Rope has been used to restraint prisoners in various cultures, sometimes as rope based martial art. One of the most famous of these is hojōjutsu 捕縄術, a rope based martial art from Japan. The different techniques are usually divided in two groups, hayanawa 早縄 (fast rope) and honnawa 本縄 (main rope). Hayanawa is a group of techniques to quickly capture the opponent, these are supposed to be fast to tie and focus on efficiency. Once a prisoner has been captured, honnawa techniques use more secured ties to restrict them for a longer period of time. Unlike modern bondage, not only are these techniques risky, they actually put the rope in dangerous places on purpose. We have to be mindful of the risks as we explore this topic.

The Edo period (1603-1867) is considered the golden age of hojōjutsu. It then faded in popularity until WWII when a few published documents revived the interest in this martial art. With the lack of documentation of erotic uses of hojōjutsu, it is considered as an indirect ancestor of Japanese rope bondage. That said, many important rope artists have studied hojōjutsu and included some of their discoveries in their craft and so can you!

The goal of this week is to try different techniques from rope based martial arts like hojōjutsu to discover how we can adapt and integrate them in our bondage practice.

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Day 281: Capture – The first step is to capture the opponent. One basic techniques is to tie a lark’s head on our own wrist and transfer it after grabbing the opponent. For a resisting opponent, reverse tension can be used to release the arms. Historical documents showcase other fun ideas to explore like adding hooks or weights to the rope end and using the rope as a lasso.

Day 282: Control – In order to control the prisoners, most hojōjutsu ties rely on controlling the wrists, the arms and the neck. The safety of those ties can be questionable, it was the responsibility of the prisoner to stay calm and avoid incidents. Capturing a prisoner quickly meant not trying to specific a pattern, but improvise as the fight was happening. Try restricting the body in an improvised way, change starting point and order of which you capture each limbs. For bonus restraint, the feet and part of the clothing can be added to the tie.

Day 283: Secure – Once the prisoner is under control. More secure ties can be assembled in order to be less escapable and hold in place with movement. Some of these ties looked loose but would tighten up if the prisoner tried to escape. Try to reproduce of the honnawa ties from the references and explore in creating ties that are simple yet solid and restrictive.

Just like with the hayanawa ties, most ties involved tying the neck and targeting exposed nerves, adjust the ties when needed, avoid struggling and keep your cutting tool close.

Day 284: Hidden Meaning – Different ties were used depending on who was tied and the crimes for which they were arrested. It was considered very shameful to be tied using secured knots, therefore many patterns used open frictions to preserve the prisoner’s dignity depending on their rank and if they had admitted to their crimes yet.

Each school had their own patterns as a signature, making it difficult for opponents to learn to escape. For the same reason, most of the complexity was hidden in the back so other groups had a hard time seeing and learning their patterns.

Have a try at some of the honnawa ties and look up the meaning of the tie. Explore with classic patterns like diamonds (hishi), hexagons (kikkou) and cross (jūmonji). Different position of hands also had different meaning. Explore the different sensations of the patterns to find what meaning you have for these ties.

Day 285: Transport – To bring the prisoners to their new destination (usually a prison), most of the honnawa ties finished with a leash. One technique was to coil that leash in a chain sinnet (Day 207) so that if they tried to escape, they could gain a bit of speed before being stopped, using their strength against them. Somes ties were designed to transport prisoners more easily such as tying the hands to the sides so it would be easier to keep their balance on a boat. Create a tie to transport your partner around the house using a chain leash. Explore how different arm positions affect walking and balance.

Day 286: Tie Over Tie – Once your opponent is controlled, you can tie a more formal and solid pattern over the quick capture tie. Remove the original capture rope once the structure is tied. Try your favorite box tie on someone already tied with a capture rope. How does it feel to remove the capture rope under the existing tie?

Day 287: Disappearing Ties – The chain sinnet principle can be used to create ties that can be untied by simply pulling on the tail. These were used to get the rope back more easily after an execution or to exchange prisoners without divulging the pattern. By walking straight forward with someone holding the rope, the tie can progressively untie itself. Try out different disappearing tie designs and try creating your own.


Inspirations and Resources

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Credit: Banner, disappear M: Quainty R/P: Ebi McKnotty – Capture M: Pixiegurly R/M: ClosedEyesSeeing P: Ebi McKnotty – Secure, Hidden meaning M: IndigoFey R/P: Ebi McKnotty – Tie over tie M: Miss Soffia R/P: Ebi McKnotty