It’s all about (monomania in the rope bondage scene)

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It’s all about (monomania in the rope bondage scene)

The longer you’re around the bondage scene the more you notice the ebb and flow of trends within the scene.

One of the current fads is ‘connection‘ you see people doing classes all over that never apparently worried about this area of their bondage before. I see people who have displayed nothing but an obsession with technique applaud those touting ‘connection is all you need‘.

When I see posts of that nature I think ‘yes but it might be handy to at least know how not to cripple your partner‘ rather than just saying ‘connection is all‘.

Don’t get me wrong, connection is hugely important. I teach classes on connection. It is in my opinion absolutely central to what rope bondage is all about and always has been. In many ways it’s great that these fads turn up and people get into an aspect of bondage that they’ve previously neglected, not just this one, it’s good for everyone to keep connection in mind. Just not to the extent of thinking that it somehow removes the need to know what you’re doing.

I’d like to point out that I believe anyone tying another person is responsible to know how to take care of the person in their rope and in their care.

To give an analogy, the idea that it doesn’t matter what you do as long as you do it with emotion is one that has led to a lifetime of wasted potential for any number of musicians that felt that knowing what they were doing would somehow ‘ruin their feel‘ when the truth is that not learning was what ruined their development. I sometimes wonder how many people actually believe this kind of thing, how many simply do not think to question it and how many are just using it as an excuse for their laziness. (There have of course been many wonderful players that were not ‘classically trained’ but these without exception were very dedicated and worked incredibly hard to find their way and develop their own knowledge, none of them just relied on ‘feel‘ to the exclusion of hard work.)

While it’s nice that some people are getting away from their monomaniacal obsessions with rope types, knots technical details and realising that it is actually about people, it is alarming to see those people now saying that the only thing you need is ‘feel‘ whatever you may define that as, and that’s all with no mention of any necessary skills.

The danger of fadism is the focusing on one aspect to the exclusion of all others.

I believe that it’s never one thing or the other but that good bondage is made up of a balance of factors. It’s about connection but that doesn’t mean it’s not about skill. Yes it’s about skill but that doesn’t mean it’s not about knowledge. Yes it’s about knowledge but that doesn’t mean it’s not about connection.

I believe that it’s a balance of a combination of things. Ever shifting and changing. The idea that technique is in the way of connection is a common misapprehension. Good technique is in fact the servant of expression and it is through your ability to express yourself and so communicate with your partner that is at the root of being able to cultivate that connection.

By | 2017-03-17T09:57:17+00:00 July 16th, 2012|Bondage, Japanese, Rope|3 Comments

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  1. Mark De Viate July 16, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    I taught ‘connection’ as Erotic Rope Energy for the first time at Austin Ropecraft Symposium back in 2006. It was to the best of my knowledge the first class on ‘energy’ / ‘connection’ in those days and very much against the trend of knots and tie classes, well before suspension classes had become popular.
    Today there’s a plethora of energy classes, connection, tying people not packages type classes.
    These are the natural progression as people lean the knots and ties and suspensions to then look to become a better rigger through connecting with the rope bottom.
    To become a bondage Master, one needs to good with rope and good with people.
    Mastering rope only, or connection only means you never really become that bondage Master.

  2. meekle July 16, 2012 at 10:46 pm

    I think there is a bit of a misconception, as well; you can’t create connection, at least not effectively and safely, if you have to focus on the rope. The only way to not have to focus on the rope is if you have got the techniques and mechanics of the ties down so pat that you can do them without wasting a lot of your concentration. So a certain amount of time has to be spent learning, and even more than just learning- practicing. Repeatedly. Again and again.
    You need to practice until you earn that muscle memory. Then, yes, you need to go that step further and learn to connect. I think the reason that it’s become such a fad recently is that in large parts of the US at least, it’s a fairly new and uncommon skill. People are seeing it for the first time and being told to forget about doing any specific tie for a minute and focus on their partners. They’re misremembering the instructions as ‘forget about learning how to do technical ties entirely.’
    In my mind, the problem is that people keep trying to split the various skills up into separate easily digestible chunks: they want a class just on the structures of the ties, or a class just on tricks for speed and flow, or a class just on connection. The fact of the matter is that these are, in my opinion, inseparable- connection relies on speed and flow, at least during more complicated ties when you would start to lose it by fumbling around, speed and flow relies not just on little techniques, but on knowing the structure and mechanics of the tie and the bottom well enough that you always know what the next step is. And structure and speed without connection are fairly pointless as well.
    I imagine that it might be fairly frustrating, especially if you aren’t able to power past the beginning in an intensive block, but in my opinion the most effective way to teach is to cover the hows and whys as well as the whats when you teach any tie. Teach the form of how do you do this effectively and in an interesting way while teaching the nuts and bolts. My first teacher would make me stop, and go back, and start over again if he saw me lose tension on the rope, even briefly, when I was tying. Sure, it took me two or three days to learn how to tie a TK, rather than 2 hours (or 20 minutes the way I’ve seen it taught before), but he helped hardwire in good habits that served me well on every other tie I ever went on to do. They all came so much easier after that.
    My point is that connection needs to be taught in ever class. It should be the objective, in my opinion, that if you’ve been teaching someone well from the beginning, they probably shouldn’t need an entire separate seminar on connection. The problem is that even if we start educating people that way now, all of the people who already have the technical aspects down are still going to need those connection intensives, as that has been a very neglected aspect of bondage, in this country at least. While my point is that connection needs to be taught from the beginning, alongside structure and technique and safety, etc, I wonder if it wouldn’t be more effective to advertise connection or energy or whatever classes as advanced or at least medium level classes only, so we’re not telling a bunch of people who haven’t yet learned the hard stuff yet that they don’t need to think about the technical aspects of the ties.

    • wykd July 16, 2012 at 11:08 pm

      Sometimes I just want to teach bondage! There are so many elements to this. None of them really packages in to 90 minutes neatly.

      Beginner, intermediate or advanced are not really helpful labels either. They end up being used because strangers are coming to be taught. Yet what they think their ability is next to their actual ability is variable, good tiers tend to underestimate themselves, bad ones tend to overestimate themselves, but these are generalisations.

      To just teach bondage requires a dedicated student who will learn a variety of things over an extended period of time. And that is really rare.

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