The first time I ever made a bullwhip, I was intrigued with how the handle, more specifically the heel knot, was very dense and probably would not feel very good if it was applied to the side of someone’s cranium.
In How to Make Whips, Ron Edwards wrote about how blackjacks were illegal to carry in Australia, so instead they would carry small snakewhips. Snakewhips were legal to carry, and when equipped with a weighted heel knot, the snakewhip served as a discreet, legal-to-carry blackjack (or a “life preserver” in Edwards’ Aussie vernacular).
While I’m not one to promote violence, I do believe that the ability to defend oneself is a basic human right. So for years I have been interested in developing a plaited device that would be good for self defense. All I needed was the impetus and time to develop it. Recently that impetus came in the form of an email entitled “special request” from an expert martial artist from Texas. The gentleman described the device he wanted and it matched up very well with the ideas I already had floating around in my head.
And thus the Bull Bat was born: The construction started out just like any of my regular bullwhips. An 8″ steel handle, a shot loaded core, 2 plaited bellies wrapped with artificial sinew for support, and all covered with a 16 plait overlay. Pretty much your average bullwhip handle and construction until you get around 21″ down the thong. There you encounter the thong beginning to thicken ever so slightly, then finished with a turkshead knot. The knot on the end conceals the payload: steel, lead tape, and nylon cord that is wrapped super tight and secured with glue and staples to be sure it doesn’t come off.
Overall, it’s 23″ long and weighs 13.5 ounces. From one end it looks like a bullwhip, from the other, a snakewhip. It functions much like the Aussie snakewhip “life preserver” but with the added benefit of a rigid handle for better control and leverage. The wrist loop keeps the Bull Bat from being taken away from the user. It can deliver a crushing blow. Even a light tap to the side of the leg hurts like the dickens.
I’ve decided to call it the “Bull Bat” because it’s partially a bullwhip, but intended for hitting instead of making an audible crack. At this point I am not sure if I will offer these as a regular product. I’m sure there are lots of places where owning such an item is prohibited by law, so that is a major concern -especially if one fell into the hands of someone who is not very responsible for their actions. In the mean time, I plan to work on the design a bit more and see what kind of variations I can make to improve on this initial design. I’ll post some photos if I do.