Clapping with one Hand

I just read Cecils reply to an 1983 inquiry of clapping with one hand in the archive classics.
Clapping with one hand is well known techniquie in my family and I practise it myself since many years.

Verbal Instruction is a bit awkward but I give it a try

Hold your forearm straight up. Bend your hand backwards, like you would press something up.
Bend your fingers loosely forward. Now keep your wrist firm and your fingers relaxed.
If you move your arm up and down in this position your fingers will clap on your palm. (And you will mangage to do this in any position of the arm eventually.)

WARNING !!! : You have to keep your wrist firm at all stages of clapping. Shaking your arm or hand strongly with a relaxed wrist might lead to injury.

Try at your own risk!

Obviously you can practice one handed clapping with both hands simultaniously, provided you have both free. One can try to do two handed one hand clapping synchronus or intermittend. Try all the nice clapping patterns you can produce.

Have fun.

Welcome to the Straight Dope Message Boards, worraps, we’re glad to have you with us. When you start a thread, it’s helpful to others if you provide a link to the Column – saves search time and energy, makes it more convenient for other readers. No biggie, you’ll know for next time, and I’ve edited your thread to provide the link.

This topic has been discussed fairly often on the Message Boards. Here are a few links to prior threads:
One hand clap

one hand clapping

What is the sound of one hand clapping

One hand clapping

The sound of one hand clapping

clapping with one hand

If you paid up to be a Member (it’s cheap!) rather than just a Guest, you’d be able to search the Message Boards and find these things for yourself… Not that I’d stoop to a high-pressure sales technique, not at all.

Bart, it’s a 10,000 year old riddle designed to clear the mind of conscience thought. Geez…doesn’t anyone watch Fox Network overly-popular prime-time animated comedies?

What is the band with one sound flapping?

Flapping, eh? Is that like a monolabial fricative?

I’m almost positive that would be Spike Jones and His City Slickers :stuck_out_tongue:

Why is it that people posting on this topic always feel the need to use some violent convolution which shakes the whole arm? I and everybody I’ve ever met can strike the base of my palm with the tips of the fingers of the same hand, in any arm position and without moving the rest of the arm or wrist. How is this simple version of the single-hand clap in any way inferior to the more active method?

Well it’s all as maybe, since (as the Master tells us) the paraphrasing leads the modern reader away from the true nature of the Koan.

What is the hound of one clan happening?

What is the top flight speed of an unladen swallow?

…oh, wait, wrong thread. :smiley:

Definitions of “clap” via

  1. To strike the palms of the hands together with a sudden explosive sound, as in applauding.

  2. To come together suddenly with a sharp sound.

  3. To strike together with a sharp sound, as one hard surface on another: clapped a book on the desk.

  4. To strike (the hands) together with an abrupt, loud sound, usually repeatedly: clapped hands in time to the music.

  5. The act or sound of clapping the hands.

  6. A sudden, loud, explosive sound: a clap of thunder.
    I hope one can assimilate, from these definitions, the apparent necessary inclusion, for a clap to be definitive, of a sharp, loud sound. Obviously, one can imagine thousands of definitions of “clap” that don’t require the inclusion of a sharp, loud sound. But the consensus seems to require, to be a clap, the loud, sharp sound. I find it difficult to make a "loud, sharp sound with my four fingers of one hand striking the palm of the same hand. Sure, some persons probably are pretty capable of making impressive sounds in this manner; but with no comparison to the magnitude of clapping two hands together. If we can define a clap in terms of using one-handed mechanics; can we then also define it likewise when you “clap” just your thumb against the palm of the same hand? It does make a sound…if you listen very very carefully. But I don’t think the preponderance of logical society would classify this as a clap. It lacks the sound to qualify. And four fingers is not much louder and definitley not “sharp.” Maybe we need a minimum dB requirement to define a clap and eliminate the one-hand theory. Or, maybe we need to define “sharp” in terms of sound to accurately define clap and thusly determine if one can truly “clap” with one hand…whether or not he believes in zen or ancient chinese enigmas. Or was your post just a joke? I don’t get jokes sometimes.

This droning, and the fact that you posted an actual definition, shows quite clearly how far you are from understanding. Mind you, I’m not saying that I’ve cruising in Satori myself, but I know enough to understand that a Koan cannot be approached linguistically or rationally, nor can it be approached flippiantly or irrationally. Did anyone on this thread read The Master’s article?

The post was serious, the Koan is a joke.

Or the Koan is serious and Chronos’ post was a joke.

Both of the previous sentences are true.


Sorry, I try to be funny; but my humor is paradoxically tragic sometimes. I thought the humor of my post was overt in a subtle way. I guess that’s the problem with Zen, etc. and my (deficient) humor. I additionally thought the inclusion of “joke,” “Zen” and “enigma” in my post was indicative of having read the article? Perhaps I could have included “Baltimore,” “Quaaludes” and Magnum *P.I." * for clarity.

Don’t listen to anything I say.

If I scream in a forest and a tree falls, does that mean the tree heard my fell voice?-------an I scream koan.


I know koan is pronounced Co-ahn.