Have you ever seen someone using two floggers at once in a coordinated fluid motion that lands flashy rhythmic strikes on their target? You were probably watching what is commonly called Florentine flogging. Florentine is the practice of using one flogger in each hand in an overlapping pattern that has a focused target area.
Over the years Florentine has grown in popularity to (wrongly) be considered indicative of flogger mastery. Shrouded in mystery, hailed as the one and the only path to true flogging bliss, Florentine is surrounded by so much false information that everyone thinks it is much more complicated than it really is.
Now, I don’t mean to minimize the frustration that can come from learning the hand motions necessary to accomplish the Florentine pattern. Learning the pattern takes practice, repeatedly trying and failing, and taking breaks and coming back. I will go over the specifics of the pattern in a bit.
What floggers are best for Florentine?
As far as the style of flogger, the best style is the one you are most comfortable with. It is possible to Florentine with nearly any style of flogger, traditional, finger flogger, palm flogger, ball handle, etc. You can do the Florentine motion pattern with pencils if you are so inclined once you get the motion down.
Keep in mind, Florentine flogging is only using two floggers in a particular pattern. You don’t need special Florentine specific floggers any more than you need a special flogger for a figure 8 stroke as opposed to a horizontal stroke.
You do need two floggers.
Preferably, a matched pair if you are a beginner.
What I mean by matched pair; two floggers in the same style, made from the same leather, with the same length of falls. Usually, people tend to purchase pairs of floggers labeled as Florentine pairs because two floggers made by the same maker at the same time will be more perfectly matched than ones that are not.
*A quick note about leathers. Leather is highly subjective to the processes used to tan it, and different leatherworkers source their hides from different tanneries. Just because you get Bullhide from one maker, doesn’t mean their Bullhide will have the same feel or weight as the one from the maker three stalls over in the vending hall.
Floggers labeled as Florentine Floggers are not different from any other flogger in any way other than they have been made similarly so that they match in weight and length.
So if you are shopping a maker’s wares and they have two floggers, one in purple deer and one in red deer with the same weight, tail length, and a rough number of tails, they are perfectly acceptable as a Florentine pair even though they may not be labeled specifically as “Florentine Floggers.”
What floggers are best for learning Florentine?
The answer is the same as above. Different styles of flogger will change your flogging style slightly. What you do NOT want to do is be trying to adjust to a new flogger style while learning Florentine. Learn with what you are already comfortable with.
Why do people do Florentine flogging in the first place?
A lot of people won’t like this answer but its the most common use of Florentine; To look cool and stroke egos.
This is not to say that there are no legitimate uses for Florentine style, but what I am getting at is that a lot of the hype around this style is centered on looking cool. You can be a great flogger top without Florentine.
Getting to some of the practical reasons;
Once you learn the Florentine pattern it becomes an automatic motion, just like riding a bike. This is good because it allows you to focus your attention on your bottom (where it should be) rather than concentrating so hard on your technique.
Florentine creates a repeating adjustable flow of sensation for the bottom. What I mean by that is you can Florentine softly to warm them up, fast and hard to wake them up or ramp the impact up and down in intensity and speed to create a rollercoaster that has no pauses.
The rhythmic nature of it has fewer pauses between strikes. This means the bottom receives a constant stream of sensation that the top can play with.
Florentine Stroke Styles
The most common Florentine Flogging stroke patterns are called 4 point and 6 point. Each point is a directional stroke of each flogger. So if you did one horizontal strike with a single flogger, that would be one point. One directional stroke= one point. If you hit twice with one flogger in a figure eight motion that would be two points.
Four point florentine is two floggers, each hitting twice, in a pattern similar to a figure eight, but modified so that they don’t run into each other.
Six point is each flogger having three directional strokes. Each flogger as an extra throw in its stroke in addition to the ones in four point.
Below is a video showing four point and six point. The best way to learn in my opinion? Get a pair of floggers and watch this video and try to emulate the hand motions.
I will go fairly slow, and you can slow the video down even more using Youtube’s controls. Just try to get the four basic hand motions of four point down first. Don’t worry about whether your tails are flying correctly, or even flying at all, just do the motion nice and slow.
*Tip- It can help to have an object as a target to hit. The sound of the strikes helps some people get the flow going.
Start with just the first hand motion. Most people start with their dominant hand and the other follows. They’re not doing the same thing, but one hand starts the pattern.
Four point and six point are the main Florentine patterns and most other Florentine flogging is just adding flourishing strokes to one of these.
*Common question- This looks similar to Poi, which has more patterns. Why doesn’t flogging? Poi is a performance art intended to create patterns of flame around the dancer, Florentine is meant to repeatedly hit a specific target with accuracy. Poi= 360* range of motion, Flogging= one direction of impact.
Thank you for reading and watching!
Hopefully, you found this guide helpful. Florentine is a great tool to have in your arsenal, but keep in mind that the hype built around it can be overblown. In reality, most people use it for parts of a scene but vary between stroke styles throughout their play.