In the community of Chinese spinning top players, the choice of the whip is a controversial subject. In fact, the whip is also used for fitness exercises, and depending on the region, the twisted nylon whip or the whip made of a chain or cable is preferred. But that’s not all, whatever whip you choose, it comes with a twisted string end while in some areas people prefer a plastic strap more suited to hit the spinning top. So when I go to Kaifeng to see Chinese tops players, there is always someone to tell me that my whip is not good and that the plastic strap should be replaced by a twisted string. On the other hand, when I go to Zhengzhou (in the same province of Henan), one hastens to tell me that the string is worthless and that the whip must end with a plastic strap (not too wide, 3 mm enough). In short, if I had to follow all the advices given to me in the different cities I visit, I would not stop changing the end of my whip. Because, of course, when I return to Zhanjiang in Guangdong province, we still practice differently. Finally, after months of practice I adopted the plastic strap 5 mm wide and 50 cm long; It wears less quickly than the twisted string and is easier to replace.
Chain Whip chain and cable Whip
But what about whips made of a chain, will you ask? Again, it is a matter of habits; In Kaifeng, Henan Province, most of the players I met use a chain whip, or a cable Whip. In contrast, 100 km to the west, in the capital Zhengzhou, one plays indifferently with a nylon whip or a whip chain. When in Zhanjiang where we live, we use the chain whip for fitness exercises only.
What’s the difference? The chain whip is less flexible than the nylon whip, but it rotates freely around its handle, allowing continuous rotating movements to be carried out; A more difficult movement to perform with the nylon whip, especially when playing with the left hand. In addition, with equal length and weight, the chain whip is more powerful than the twisted whip, and it is an advantage to be taken into account if you are playing with a spinning top of more than 2 kilos. Finally, unlike the nylon whip, the chain whip wears very little; You may have to replace the twisted rope that finishes it after 6 months of use and that’s it; So that if you use a nylon whip, you will see it gradually shrink over the changes of straps. However, the handling of the chain whip being a bit tricky for beginners, I recommend starting with a nylon whip, easier to tame.
Whatever kind of whips you choose, remain two outstanding questions: which length and which weight to choose? Indeed all these whip are available in different lengths and their weight varies accordingly. To play the Chinese spinning top, you will have the choice between 2-metre whips, 2 metres 50 or 3 metres with weights varying between 600 g and 1.5 kg. Beyond that, they are whips used for fitness. In the absolute, the whip of 2, 5 meters is a good compromise for the beginner: not too heavy to handle and with enough elongation to play 1 or 2 kgs tops.
If some whips like chain whips can be used indifferently for spinning tops and fitness exercises, the twisted nylon whip is worthless for fitness exercises as it lacks flexibility.
For the practice of the fitness whip, you will therefore have the choice between the chain whips which I have already mentioned above and the rubber whips which comes in multiple forms: simple molded rubber whip, or whip composed of a rubber ame, wrapped in a braided leather sheath.
For testing these different types, my preference goes to the molded rubber whip which is much more flexible in all directions. In fact, unless you offer a high-end model (very expensive), the whips are inclined to bend in one direction.
How to choose?
As for spinning tops whips, fitness whips are available in different lengths and weights. To start, there is no need to buy a whip too long and too heavy that you will have trouble snapping. For the soft rubber whip, I recommend you choose a whip of 2.5 or 3 meters maximum and 600 or 700 grams. If you have the means, also buy a soft, smaller whip (2.2 meters – 500 grams) that will allow you to repeat more complex movements before performing them with a “normal” whip.
For the chain whip, you will choose according to your size; The length of the chain must be equal to the height between the floor and the top of your ears. But be careful, before you get a chain whip, practice first with a soft whip; Indeed, the chain whip has a very different behavior of the soft whip and you can seriously injure yourself if you do not properly master the whip.
Finally note that these whips chains are intended to work on figures; If you just want to do weight lifting by snapping a whip to the right and left, you will find chain whips 4 or 5 meters long, with weights of up to 5 or 6 kilos.