Week 41: Hojojutsu
We continue our discovery of hojōjutsu 捕縄術 from week 40 to look in the second category of techniques: honnawa 本縄 (main rope). Once the prisoners have been captured, we need more secured ties to restrict them for a longer period of time, and transport them from one location to another. Back in the edo period, there were different schools, each with their different patterns. They were keeping the patterns secret so the enemy wouldn’t know how to release themselves from the ties. Sadly this secrecy caused a lot of the knowledge to be lost with time. There are still some very interesting documentation of ties that can be studied to peak into the diversity from these days. Different ties had different meaning, depending on who was tied, and the crime for which they were arrested. The excess of rope was generally a daisy chain to be used as a leash like we explored in Day 207. 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.
The goal of this week is to study the great variety of honnawa ties to find techniques and patterns that can be used to inspire more modern ties.
- Day 281: Diamond – The vast majority of the honnawa ties create a diamond by tying the neck, each arms and the wrists together in a box tie position. Experiment with different starting points and different techniques to tie different variations.
- Day 282: More Diamonds – More elaborate honnawa ties featured more diamonds, some had several cuffs on the arms to create multiples diamonds in the back (with an X shape). Others create diamonds both in the front and in the back. Explore how you can use and combine these techniques.
- Day 283: Cross – Tying the wrists directly to the neck in a straight line create a more restrictive tie. Adding the arms in will increase the restriction and create a cross shape. Try different methods to create a cross shape tie. For exemple you can tie the shape directly, you can also make a loose diamond shape and reshape it into a cross to increase restriction progressively.
- Day 284: Minimal – There were many documented honnawa ties that used very little rope. Tying directly the wrists to the neck, binding fingers together. Try out different ways to make a restrictive tie with very little rope.
- Day 285: Boat transport – To help prisoners keep their balance, they were tied in a different way when traveling by boat. The demon tie position from Day 110 was a way to do this. These ties usually attach the waist, the elbows and wrists on each side to secure the position. Explore how different arm positions influence balance. Do you think it is possible to have an inescapable tie that you can swim in?
- Day 286: Arm positions – Even if the vast majority of the honnawa ties are box tie position, find other body positions in hojojutsu litterature and try out those ties.
- Day 287: Disapearing Ties – Using daisy chain techniques allows to create ties that can be untied by simply pulling on the rope. These were used to easily get the rope back after an execution or to exchange prisoners without divulging the pattern. By walking straigth forward with someone holding the rope, the tie can progressively untie itself. Try out different disapearing tie design and remove the rope by pulling in different ways.
- Fujita Seiko – Zukai Torinawajutsu p60 PDF
- Torinawa Hoen Ryuu copy of 1893 document by Nuitdetoyko (see text below the picture)
- Hojojutsu by Richard Cleaver on Japanese Rope Art
Next: Bamboo Exploration