Whips In Self Defense

The use of whips in self defense isn’t a new idea or practice. It’s been around a while. There are some who feel that a whip is very limited in its self defense applications, while some believe it has a wide array of potential. Many simply don’t see the whip as a weapon, but solely as a tool for its intended purpose. And although some of the stunts & flashy tricks we see in movies portraying whips may not be truly realistic, still there remain many practical applications where a whip can be used in self defense.

Anthony DeLongis, rancher, actor, stuntman & fight choreographer, believes in the power of the whip as both a tool & a practical self defense weapon. DeLongis has worked with scores of actors over the years, training many in the use of swords & whips. He has developed a unique style of whip handling, one that has become a trademark for him.



Several years ago Peter Jack developed a short bullwhip for use by martial artists. The Latigo y Daga whip it’s been called. I’ve read online reviews by a few martial artists who give it thumbs up. It’s shot-loaded, has a short handle & all black kangaroo hide overlay. Some time ago a customer came to me with an idea of a short whip, a combination of a bullwhip & a blackjack. He gave me some thoughts about it & let me figure out the construction. The end product was a 4 ft, 12 plait shot-loaded bullwhip, built on a 4 inch handle which was overlaid with a french grapevine wrap. The thong was purple, the handle wrap black with black & purple knots. The heel knot contained more lead than I normally load into any whip, making the whip pretty heavy for its size. The idea was to have a whip which could also be turned & used as a blackjack. I dubbed it the ‘Jack-snake,’ though it was more bullwhip than snakewhip. The short handle made me think of what was used in the old days, what many called a shot-whip. One thing for sure, if you got hit with the butt end of that whip, it could cause some damage.

The construction of that whip led me to develop another design for a self defense type whip. It was a shot-loaded 5 ft, 16 plait bullwhip with a 5 inch handle, one plaited belly & no transition knot. The heel knot again was loaded with a bit more lead than normal, the base finished off with a nickel-plated concho. The whip had a faster taper to it than a bullwhip would’ve had being the same length. Its appearance was more of a snake whip. Originally, I’d intended to finish off the point in the same fashion as a signal whip, an idea I gathered from a picture of a bullwhip Joe Strain had put on his website. Yet when I reached the end of the plaiting, it felt right to tie on a fall, so that’s what I did. It was a decent cracking whip that sold on Ebay in a couple days. I called it ‘The Short-bull.’

It seems that whips have grown in popularity among martial artists over the last several years, though I believe the interest of whips in this field has always been there. The main debate I read over & over again is whether or not a whip is practical for use in self defense. I think Athony DeLongis has shown some solid practical uses. The whip as a self defense weapon may never be regarded as highly as the nunchuk or staff, but I do believe it has its place & its applications.

~Till next time, Steve.

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2 Responses to Whips In Self Defense

  1. KEN NG says:

    Whips In Self Defense:
    Aloha Steve,
    I want to consider a whip for self-defense. I like what you wrote above. How do I pick one that is right for me?
    Ken Ng

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