Listen to the story of the left handshake (short story)
Aim of Badge To practice traditional Guiding skills
This Badge has 17 options of which 4 must be completedIntroduction
Learn about the origin of the tradition of the left handshake within Guiding and Scouting
Our Scout and Guide salute and handshake are ancient signs of bravery and respect. The normal right-hand handshake comes from the times when men carried weapons such as swords or guns for their own protection. When they met one another, there was an uneasy moment as each watched the other's right hand. If it went to his sword or gun, there was a battle, but if it went to his hat it was a salute of friendship or respect.
The handshake is similar - outstretching your right hand shows it is empty and you are friendly.
The left-hand shake comes to us from the Ashanti warriors whom Baden-Powell met long ago in Africa. He saluted them with his right hand, but the Ashanti chieftain offered his left hand and said: 'In our land only the bravest of the brave shake hands with the left hand, because to do so we must drop our shields and our protection.