Whips & Whipping 101, Part 6: The First Useful Shot – The Pick Up

By Jim the Whip Maker and Dick Carlson

Part 1: Bulls, Snakes & Other Scary Critters
Part 2: Swing & Target Practice
Part 3: Long Whips
Part 4: The First Crack
Part 5: The First Shot – The Full Overhand Shot
Part 7: The Real Thing – The Single Side Shot
Part 8: For the Whip Top – Dealing with Your Whip Bottom
Part 9: For the Whip Bottom – Dealing with Your Whip Top
Part 10: A Word on Cuts for Whip Bottoms

We can now develop a useful shot, often called the pick up. The difference between this shot and the full overhand described in the previous article is in the way we bring the whip up behind, ready for the pull forward. This shot avoids the need for the big overhead swing.


Begin with the whip on the ground in front, as before. The first part is to pull your hand back at hip level or a little above, little finger first as always and palm inverted, remembering the loose grip.

As your arm extends behind you, your hand turns to point backward as the whip passes by below your hand. As you fully extend, raise your hand to shoulder level. This movement should lift the whip and lay it out in the air behind you exactly as before.

You may want to practice this first part, watching the whip moving by. To complete the shot to the front, pull forward exactly as in the full overhand. The real difference is in the means of extending to the rear, ready for the shot itself. If you rap yourself in the back, it’s because you are allowing your hand to swing across in front or behind. It is strictly forward and back with no side-to-side at all.

This shot is more difficult to get right, so if you have trouble, switch back to the overhand for a while then, when the whip is moving well, try again, with the movement fresh in mind. Try the first part again if there is still no deal. Trying too hard spoils this shot just like the first one.

Once you master this shot, you have something to use. It’s target practice time!


The pick up shot can be used straight-on at a standing target, using the very end of the cracker, and using the punched version of the shot. This takes a lot of practice, as accuracy is vital. Range must be exact. An inch too close will make a very intense impact. Possibly a cut. As an alternative, the cutting version can be used on a prone target. Not to be confused, this version does not necessarily cause a cut — the name refers to the whip action. If you have perfected the punch, you may use this version. The aim off, however, will be different, as practice will show.

You should be practicing to hit the masochist while standing on one side or the other, but never when standing at the head or the feet. A hit directly along the spine is to be avoided (see our illustration of BDSM Impact Play Safe Zones).

By working from the side, the spine is shaded by the profile of the back. Warning! With this latter shot it is important that the whip cracks before it lands. This takes most of the energy and what remains is a hard slap, still very zingy. If there is no crack, Mr Maso gets the lot. If he is into it, a direct hit will make a cut with relative ease. So, on a prone target, aim a couple of inches high. You can make the shot as hard as you like, and therefore as loud as you like, and still regulate the intensity by the amount of aiming off. You will find that you are more accurate if you throw with at least moderate speed.


DungeonMaster33This article first appeared in DungeonMaster magazine, Number 33, September 1987 published by Desmodus Publications and edited by Fledermaus (Tony DeBlase).

Jim the Whip Maker and Dick Carlson taught this material as a course for the now defunct SandMutopia University, which was founded and operated by Tony DeBlase.

DungeonMaster was published from 1979 to 1992. After Tony DeBlase bought Drummer magazine in 1986, DungeonMaster became, in some ways,  the little brother of its more popular stable-mate. Articles published in DungeonMaster were sometimes later reprinted in Drummer. In 1992, Desmodus Inc., which then included Drummer, Mach, Tough Customers, DungeonMaster, The Sandmutopia Guardian and The Sandmutopia Supply Company, was sold to a Dutch corporation headed by Martjin Bakker, the owner of RoB Amsterdam stores and galleries. Tony DeBlase became Editor Emeritus and passed away in 2000.

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