I’m always amazed at the lack of training that many people have when they pick up a bullwhip and try to crack it! Number one priority is protecting your eyes, you need to wear safety goggles/glasses! However a quick search of the term “Bullwhip Fail” on youtube found tons of videos and virtually everyperson’s eyes were not protected!
The next thing that drives me crazy is how many people think that they instinctively know how to crack a bullwhip. In fact they will tell you they know how, but are lying! Cracking a bullwhip is not something you can automatically do…and if you think that because you can snap a towel that skill translates to a bullwhip you are 100% wrong!
I found a couple bullwhip videos that I think illustrate what not to do. Here’s the first one:
In the video above the guy is trying to have some sort of form besides simply dishragging the bullwhip. However he’s missing the follow through after the point where the bullwhip is supposed to crack.
Imagine someone playing baseball and they are batting. If you watch any sort of baseball you’ll know the batter follows through with their swing after the bat has made contact with the ball. Once the ball has contacted the bat and taken the energy from the swing the batter could technically stop the swing, but they all follow through. Why? Because if they forced a stop they could injure themselves…same with cracking a bullwhip, you don’t do a follow through you can injure yourself like the person in the above clip!
There are a couple of things that I find hilarious about this next clip:
First of all for the overhead crack he’s wildly swinging it over his head without purpose. Cracking a bullwhip is like dance, you need to move with intention. Notice about halfway through the video his body language get’s more “angry” and his swing gets crazier and crazier. That’s not good, whip cracking is all about control. He claims to have learned to crack a whip in school…but any competent teacher would tell you not to crack the bullwhip in front of you like he did at the 46 second mark. Finally the title of the video is “Pretty Cool Things I’m Pretty Good At” cracks me up! It should be, “Pretty Cool Things That I’m Incompetent At”!
Heck take the movie the Blues Brothers, even Belushi has proper form when he cracks in the famous Rawhide Scene:
So what I’m trying to say is if you are new to cracking a bullwhip finding a local bullwhip cracking group or whip cracker to learn from is a good idea. If that’s not an option there are tons of videos (DVD’s and online) that will teach you proper form. Bullwhip cracking is a sport has risks built into it and there’s now way to avoid it, but through proper training and safety (like goggles) you are reduce that risk!