- Associated Press - Friday, October 24, 2014

EVERETT, Wash. (AP) - What is the sound of one hand clapping?

If said hand claps 403 times per minute, enough for an Everett teen to set a Guinness World Record, does it matter what it sounds like?

Actually, yes, said Karsten Mohn, who explained that when he set the record June 14, every clap had to be registered by two pressure-sensitive microphones to be counted toward the total.

Karsten, a freshman at Cascade High School, was notified in August his record-breaking attempt had been certified.

Last week he found his attempt was eligible for Guinness’ “Fan Choice” award of the week. If his feat garners more votes than four others, it will be entered into a competition for the year.

When Karsten gets going, with either one or both hands, his forearms flail and his fingers blur into invisibility, even while the rest of him stays still. Sort of like a less exuberant Kermit the Frog.

It sounds like fingersnapping at the pace of a machine gun.

It should also be noted that Karsten, 14, has rather long fingers.

“That helps, actually,” he said.

His “clapping” motion is in the forearm, which he flicks quickly forward and back, causing his lax fingers to slap into the palm of his hand.

His practice sessions involved doing 10- second reps at the rate he’d need to break the existing record, then advancing to 20-second reps, 30-second reps and then full-minute sessions.

His mother, Rachel Mohn, said Karsten has always shaking or flailing his hands, ever since he was a toddler.

“One day we were talking about ‘What’s Karsten really good at?’ Well, there’s this,” she said. Karsten said he doesn’t remember that conversation but did say that he would clap his hands whenever he got excited.

What gets him excited? Math, Rachel Mohn said.

“I’d see him do it at home doing homework because he loves math. It’s like an explosion of positive energy.”

He didn’t even know one-handed clapping had a name, much less that there was a world record for it, until looking it up online earlier this year.

The record at the time was 349 times per minute, held by Pabba Soujanya, of India - until Karsten came along. Soujanya still holds the record for most consecutive one-handed claps: 1,233.

Karsten said he’s a straight-A student, “if that’s worth anything.” He’s also in the school’s marching band drumline, participates in Village Theatre’s KidStage program (he was in three plays last summer, including “Footloose,” ”Bye, Bye Birdie” and “Shrek”), and is enrolled in the theater’s intensive Institute program.

“I consider myself a theater, band and choir kid,” Karsten said.

Post-record, Karsten isn’t sure what’s next (“Hope no one beats it,” he offered), but he has a full plate. He hasn’t given much thought yet to post-high-school life.

“I’m considering pastoring,” he said, which would be following in the footsteps of his father, Jason Mohn, who is the lead pastor at First Covenant Church. “Or maybe something in theater or drumming,” he said.

Karsten notes that he’s a pretty good two-handed clapper as well. “I’d like to encourage all the young people out there to find out what you’re good at and go for it,” he said.

Meantime, some things won’t change.

“What do you with a Guinness record holder? Does he get a special place at the dinner table?” Rachel Mohn said. “He still has to pick up the dog poop from the back yard.”

___

Information from: The Daily Herald, http://www.heraldnet.com

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