Remember the whip

"I will whip you good!" (Photo courtesy of Pernilla Lindmon Gauffin)

By Anthony O. Alcantara

Some may think that a whip is a kinky toy that you take out only on special occasions. But for me, it’s the perfect metaphor for attacking in martial arts. Even if you don’t care about martial arts, you may find this metaphor of the whip useful, especially when you want to imprint your hand on the face of an enemy as a sign of peace.

I have seen many beginners in martial arts who had a hard time punching or kicking with force and speed. That’s understandable. What may help them achieve the force and the speed much more quickly is a useful metaphor: arms and legs are whips.

That’s right. Your arms and legs are whips that can do damage to your opponents. As you know, the whip is a very flexible thing. Its tip travels faster than the speed of sound, making cracking sounds as it slices the air. The tip of the whip delivers the greatest damage.

Now if you think of your arm as a whip, your fist becomes the tip of your whip. Imagine yourself whipping your opponent with your arm and letting your fist strike your opponent like the tip of a whip. You will notice too that there is a recoil when you try to hit your opponent.

Just let your hand hang lose and let it travel like a whip toward your target. Then at the latest possible moment, just before impact, you stiffen your hand a little in anticipation of the impact.

Chances are you would have made a more powerful and faster strike… just by thinking of the whip metaphor.

It’s the same with kicking. Your foot becomes the tip of the whip. You deliver more power and much greater speed compared to just being mechanical about it.

I learned this when I took up Kendo, an art dealing with sword fighting. Though I was already proficient with using the bokken, or wooden sword, Kendo still had a lot to teach me.

The shinai, the bamboo sword used in Kendo, is pretty inflexible. The instructor told us beginners to imagine that our sword is a whip and that the tip of our shinai is the tip of the whip. He also gave us another image: our sword is like a fishing rod and that the tip of our sword is the hook with the squirming worms.

I thought the whip metaphor was better and kinkier, and therefore much more interesting and memorable.

I began applying the idea whenever I instruct people in martial arts. The metaphor can be applied to many other weapons. Arnis sticks can be thought of as whips. Wooden staffs can be likened to whips too.

So it may be a good idea to think of the whip when you need to defend yourself. Want to bitch slap that uncouth ogre at the office? Your whip can serve you well.

Just don’t get too kinky.

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