Day 3: Improvisation
A single column tie and basic frictions are plenty to work with. Improvising with rope is a great way to discover simple and efficient bondage positions. It is also a fantastic tool to get close to your partner and explore your own creativity.
One Rope Improvisation
Wrap the body with rope, tie with the flow, untie, tie again, try something new every time. Simple techniques facilitate complete focus on the moment. The Japanese terms ipponnawa 一本縄 (one rope) or ichinawa 一縄 (best rope) are often used to describe this technique.
One rope improvisations are great to create a feeling of intimacy. Tying in unexpected ways allows for a wide range of interaction, and physical contact. Make sure to discuss what kind of touching and what parts of the body are good to tie on before starting to improvise.
Take your time, avoid rope on the front of the neck and keep rope loose near joints. The possibilities are endless, let your creativity guide you!.
Try some rope improvisation using a single column tie and frictions. One rope only!
- Try different starting points: the wrist, ankle, waist, etc.
- Move the body in different positions. Which ones are your favourite?
- Use friction to tie other parts of the body. Which friction is the best for this context?
- Focus on the untying, how can you make this moment feel like the most important?
- Discuss with your partner afterward which part of the session felt the best and why. If you are tying solo, you can write down your thoughts.
Being Tied: The Sway – sansblague
When someone puts rope on you, the movement of the rope often invites small movements in your body. Even if you would be aiming for stillness, there would almost inevitably be a slight sway back and forth, especially if you are sitting or standing. No matter how you are positioned during the exercise, observe how you handle the sway. Are you letting the pull from the rope move you in the direction that the rope goes, or are you giving counter tension by leaning the other direction, or both? There is no right or wrong here, but your way of treating the movement might actually facilitate different ways of tying. Generally speaking, if you follow the pull of the rope, that is an invitation to the other to support your body more. If, on the other hand, you supply the counter tension yourself, the one who is tying you doesn’t need to touch you to stabilize you. You might like it in different ways depending on the situation, and so might the person tying you. There are also ways of making one or the other happen without a verbal exchange, and the difference between the two can be initiated from both the person tying and the one being tied. If you want, you can take a common moment to explore these possibilities inside the frame of the one rope improvisation.
Tying: Letting go / Let the rope make the decisions for you – Butterfly Bondage
During tying, it’s tempting to focus a lot on mastering techniques and specific ties. You want to build knowledge, and be sure of what you’re doing. But there’s another side to this coin: if you keep working like this, you’ll focus a lot on planning ahead. What to tie next, and how to get that structure right. Let’s call this the ‘engineering mind’.
What would happen if you’d let go of this ‘mode of operating’? It’s interesting to tie in a way that I’d call “letting the rope lead me.” So basically, you don’t plan ahead. You wrap a rope around your partner, then make a completely random friction, and from that specific friction, it’s always most logical to continue in a certain direction or angle. So you follow the direction that the rope is leading you, and continue from there. You wrap again, make a random friction, and follow the rope’s lead. And repeat. Simple, and an excellent way to enjoy rope, without having to think or plan. This can be a way to more connection and energetic intimacy between your partner and yourself. Try it.
Paradox of patterns and presence – Andy Buru
One of the greatest challenges of learning rope is the paradox of patterns and presence. Many agree that rope is about the communication between people and that requires the mind to be focused on the present, ongoing dialogue. But the mind can easily slip away into analyzing what happened in the past or trying to predict what might happen in the future. Remembering a pattern forces the mind into the past while imagining how the tie will finally look forces the mind into the future. This creates a disturbance in the present ongoing dialogue because the rigger will be more present in communicating with the pattern than their partner. Of course, we need patterns to learn. It is an important part of how we spread knowledge within the rope community. This is the paradox.
Writing this text and suggesting exercises in the coming chapters I want to invite you to spend some time on just being present with your partner. To watch the tie unfold itself to you rather than you forcing a pre-decided pattern onto the tie. Remember that a pattern is a good servant but a poor master. Eventually, as you learn a pattern (or rather the building blocks of a pattern) it will become a part of your muscle memory. Once that happens, try tying with your mind present on your partner for example by eye-gazing or focused synchronized breathing. It is always a good habit to regularly check in with your mind and see what is present right now – the dialogue with your partner, the pattern, or something else.
We will explore more of these concepts in Week 12.
Inspirations and Resources
- Sensual Bondage With One Rope by Shibari Study
- Ichinawa (ippon-nawa/1 rope) technique: Esinem & Ika Noire
- Ichinawa, Ippon me no nawa and One rope by Wykd_Dave
- Photo by MissLee210
Credit: Pictures – M: Kale R: Ebi McKnotty