The Switch

Stefanie von Platen-Wilhelms lives in Lyon, France, and is a German expatriate. She was brought up quite strict, and is in favor of corporal punishment, especially the good old British ways. Her blog, quite simply titled Stefanie von Platen-Wilhelms is updated periodically. It contains some excellent stories and posts on corporal punishment and implements. The following treatise on the “switch” was taken from Stefanie von Platen-Wilhelms, and is also being posted on All Things Spanking’s Techniques & Commentary page.

Corporal punishment implements: The Switch


We have already discussed the cane, certainly a very common implement in the UK, europe and probably most of those parts of the world that were once or are still today part of the british commonwealth. What I am going to write about today is the switch. In many ways similiar to the cane, there are yet a few grave differences.

First, it must be said that there is no such thing as “the switch”. Switches come in a wide variety of sizes and material. What they have in common is that they are made out of (or simply are) a branch from a tree.

Willow, Hazel and birch branches seem to have been common in Europe, while I have heard of hickory being used in north america. As for the length and diameter, I’ve seen everything from small and thin switches to long and somewhat thicker branches which can genuinely be called sticks (As was done in my family, the hazel I received was called the Hazel Stick). However, in general switches are not as thick as a standard cane.

Switches are also even more flexible than a typical rattan cane, and the wood is more dense. This has several effects on its use: for example, a switch often is lacking the capacity to penetrate thicker layers of clothing (although one of those heavier switches could). As a switch of the same diameter would be heavier than a cane (rattan is less dense), it would bruise more. However, as most switches are thinner than canes, they are normally of comparable or lesser severity.

Part of the rituals that are associated with the switch is that sometimes the person about to receive it has to cut his or her own switch. Although the hazel stick I received was always already waiting on my fathers desk, i can easily see how this is an effective additional punishment.

The switch, not unlike the birch, was a predecessor of the rattan cane in many european schools. It has also been in use in families, especially in rural areas where trees were of course in abundance. It was (and is) an effective means of discipline.

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2 Responses to The Switch

  1. peggy says:

    My favorite instrument is a Willow switch, we cut the ones that have grown in one season so they are smooth with no joints. We find that they are easier to control than a cane and I can endure more strokes, the feel is, well just nicer.

  2. charles says:

    At my middle school, some of the coaches used plastic bats. They did not leave deep bruises like paddles or heavy straps, but they could generate a good deal of sting, even through jeans. With only a jockstrap and thin gym shorts protecting the buttocks, those bats really,really hurt. Maybe they could substitute for willow or hickory switches if those are not available.
    In addition to hurting like crazy, a good swat would leave red mark that would last four or five days. Some teachers would tap gently, and that would sting but not leave a mark. Some would try to hit a home run with your butt.

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