Saturday, July 30, 2005

The Slap Analyst

In this scene, Yong confront her husband about his affair with his young and sexy secretary, Ms Marie Curie.

"But I still do love you!” Yong’s husband protested, as if that would justify everything.
“So why did you do it?”
“Well, you know…” he fumbled about for an excuse. It was not in anyone’s best interest to tell the truth. “Well…it can get so dull in that dump sometimes, and she…um…she started it…and…uh…”


The fleshy sound of a slap rang out, prematurely terminating the husband’s defence. Yong stormed out of the room, slamming the door after her. Gradually, his cheek turned a pinkish hue of red.


The scene ended, and the director complained about the dry acting, the lifeless speech, the expressionless faces, and that dead-ish slap. “That was the hardest I could manage to slap!” whined the lead actress.

“If I may, I just happen to have something with me that might be of use to you,” a voice hidden behind the glare of the lighting fixtures piped up.

“And who are you?” the director snapped. He was already under enough stress from managing this bunch of useless ‘talents’.

“I’m the lighting man,” the voice announced as its form stepped out of the shadows. “But more importantly, I am an expert in the field of slapping. In fact, I’ll be giving a paid seminar at the Marriot tomorrow. My next seminars and lectures will be in Bali, Bangkok, the Shanghai Music Conservatory, Hong Kong and IBM New Delhi.”

“I see…go on,” the director visibly impressed.

“I’ve got some notes that might be of use for today. Can’t help with their horrid acting,” he waved his hand condescendingly in the general direction of the set, “but it’ll do your girl’s slapping some good.”

From an elegant black leather folder, he retrieved several copies of the aforementioned notes and distributed them among the cast and the director. “This is the first portion of the seminar notes. It’s nothing fancy really, all classical physics. The application of quantum mechanics and relativistic effects will only be discussed in the paid lectures,” he gave a wink. “Anyway, read through it, and with a bit of practice, your slap will be the finest around here.”


3 days later, the rehearsal was held in a gymnasium. Their usual studio had suffered a tragedy with the plumbing, and was not fit for usage. At one end of the large gymnasium, a red sandbag hung quietly from a crossbeam in the low ceiling. “Interesting,” the lead actress thought to herself. She positioned herself in front of the sand bag and gave it a slap.


Her palm slammed into the pliable bag, the particulate material within deforming as it absorbed the impact.

She repositioned herself, and started the making motions faster and faster. Thumps resonated within the large hall with rapid periodicity. She started alternating with left and right hands, then forehand and backhand. Before long, she settled into a sort of chaotic yet rhythmic motion, and was switching between forehand and backhand slaps for left and right hands.

Soon, she was shadow-sparring with an imagined opponent. She held her attacks, feinted, blocked and followed up with a rapid succession of strikes that ended with a final jarring blow accompanied with a Bruce Lee-esque howling shriek.

The lead actor looked at the proceedings with a marked amount of worry. “Am I to be slapped by that...fighting machine?” he asked the director, hoping for the best. “Only once,” the director reassured the young man kindly, albeit with a sarcastic smile.

The Effective Slapping Seminar
by Tan Yee Wei

We’ll start off with the most fundamental points-
  • Pain from a slap is due to the force of impact

  • Force of impact depends on momentum and duration of impact.

  • Momentum is velocity times mass (weight). You can’t change your mass, so you’ll only have velocity to meddle with. More velocity means more momentum.

  • Start off with more speed, and you will have a greater momentum, and consequently, greater force, and thus more pain (wheee!)

  • If the duration impact is a very short, forces involved will be greater. Falling into a mattress doesn’t hurt as much as falling onto a concrete floor because the duration of impact on a mattress is spread out as you sink into the soft material, rather than a splat as you stop right on the concrete surface.

  • So, we need to have maximum velocity, and minimise impact duration. However, for safety reasons, we will not discuss techniques to reduce impact duration.

    We’ll start off with ideas for maximising velocity.
  • There is a practical speed limit for swiping your hand at a face. Your muscles are not able to contract any much faster than this speed.

  • To make it faster, we move the whole upper body along with it. Now, your muscles are swiping at full speed, and your upper body is moving as well. The sum of speeds makes the slapping speed greater.

  • To add even more speed, rotate your upper body as well.

  • Here’s an illustration.
  • You and your victim are standing on level ground. You slap him.

  • Your victim is standing on the ground, while you are on a merry-go-round. You slap him in the same direction as the merry-go-round’s direction of spin.

  • Your victim is standing on the ground, while you are leaning out of a moving train’s window. You slap him.

  • Your victim is standing on the ground. You, on the other hand, are riding on a spinning merry-go-round that was installed on a moving train. You slap him. OUCH!

  • And now the techniques (I’m talking in right-handed terms):
  • Stand with your feet slightly apart, about 20 to 24 inches wide. Hands relaxed downwards at your side. Position yourself so that your victim’s face is in front of your left foot.

  • Fold your right elbow (without moving your shoulder), such that your palm is about the same height of your shoulder, facing forward.

  • Shift your upper body towards the right side. The left leg is supporting very little of your body weight now. Bend your knees slightly; keep your waist horizontal; back straight. Twist your hips, waist and upper body towards the right side (clockwise direction) so that you are looking diagonally to the front-right.

  • Rapidly shift your body’s weight towards the left side. For very rapid movement (which is what we want), push with the right leg. At the same time, start untwisting your upper body towards the left side (counter-clockwise). Simultaneously, extend your slapping palm outwards and take a (counter-clockwise) swipe at the victim. Remember, we want to maximise velocity. Do all your shifting, twisting and swiping as rapid as possible, simultaneously.

  • Now, your position should be something like this-
  • Weight on left leg.

  • Upper body twisted to the left.

  • With some adjustments, you can now continue on with a backhand slap on the other cheek, using the same techniques as above.