My History with Bullwhips, and the Minefield of Public Perception

After my video titled, a Whip Trick to Save America a lot of questions were asked about why I work with whips, and how such an interest has sustained me for over 30 years. It occurred to me that because I’m close to the art form, which I’d associate as an American Martial Art, whip arts require a precision that is unique, and worth a deep look.

When most people think of a bullwhip, they often think of pain, or sadomasochism.  My use of the whip is far removed from such ends. But being a member of the whip community, and approached many times by members of the S&M culture, I have had a unique perspective on elements of social behavior that have led to political corruption.
Here my friend Gery Deer and I demonstrate bullwhip work while doing some promo work for our short film, The Overman.

This is the preview of The Overman, which won best experimental short film for its extensive green screen use in an independent production.

In every organization throughout history, with very few exceptions, a social hierarchy forms of which the most vicious power grabbers migrate to the top, and the more passive will settle at the bottom. Most of American society finds them on the bottom end of the power base by default, due to the fact that many people don’t wish to fight for power.

In 1997 I visited Washington DC with my family and took the White House tour like many who visit DC. While in line for the tour, my kids were caught climbing on the fence by the White House security. When security approached the children they were told to stay off the “Presidents fence.” This provoked an argument from my wife to the guards stating that she understood their concern to keep the children off the fence for safety reasons, but the guards were wrong on the other hand by proclaiming that the fence at the White House was owned by the President. It was the people’s fence.
Here is my wife in a calmer moment. Just don’t tell her that her kids can’t play on the White House fence.

Now, to me, this misstatement was completely wrong, and showed much insight to the problems suffering within the Republic of the United States. Due to a variety of deep seated psychological problems, the voter base which elects its representatives in government are unable to overcome those weaknesses to properly vote in a republic. In fact, it is evident that more energy from politicians is put into public relation campaigns to alter public opinion, than in gaining a true understanding of what the public wants. This is a fundamental problem, and is echoed in the White House guard’s mistake in believing the White House is a royal family of some such. Royalty has no place in the philosophy that founded America.

As a nation, we are discovering quickly, that many influences have been established to erode the quality of our nation and its people. Our university system has been populated by sympathizers of enemy nations and encouraged to weaken the individual spirit of the students by focusing on careers that would easily serve the emerging social order, and break down the family structure that generally is needed to produce strong social individuals. I dropped out of college three times before reaching the conclusion that success in the higher institution was not conducive to just hard work and intelligence, but to factors more accurately described by my wife, “There only needs to be one class in college taught to the students, and that’s butt-kissing 101.” Sometimes a square peg just doesn’t fit in a round hole. You can beat it with a hammer to try and deform it in some way, but ultimately, if one is to remain true to themselves, they have to find the answers alone. College offered a secure job placement. But I was always looking for answers which they didn’t seem interested in giving. So after a decade of back and forth attempts, I parted ways.

I spent the next 5 years reading this guy.

I drew comparisons to my education experience, and the people I met in the whip community, and referenced those against the social behavior of modern America. It was shocking to me that so many people seemed attracted to the idea of sadomasochism as their first reaction to the whip, which Freud did much work at the turn of the century, ironically as the progressive era thinkers were emerging with their strategy. Given that a majority of psychiatrists are calling S&M a mental disorder, how is it that so many people were willing to accept such a personal flaw without striving to correct it or overcome it?

Here is a great thinker, Carl Jung

S&M by its nature will produce citizens that will seek abuse, so it is no wonder that as factions of the government have risen to power, their respect for the people who elected them has diminished. What is understood at a subconscious level is that many people secretly crave abuse and domination by a superior power, and this is why the world and our nation find themselves in the precarious situation they are currently in.

Those craving power understand this. It is not by accident that weaknesses of character are encouraged at a social level, because such weaknesses create shame which the victim seeks to suppress, and gives power to all people who know the secret. Government has expanded at a rapid rate creating new divisions of government oversight to facilitate all the traumatic effects of human disappointment.

My use of the bullwhip is one of individual mastery. The whip is symbolic in many ways of how a small amount of force applied, can become an explosive result at the end. The sound that is created at the end of the whip is actually a sonic boom, where the whip breaks the sound barrier. So using such a flexible device as an excises tool, or a weapon makes sense. And it is in that type of thinking, that I see an opportunity to heal, not hurt the people that learn to use such a weapon with discipline.
This video is a bit blurry, it’s from one of my older cameras but it does a good job of recording whip work in slow motion.

By overcoming one’s weaknesses, a person can function from a stronger Super Ego rather than just the basic functions of Id, which the government seeks to advocate out of sheer necessity of logistics control.

The progressive movement has sought to advance mankind through a method described in Plato’s Republic, where the wisest of the wise will advance the human spirit. But in order to do that, a class system must be put in place where the wise are determined. And once they are determined, then competing classes must be put into their proper place so that they can be lead properly. This was achieved in our culture by destroying the Super Ego to use Freudian logic.

So the tendency of a majority of the people I have met that looked at the bullwhip and saw S&M practices was more of a symptom of the overall problem of a society that had its Super Ego crushed through cultural propaganda. This leads to a culture obsessed with pornography in various forms, and therefore distracted from higher concepts.
Here I am at another film festival working with students in a stunt workshop.

Mastering a weapon of any kind does two primary things; it gives one a sense of ability to protect oneself and therefore one’s own Super Ego. It also strengthens one’s individual identity by building the Super Ego up. This is the way I view the western arts, and their relative contributions to society. A republic is dependent on strong individual values pitched against its neighbors for the revelation of truth as opposed to a society of masochists inwardly seeking domination by a superior force.

The progressive movement used the knowledge gained from studies such as what Freud reveled as a grab for power. It is no wonder that families have been dismantled; taxes have increased dramatically to support a centralized government with an oversight philosophy as indicated by the welfare system, and social security, and religious influence has been stripped away. It is evident now in hind-sight that a careful strategy has been employed to give us the current state of affairs.

Although this may seem cynical, or conspiratorial, the evidence is plain to see. And with my work with bullwhips, and interaction with the S&M culture that seeks instruction in the bullwhip arts, I drew some of these conclusions from observation.

So using a bullwhip as a political symbol is meaningful in that its very nature is defiance against systems of control because mastering it is mastery of control. It is a flexible weapon that can constantly adapt to a situation, and it can deliver explosive results with the simple flick of the wrist with pin point accuracy. Without doubt, progressive thinking will seek to shape the use of the bullwhip as a weapon of a slave holder, and attempt to discredit it the way I use it, but remember that their goal is to erase our past and to marginalize any memory of it. They also seek to diminish the role John Wayne played in American Society as well. Wayne truly believed in the work he did, and the preservation of the western culture. But such statements are only born out of public relations brain storming, and appeal to the Id nature of people. Anyone that looks beyond the bullet point statements of PR executives can see the manipulation of concepts that threaten the power base of progressive thinking.
Here is John Wayne from the great film, The Cowboys. When I was a kid, this was what becoming a man was about.

Such comments have been leveled toward gun owners for years, as though the need to own a gun somehow is affiliated with a subversive element. It is in the very Bill of Rights of our Constitution and should be the law of the land without question. “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a Free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” There is nothing in the Constitution that says the definition of Militia means only an organized state run entity. It is a government of the people for the people. Yet when such clear language is translated as openly as this Second Amendment has been, it is clear that subversion of the Constitution is the intention of those that attempt to twist the meanings to suit their political agenda. And likewise, any weapon used by a thinking person, such as a bullwhip in this case, will be seen as a threat to the established order, and will attempt to paint that weapon into a negative light in historical context.
Here I am firing one of the finest handguns on the face of this planet, the Smith and Weston .500 Magnum.

So for many reasons, the bullwhip is the weapon of choice for me.  I came to first use bullwhips from my grandfather, who learned to use it from his father when they were runners of White Lightning during the prohibition era. Back then, in the deep foothills of Appalachia, my great grandfather used to crack flies off his porch with pin point accuracy in between moonshine runs as a way to pass the time. With the whip, it was more fun than a fly swatter, and less expensive than ammunition for a gun. So it became something of a family heritage from there on.
Yes, I’m proud of my family heritage and the colorful characters produced from resisting the prohibition law initiated by progressive thinking. And my great grandfather was one of those men.

Undoubtedly there are progressive minded people who will read the above and contemplate the primitive, unsophisticated embrace of such a concept as using a whip to swat flies off a porch as backward and ignorant. Yet, to me, the opposite is true, that people who follow without question, and seek the lazy path of socialism because of the shared burden nature of that philosophy, are not just unsophisticated, and lethargic, they are far less superior to a mountain man in logic and skill. It is in mountain men that echoes of those that settled this country can be heard.

And the frontiersman and western settlers that braved all the perils of a new land, and wished to escape the repressive grip of Europe deserve to be celebrated, and preserved through western arts. It is a shame that the very people they fled from in Europe in the 1700’s turned out to follow them here and settle like a disease with their occidental logic which is the same that created the Roman Empire, the Dark Ages, the Inquisition, the English Empire, and several hundred other regimes of corruption and power over a 1500 year span of time. Now those people think they are in power now in the United States, and seek to erase our American History. So to me, the bullwhip is a symbol of defiance against that progressive philosophy.

And the website here is now  This was some promotional work done for my book, The Symposium of Justice several years ago.

America is not occidental. It is a melting pot of many cultures and was settled by the bravest and boldest the world had to offer. And that is what makes the Constitution such a unique document. And in the western arts, the Native American has their place along with the cowboy and frontiersman. All played their part in forging an ideology that is unique to the world stage. And the bullwhip is a symbol of frontier values and great efficiency that has its roots in American culture, and the golden age of Hollywood cinema.
One of my favorite Republic Serials, Zorro’s Fighting Legion, Zorro saves the day

So the whip has a long history with me and a longer history in American culture. And I feel a responsibility to preserve its heritage for future generations. Although the message has been perverted in the failed progressive experiment of the last quarter of century, my work with bullwhips is in the spirit of undoing much of the twisted rhetoric espoused by the misguided emergence, and decline of the intellectual class.

Rich Hoffman

21 thoughts on “My History with Bullwhips, and the Minefield of Public Perception

  1. In my opinion it is a really smart point of view. I most often meet people who rather say what they suppose others want to hear. Good and well written! I will come back to your site for sure!


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