First the unpopular bit.

The trouble with online video tutorials for bondage ties is that they’re only really useful to people who can already tie.

I have often likened this in classes as to being like learning to drive from a map. You’re shown the route but cannot be shown any feel, be given any tactile feedback, and cannot spot anything a student might be mistaken about. So my view is that the only people who can really make use of them are people who can already tie very well.

There are things I think should not be included in on-line tutorials that are made generally available.

The that are made generally available bit is important. For instance I have tutorial videos that are available to students who I know have the skills and judgement necessary to make use of them in an intelligent and reasoned way. I also know that they will ask if they have a problem or any doubt about what they’re seeing. Videos are a very useful way to share or transfer information. They’re not good however for learning as a stand alone resource especially for advanced ties or for topics like suspension.

Obviously I can’t know everyone, so I can’t say these 175,000 people can see this video and this other 355,982 can see this video. That would be impossible. But as a responsible educator I can’t just throw out all information of absolutely any level to anyone. How do I know that person 279,645 is as responsible as person 133,208? I just can’t. So even though there may be people out there that can use advanced information safely, unless I actually know them it’s irresponsible for any educator to just release information into the blue and just hope.

In many ways it’s a shame, as this is an adult activity and we should be able to treat people as responsible adults, who will proceed with due caution, realistically assess their own abilities and refrain from doing anything rash or unwise. We should be able to but I think we all know the world well enough to know that this simply isn’t the case and no amount of wishful thinking will make it so.

Even to the very, very simplest things with video tutorials people can and do get it wrong, completely, and even more frighteningly not eve know that they have got it wrong.

Here’s a real life example from my own experience…
In the lead up to a bondage class I asked that the people attending learn two knots. Just two knots. They had several weeks in order to do this. They were very simple knots. Each one could be tied in just a few seconds.  I provided links to videos showing how both knots were constructed and invited anyone having a problem to contact me just in case they had any kind of problem at all learning from the videos or found them in any way unclear. I wanted them to learn these basic knots so that we didn’t have to waste time in the class (time that they’d paid for) learning these very basic knots. So they had a reasonable incentive to get these knots learned.

Nobody out of the 30 or so people sent the links contacted me to say they had any kind of problem.

Bearing in mind that they had several weeks to prepare and learning these two knots was the only preparation asked of them and given that these were very basic knots; what proportion of those people would you guess could correctly tie the two knots in the same was as shown in the videos? I wont actually put the number here but I’d be interested to know what people guess. I’ll give you a clue though, it was less than 30 and I did indeed end up spending an amount of time teaching these knots.

Now given that example (and it’s by no means the only one I have) of how well people who are going to a class, are financially invested in spending the time well, learn a very basic thing from a video tutorial what confidence would you have in say someone learning a TK and suspension techniques from video tutorials?

Now the even more unpopular bit.

Not everyone is the same. There are, I have no doubt some exceptional individuals who could learn from videos and make quite a decent fist of it, who could apply sense to their learning, who could exercise judgement and due caution. Exceptional individuals who will work through things patiently and in order of difficulty. But that’s the thing, they’re exceptional, they are not! Very, very much not, the majority of people.

Think about human nature, now… who thinks that everyone will really work through lots of preliminary information and safety articles and… and… before trying progressively ordered simple ties each with something to teach the rigger and work patiently through the materials…. and who things a whole bunch of people will go right for the nice impressive looking tie and give that a go right off?

If you make advanced tutorials available publicly on-line then anyone might make use of them regardless of their intelligence, level of responsibility or ability to judge risk or their own skills objectively. Should advanced bondage tutorials be made available to these people? Because if you do make them available publicly then you absolutely do make them available to the last person you would think should have access to them.

If you care about teaching well, if you care about being a responsible educator, if you care about the people who learn from you and very especially if you care about what happens to the people who get tied up by the people making use of this information they you surely must have reservations about the wisdom of making advanced information publicly available.

Arguments.

I have seen many arguments in favour of putting up advanced information on-line. “But I can’t get to a teacher“, “But I can’t afford a teacher“, “But I don’t want to pay those prices“, “But information wants to be free” etc. and I’m sure there are other reasonable sounding things people could come up with. These things are unfortunate for those people but they are not arguments for me personally to put up information I know will not be used responsibly by some.

If you personally are one of those people (well one of the first two) then I’m sorry, maybe you’re a reasonable responsible person. But if you are then I think you will also see the reason I feel the way that I do.

Personally.

Between me and my conscience I cannot find any justification for putting up publicly available information that I know for a fact will be improperly learned, misused to the point of dangerousness and could completely foreseeably lead to injury.

I love Shibari/Kinbaku/Japanese style (however you want to call it) bondage, I really care about being a good educator, I really care about what my students take away from classes. I have loved seeing the way that Shibari/Kinbaku/Japanese style… (you get the picture) has risen in popularity recently. Some great new riggers have come along, some terrible ones too it has to be said but, overall it’s been fantastically good. I want to see that continue, I want to be part of that continuing. I get so much of a kick out of seeing people getting something new from their bondage. I’ve seen a few improve so dramatically and loved it as it’s taken over their lives and seen them pour themselves into their work. I have been proud to be a part of their learning and their journeys. I want all of that to continue and for it to continue I believe that I must as an educator pass on information in a responsible fashion.

Others may feel differently but that is between them and their consciences, this is between me and mine.