Monthly Archives: July 2012

Rope Practice Diary-New Objectives

Still catching up with backlog. 

A couple of months ago I wrote down a couple of objectives for the ropes; what I wanted to focus on in order to develop my ropework. I guess it is time to evaluate and develop new objectives as the time goes on. (see previous post)
The objectives then were:

Muscle memory to solidify foundational elements
Visualisation-  why I do what I do and think constructively about the ties.
Connection- was a questionmark then.

The main objectives on the foundations, especially in regards to the TK and Kinoko hip harness was to tie this with a focus on getting it right, tensions, placement and consistency. I’m most pleased with how the development of learning the Kinoko harness has worked out, both in my hands and in my mind. I understand why I want to do what I do with the harness, tying it goes smoother and smoother and more often than not, placement and tensions work out on the person I’m tying it on, which to be fair, is the most important bit. Every once in a while I tie it slowly, slowly, in order to keep track of myself and not getting into any bad habits. Slowly does it also for the TK. Back then I thought I was going to focus on the three rope TK, but in reality, it is the 2 rope TK that has been getting most of the attention, and it has really improved. But in the same time I’ve noticed tying the ‘third rope’ is still somewhat hesitant and not at all as smooth and efficient as it can be. Thus; the third rope will get much more attention now, especially in regards to muscle memory and efficiency of movement. I want to be able to use it if I need to, as well as exploring a couple of other versions of it, but for now, focus will be placed on the third rope. Same thing here, tying slowly but with effiency. After a couple of good pointers from Peter Slemrian, I think I’m going to head in the right direction when it comes to this, especially in regards to a couple of tiny movements of the fingers which will improve the flow.

Speaking of Peter Slemrian and his advice; I have finally a game plan for smoother sailing on my suspension lines. For some time I’ve felt like I have fumbled too much, had far too messy lines and felt line handling being somewhat laborous when it should not. The last couple of weeks I’ve been extra attentive when it has come to this; avoiding or cleaning up the mess and still being secure, but it wasn’t until the past weekend when Peter saw me tie and then pointed out how I was actually working against myself and making it more difficult than it really is that I had some practical tips that I can move forward with. Now there is something I can do on my own, and that is to practice handling my suspensionline. In this I will utilise the technique he demonstrated and made me test, over and over again. Extra attention towards not pulling the rope through the half hitch towards me, but pass me, like it is driving by. Also, being precise and a bit more thorough with the second half hitch will make me feel more comfortable, rather than stressing around.

After the workshops with Kazami Ranki, I have tried to really remember what he told me, which was essentially that I needed to relax a bit more. “Quick hands, slow heart”. This is the next thing to focus on, but not speed for speeds sake,but to rest into what ever it is that I, to mentally focus and trust that which is in front of me. Have a long road to travel on this one, and it will probably be a part of the overall objective for all the rope work. But it is a good one to hang on to.

A challenge just received from when I went across the Atlantic is to start to dare to move away a bit more. Cannon and I was discussing rigging styles and asked each other in what ways our rigging would improve. He asked me to try to step back a bit, to not always be right up close and I think there is something there. As much as closeness is important, I need to remember that it is not about vincinity but intimacy. If I work properly, the rope is the link, not my direct body. Indirectly he reminded me of that, hope the rope is the link, or the conduit; let it do it’s work. Rest into it, take a step away; create some space around the bottom, or even hesitation. Did exactly this in a session last weekend, actually as a start of a tie, standing and waiting behind the rope bottom almost in the other end of the room. Rest assured I will continue having this in mind as it produced very interesting results.

Last but not least, I want to work on angles. For this, I will go back to the classic yoko zuri, the Osada Ryu style, rather than the Kinoko style. The one which has the hip harness is spectacular from so many perspectives, but I found myself becoming lazy and not thinking enough about levels and angles in suspensions. It is easy to do something quite random, but I need to develop a better eye if there is something special I wish to achieve with this. So I will play around with and see how different angles in the side suspension work on the bottom.
To sum up I shall focus on:
The third rope on the TK (efficiency and stability)
Better control on my suspensionlines
Quicker hands, a slow and focussed heart
Playing with connection that is not based on actual vincinity- daring to take a couple of steps back.
Yoko zuri- levels and angles bootcamp.

All with the same engagement in tying it slowly and really focus on intent and how come I do things. At this time, I’m just happy to be back on track :)

Rope practice Diary-Objectives I

So objectives change. This was my first one I wrote back in October perhaps. Things were not really good then on many levels, but tried to have something to focus on.

Dear Diary..,.

I try to keep myself a bit busy, try to keep going with that which is important. One of those things is to practice,practice,practice. Today Bambi Kiss and I have had our second practice session together and is keeping on top of our diaries in order to make them regular for the coming weeks as well, which feels good. It is so easy to get comfortable and sizzle out,
This diary is for me to keep track of what we go through, what we think about it and stuff for me to remember. I don’t know if it will always be published here as I still try to catch up with 10 blogposts but hey.

My general objective for 2011 (what is left of it) is to rope my ass off… D’oh. But on a more concrete level I wish to focus on:

*Muscle memory to continue to solidify the foundational elements, to put them further and deeper into my fingers and my spine. Slowing down and being thorough (speed for speeds sake is not that interesting anyway, technique and movement more so). Especially in regards to the 3rTK and hip harnesses (to begin with!), but also about the macro-elements of efficient movements and really push my fingers and body to utilise skills learned. Knowing is not enough, doing gets you further.

*Visualisation: Where do I want to go together with the person I am tying? Some people might add a ‘how would I do that?’ to that part, my I’m not sure at all that is included here, as the road we take quite often diverge into other paths less expected and it is not something I want to exclude.

*Concretizise: thoroughly think about the elements of ties, about what they consist of, and why they consist of this.

*Connection? This is a tricky one. Both me and Bambi know that practice is practice. We do have a good baseline and have done a connection based scene or two. Furthermore, it is easy to slip into elements of play while practising, no wonder. But I have also made it clear that my head space right now is one which is very untoppy, with an element of the dominant side of me being burned out due to outside circumstances. Just to think about a connection driven scene makes me shake and cry, miss his skin, the scent, the way in which he moves. I can’t and I wont go there unless the situation itself materialise as such. Not now. Not yet.

There, that’s about it.


Languages of rope

Backlogs finally being posted here. Have not felt like writing that much nor have had the time. But am now looking forward to put up some of the backlogs as well as perhaps starting to write on other stuff. Hopefully, I will be able to move away from the complete rope focus in some time a head and find my way back to some of the queer politics. 

Nawakiri Shin, a dear friend of mine, translated something I wrote a while ago into  into Chinese and put it on his website. Sooner or later this is going to make me big-headed, but for now I mostly feel very happy and honoured about seeing my writing being spread to a completely different audience.
You can read it here if you are interested in Chinese, the original English one a bit further down in this post. But first I would like to muse a bit on language..

It is strange though, how passions can transgress any written or spoken language; tying with someone who does not speak the languages I know have never been a problem. But when it comes down to speaking, writing, exchange of words, it gets trickier. There is so much knowledge out there, so much love for what we do, but language barriers sometimes prevents the sharing of this. But people like Shin or NuitDeTokyo, as well as internet and technology, is slowly changing this. Because you know what? I think we want to interact, in one way or another. We want to know more, feel more, live more to varying degrees.

Language can also be about privilege. Who can speak what, which language is favoured and how does it act towards those who do not speak? In opening up and making sure that many voices are heard, listened to and interacted with, we can destabilise defaults and connect with each other.

Comparing rope as a language to the written or spoken word, I can sometimes find that one has more possibilities than the other, but they are not mutually exclusive. We need to do more rope, to listen more to each other, let images inspire but also words and actions of those who we admire. Rope is a language of the body, neither neutral or always objective, but always evolving and ever changing. I want to be the same, to strive not for perfection or becoming ‘better’, not a goal orientated vision of what we can do with ourselves, our bodies and our minds, but one in which we seek to understand each other more, respect and admire and learn because of learning itself. The journey you know?

Time for me to stop rambling. Thank you for reading. And thank you Nawakiri Shin for translating, FrenchLibertine for being an awesome rope partner, and Jenis for taking the wonderful photos:

I was tying with French Libertine again, but it was a different occasion than usual. Jenis had kindly offered to take some photos and even kinder was Esinem, who let us work in his wonderful studio. I wanted to do some floorwork, and some partials, as I felt ready to move like that with rope again, focussing less on the technical. And to be honest, it was great spending the Valentines with people I adore, and doing stuff which is great. Before I got there, sitting on the bus, I had an idea in my head about creating something visual in the same time as getting really close. To work in that studio also added tons of feeling to it, with its decor and the tatami flooring. If you have never heard the sound of rope and tatami, I can only try to describe it.
Rope for me will always be more than just yarn. It has so many specific properties, and when you find the perfect rope and tying together with someone, nothing is as good as exploring all the elements of it. You know that sound when you snap a coil open? How it sounds when it passes through your hands? The creaks when it is pulled tightly, the sound when it reacts to its own tension. When you have rope and bodies over a tatami mat, or wooden floor, it is like an orchestra. Kneeling on the tatami mat, that is the slow tap on the stand which the conductor do to signal that we are about to start. The conductor, her body, and the bodies of the orchestra; the rope bottom, the environment around them. Then, we have the overture, slowly building something up, the strings working, the bass setting a baseline and a first inkling of a perhaps reoccuring tune; the sound which characterises not just the overture, but how the whole piece will move you.

After having kneeled on the floor, my tapping on the stand consisted of focussing on a point just above the shoulders, watching first if there was any tension, then my right palm between her shoulders, to feel. In those moments, I had captured her attention, allowing her to rest into the tunes, her feeding the notes back to me. A slow shudder, she took a deep breath; in and out. And I could not help but to prolong that moment, you know the moment when the conductor has tapped in for attention and up to the point she lowers their hands to mark the beginning of the overture. No hurry, just anticipation. I took a deep breathe in, as I pulled the first rope towards me, and unsnap the coil is next to her ear. She shudders at the sound, that very Pavlovian response. The first rope is felt, before it even touched her skin. And then it did. Traced over her shoulder, then over her chest. A simple TK, tying it with tactility, not forgetting about technique but working more on tempo and what is underneath the ropes and in them, rather than the ropes themselves.

Her body provided me with cues, like a lead violinist and her string, the conductor conducts but also moves with that lead, the almost extravagant body language of the lead violinist, so that the rest of the strings can follow. But then, looking at the pictures from the session, when I finalised the TK with a wrap between the breasts, I was looking at the rope, rather than her. I actually did not realise I was doing that. On one level I can really understand why and where it comes from; having that focus on the ropes the last couple of months makes you look at the ropes more than the person. I’m slowly coming out of that headspace, and looking forward to it. All along while tying, the rope moved across the tatami, across her body, the rest of the music piece came out, intense sounds and small thumps.Having finished the TK, I continued towards creating the visual element. Tying her leg, tightly, but not really resisting the urge to close my mouth around her knee. The French Libertine let out a small whimper.
As I continued a quite simple partial, I kind of forgot the camera, but kept focus on my rope-bottom, and the vision in front of me. Watching the photos, I think I have now learned one thing; get my arse out of the way. Not being used to creating visual images for someone who takes photos, I did what I usually do; being very close, moving around a lot. That does not really work, if one wants to create images with a focus on the rope bottom and the rope.

Having finished the leg tie, I then did some rope in the face, as well as pulling the other leg backwards, making the partial more demanding. And when we had finished I remembered how much I love tying like this. There will be more to come. But if there is someone with a camera, I’ll just have to remember to be every now and again step away.


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