I was excited to come home from work to find a package waiting for me.  Inside was the latest addition to my weapons collection – a 6’ snake whip (pic, Center) from Leon Samadi.  Growing up watching Westerns, and of course playing Cowboys & Indians, it was always cool to see the guy that used the bullwhip.  I got my first “whip” in 1969 during a family summer vacation to the Southwest (Grand Canyon, Painted Desert, Pikes Peak etc.) in a non-air-conditioned car with vinyl seats (but that’s another story).  I played with that whip for years, never really knowing its full potential as a kid, until I ultimately dug it out of a box and passed it on to my son a few years back (pic, Left).  

The snake whip I ordered from Leon is the real deal and can be used in a variety of combative applications. The whip has a long history in many cultures, both Eastern and Western, as both a tool and a weapon.  There are definitely some idiosyncrasies in the practice and application, so it’s best to pursue some decent instruction.   I recommend “The Filipino Fighting Whip” by Tom Meadows along with resources from the Latigo y Daga
Filipino Whip Association.  James Keating also has a valuable “Combative Whip” DVD.  Learning the whip is not only fun, but provides excellent development of line familiarity which can be translated into the stick, knife, and empty hand.

On a smaller scale, this can also take the form of a “neck whip” (pic, Right).  These are typically smaller than traditional whips, both in length and diameter, but can also be used for offensive and defensive techniques. They are great as a backup when traveling in non-permissive environments and can easily be worn without detection. I’ve traveled many times by plane, both domestic and international, while wearing a 44” leather “necklace” and never encountered any issues with our friendly TSA reps.  The best resource I know (both
instruction and as a craftsman of whips) is Scott Homschek.  His DVD “Improvised Flexible Weapons” is available thru Paladin Press.  
Last but not least, is the trusty standby, the Bandana.  Besides being something that should be part of your everyday carry for a variety of reasons (clean your glasses, blow your nose, bandage, tourniquet, sling, etc.), the bandana can also be used as an improvised flexible weapon.   Am I going to break someone’s bones by flicking them with a handkerchief?  Of course not.  But it can be used for blocking, parrying, trapping, and wrapping an opponent approaching you with bad intent.  And when properly “loaded”, it can be used to deliver devastating blows that can break or bruise delicate bones in the hands or face.  I like the 23” version I picked up at Duluth Trading Co. (pic, Lower).  A variety of bandana training resources can be found at either James Keating’s site or a quick start guide on Pete Kautz’s Modern Knives #9.  
Finally, you may be asking yourself “Why bother? I’m never going to use any of that stuff and it’s not really practical or functional anyway.”  Maybe.  But consider the words of someone that whipped a lot more butts than all the rest of us combined:

Third, regarding the warrior of the samurai class, he must prepare an assortment of weapons and understand the specific virtues of each.  This is the Way of the Warrior.  Without handling the weapons and becoming accustomed to them, it is impossible to realize their individual advantages, and this would make the refinements of the warrior clans somewhat shallow, wouldn’t it?” 

(Miyamoto Musashi, The Five Rings, from  “Ground”)

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