scouts-l Mail Archive for April of 2000: Re: War Kites?
Rick Seymour (Rick@KUDU.NET
Wed Apr 05 2000 - 18:20:24 CDT
> In an earlier posting it was suggested that kite flying would
> be an appropriate way to celebrate BSA's 90th anniversary.
> It was even stated that Dan Beard designed many kite plans.
> That's interesting, though trivial, history.
Thank you for your charming post and I agree completely with your
assessment. Readers should BEWARE that The Inquiry Net is a CELEBRATION of
historic subjects that are interesting to boys and trivial to adults! I
suspect that this is just how Dan Beard would have wanted it.
My guess is that a War Kite Flying Station in which Patrols build and
destroy kites would be a bigger draw than most other exhibits at a
Camporee. Time constraints would be a factor, and readers should also note
that the broken-glass "cutter tails" of the armed kites require special
>> The activity commonly referred to as "War Games" -in
>> which individuals shoot paint or dye at one another- is
>> an unauthorized activity.
> To my way of thinking, promoting and using war kites
> in an approved Scouting activity comes perilously close
> to this restriction.
That is a VERY big stretch, indeed. A far better target might be Ripley's
"Games for Boy Scouts: Including Selected War Games of the YMCA and the
Army & Navy." located at The Kudu Net:
I hope to soon expand this topic to include Ripley's larger book "Games for
Boys," which features some of Baden-Powell's war games for Scouts and a
whole chapter of similar always-popular games.
> The expressed goal is not just competition, but
> "...destroying the kites of your opponent!", and by
> extension your opponent.
That is a VERY big "extension," Jay. Sometimes a kite is JUST a kite. :-/
> At what point do we ask the question:
> "Are we having fun yet?"
The question of how boys should have fun was central to most of Dan Beard's
adult life and led to his founding of the "Boy Pioneers" and "The Sons of
Daniel Boone," as well as the Boy Scouts of America. Beard's organizations
for boys were far more "rough and tumble" than his BSA co-founder Seton's
"Woodcraft Indians," which was designed for both boys and girls. See:
Readers of the Inquiry Net will find a number of instances in which Beard
makes humorous distinctions between the activities boys think are fun vs.
how adults think boys should have fun. See, for instance, his Introduction
his Introduction to Hoops & Wheels,
or his Introduction to Tops,
Other Politically Incorrect topics include Beard's pointers on how to avoid
shooting marbles like a "Sissy"
or how to avoid walking in stilts like a "Girl-Boy"
Yes, the Inquiry Net is SURE to be banned by "Net Nanny" and the like. But
as James West spins in his grave, resourceful Scouts will always be able to
hack their way around such obstacles in the spirit of their great-great
grandfathers and the roots of Scouting in 1910.
Readers are reminded that War Kites are only TWO of the FIFTY kites
designed by that Radical Old Buckskin Man, Dan Beard.
For those without browsers I offer (without apology) some of Beard's notes
on the two styles of War Kites in question:
"Armed Kites are of a more relentless and bloodthirsty order than the
strategic unarmed warrior. The peculiar mission of these rampant champions
of the air is to cut the enemy off from his base of supplies; then with a
satisfied wriggle, and a fiendish wag of the tail, this ferocious flyer
sails serenely on, while his ruined victim falls helplessly to the earth,
or ignominiously hangs himself a some uncongenial tree, where his skeleton
will struggle and swing until beaten to pieces by the very element that
sustained him in his elevation before his thread of life was cut. In this
sport, new to most Northern boys, they will find an exciting and healthy
Pastime, one that will teach them to think and act quickly, a quality that
when acquired may be of infinite service to them in after years."
"The usual form of the unarmed fighting kite is that of the ordinary bow
"In fighting with this unarmed soldier the object is to capture your
opponent's kite by entangling its tail in your own string. To do this you
must make your kite dart under the twine of your enemy. As soon as it
darts let out string rapidly enough to keep your fighter under control, and
at the same time allow it to fall to the rear of the other kite. Having
accomplished this, drop your ball of string and pull in hand over hand, as
fast as possible.
"If your enemy is not very spry and well up in these tactics, this maneuver
rams-re will hopelessly entangle his kite-tail on your string. Then,
although the battle is half won, a great deal depends upon your superior
quickness, skill, and also upon the strength of your twine which may break,
or your victim may escape with the loss of part of its tail. If, however,
you are successful in capturing your prisoner you can write on your kite
the date of the victory, and the name of the vanquished warrior.
"The captive must, in all cases, be returned to its proper owner after the
latter has signed his name to the record of his defeat written upon your
kite. Thus is the successful hero soon covered with the records of his
victories, while the unsuccessful fighter carries a bare blank face."
Yours in Scouting,