved cowboys,” said Bamford. “He always kept the attitude of a child, based on his love for film and television.

“He had thousands and thousands of stories that he would whip out for you at any given time on call.”

Green struggled with liver cancer over the past year, Bamford said, and though he and his wife never had children, the stunts community considered him “a godfather to us all.”

A small gathering will be held in Green’s honour this Sunday afternoon from 2 to 4 p.m. in Pitt Meadows.

“You only go through life once. You’ve got to give it your best shot,” Green had written online. “What could be better than being a cowboy in the movies?”

Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Two handed bullwhip cracking

Two handed bullwhip cracking

Here’s a video I found online of me doing some two handed bullwhip cracking (I don’t think I’ve already posted this):

It was taken by my friend James Maxwell a while ago.

Also today I was at my local Tandy Leather to pick up a side of kip and they had some stingray skins on the counter. I picked one up, I’m thinking of using it for the handle of a bullwhip. There will be a little bit of an engineering challenge to attaching and stitching the stingray to the handle, but I think it will end up looking pretty cool!
Louie
http://bullwhips.org

Sport Bullwhip Cracking and Alzheimer’s…

Sport Bullwhip Cracking and Alzheimer’s…

Last week I was reading an article in Time Magazine about Alzheimer’s and all the software programs that are designed to hopefully prolong/prevent it.  You can read the article at: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1952329,00.html

Basically what the article said is that there are two easy things you can do to help prevent Alzheimer’s is to exercise:

One well-documented way to slow memory decline is through plain old aerobic exercise, says Art Kramer, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Illinois, who found that six months of walking for about an hour three times a week improved memory, attention and decision making among study participants, whose average age was 72. “Physical activity appears to be neuroprotective,” Kramer says.
– from Time.com

And to learn something new:

At least six weeks of sustained, intense learning generally results in increased brain thickness. This finding has fueled a hot theory in Alzheimer’s research: the more you work out your brain, the more you accumulate what is referred to as cognitive reserve
-from Time.com

While I was reading this article I realized that learning to crack a bullwhip get you out exercising and your brain is learning something new.  The cool thing about cracking bullwhip is that no matter how long you’ve been doing it, there is alway a new trick or combination or style of cracking to learn.  So sport bullwhip cracking is a great way to really engage your brain and muscles!

Louie
http://bullwhips.org