Log kneeling

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Langenhäuser Schuldisciplin (1795) - in the foreground, a boy is kneeling on a log for punishment.
Lancasters Strafen (1826) - in the left foreground, a boy kneels on a log for punishment, wearing a dunce cap.

Log kneeling is a type of corporal punishment that was used up to the end of the 19th century in parts of Europe such as Germany, Switzerland or Austria (Holzscheitknien, Scheitlknien). It was used by teachers in schools as a variant to other forms of punishment such as spanking, corner time, or donkey riding/wearing of a donkey cap.


A triangular log of wood (in the simplest case, such as those used for firewood; in other cases one specifically made for this purpose) was placed on the classroom floor and the student was made to kneel on it. The edge of the log would made the kneeling a painful ordeal. The point of contact was normally just below the knee. What made it worse was that boys would often not wear long trousers but shorts, so their knees were bare.

The student was instructed to maintain an upright posture, either sitting on his heels, or in a genuflecting pose with his bottom raised. The latter variant was more painful because it put more weight on the knees. He was not to get up or to use his hands to ease his position. The teacher would continue his lesson; after some time, when he decided the punishment was enough, he would permit the student to raise and to return to his seat.

As an alternative to the log, sometimes the delinquent student was made to kneel on a pile of pebbles or dried peas, or on a kind of wooden grid. Kneeling on a broom handle is another method once used in European homes and schools. Some devout Catholics also pray while kneeling in a pile of uncooked rice as an act of self-abasement.

Corporal Punishment films[edit]

The spanking video from Lupus Pictures Too Many Fathers features a scene with a young girl forced to kneel on a triangular log. (Complete film available for viewing online at xHamster.)

See also[edit]