Every now and then I post links to youtube videos of people cracking whips. Some are good videos, but mostly I post links to the less than good ones to point out misconceptions about whips and whip cracking. The person in today’s video sure thinks he knows a lot about whips, and is doing whip cracking a disservice by spreading these inaccurate “facts”.
Before I get to the video, here’s what’s in the description of the youtube listing:
A bullwhip is a single-tailed whip, usually made of braided leather, which was originally used as a tool for working with livestock.
Bullwhips are pastoral tools, traditionally used to control livestock in open country. A bullwhip’s length, flexibility, and tapered design allows it to be thrown in such a way that, toward the end of the throw, part of the whip exceeds the speed of sound—thereby creating a small sonic boom. Many modern “sport” whip crackers claim that the bullwhip was rarely, if ever, used to strike cattle, but this is a matter for debate.
All those faces make it seem like the person in the video will know what they are talking about. The video is under 3 minutes, but it feels much longer than that when you are watching it. Here’s the video:
Here’s what is way wrong in my opinion:
1. Length: He says it’s a 6 foot whip that’s worn down to 4 foot. Well in total length yes…but how a bullwhip is typically measured it’s started a 4 foot whip and is still a 4 foot whip.
2. Durability: He says a leather bullwhip will “destroy itself the more you use it”. This is 100% false, a poorly maintained bullwhip will get ruined…but that’s not the bullwhips fault. Also keep in mind that a bullwhip like anything, you car, your home, your pants, your body, pretty much anything will wear itself out the more it’s used. That’s where proper care comes in.
3. Cracker: He says “it’s been reduced to one cracker”, I don’t even know what the heck that means. Typically the highest number of crackers a bullwhip can have is ONE! Also he’s referring to the bullwhip’s fall as a cracker and the whip has no cracker, so technically this bullwhip has been reduced to ZERO crackers.
4. Practice Makes Perfect: He says, “practice makes perfect and you can see I’ve been practicing”. Here’s the thing about the saying practice makes perfect, it’s wrong. There’s a better saying, “perfect practice makes perfect” which means you have to be practicing correctly. If I want to practice my golf swing and I swing the club like it’s a baseball bat. I can practice that all day long, but it’s not going to help me once I get out on the golf course and put the ball on a tee on the ground.
Also do you think me mentioning this now before the demo might be foreshadowing some awesome technique later?
5. Safety: Tells how dangerous it is and uses no safety equipment!
6. Technique: No wonder he’s hit himself in the face, in fact it’s a wonder he’s only done that once! He’s “dishragging” the whip which is the least safe way you can use a whip and the least practical. Also there’s really only one or two actual cracks he’s getting with the whip, the rest are the whip hitting the floor.
7. His closing statement: It cracks me up when he says, “there’s nothing like the sound of a whip cracking…”, if he like how his sounds now can you imagine how jazzed he’d be if he actually learned to crack it!
That’s the end of my little rant and here’s the moral, don’t take lessons from idiots on youtube to learn to crack a whip. It’s unsafe and will lead you to hurt yourself or your whip. Invest $10-$30 on a book or DVD to learn the actual foundations of whip cracking. $30 for a DVD might sound expensive, but it’s cheaper than losing an eye because you didn’t follow proper safety procedures or whip technique.