Rope Play Top 4
Updated: Jan 30
Jokes about what is the right way to tie, or what is or isn’t twue rope aside. I love tying in lots of different ways sitting down in learning mode and working out a tie is great, not sexy but great fun and very rewarding. I love doing circus rope for shows and I also love shows that play to a more devoted rope audience where I can take more time and really get into some depth with the show I also enjoy doing scenes at parties or events in public. But my favourite rope is the unplanned scene at home, where I can take my time and everything is set up for me, tatami on the floor, toys, points and bamboo, and all the other fun stuff I have. But mostly I love the energy or sitting down with someone and getting into their head, working out what makes them tick and then using that to take them to the edge and back repeatedly.
The other night I had a small intermediate class, just one student and our models, so I asked what he would like to learn, he said play rope, partial suspensions etc. Great I thought, lets have some fun 🙂 So over the next two hours I basically did a scene with my model, in the end there were a few key points I thought I’d share.
For me using skills that are at the unconscious competence level is really important for good play, that’s not to say that all my skills have to be at that level, just the ones I need for the scene. The reason is simple, it means I’m focused on my model not on the “How” of tying, and because my attention stays on them, I pick up on all that small detail, all the little movements, expressions and sounds that that allow me to totally present with them and playing in a way that is tuned to exactly where they are at. Also a model will know the moment their rigger’s attention drifts, thing just feel different and a lot of models feel “abandoned” when their partner’s focus shifts, that is ok in academic rope or in a show but in more intimate rope it has a really negative effect.
With rope especially it’s really important to me to understand how the body moves and to be aware of where problems are likely to come from. So one thing I look for as I move a person’s body is that point where the resistance to movement ramps up, which normally means I’ve reached the end of travel for that movement, it means I have to be careful and very aware if I push further. The other side of body mechanics is the idea of elegant movement of a model, ways of lifting them or moving them that is graceful and not just using brute force, the end result is that the model has a smooth experience and doesn’t feel the need to “take control back”, any jarring movement for instance can shake the model’s confidence albeit briefly, the result is them stiffening up and making things harder on me and they get shaken out of their “space”. This was something that Yukimura sensei was very big on and I gained a lot of good floorwork skills from him.
As I already mentioned, being able to stay “present” with with my model allows me to pick up on all the little signs the give off telling me about their state of mind and how they are experiencing what I’m doing with them. Without that information I’m flying blind and run the risk of doing rope “at” them rather than “with” them. To me rope, and in fact all play, is a conversation, a shared communication and part of that is listening, otherwise it’s just a lecture and lets face it lectures tend to be boring and impersonal, not concepts that make for an enjoyable scene.
This is to some degree the big one, and it’s a really difficult one. I once had intuition described to me as the subconscious mind letting our conscious mind know what it thinks about what is going on. It’s the subconscious mind picking up on all the little thing, sounds, body language, speech patterns and a million other tiny details that we could never process consciously and letting our conscious minds know by giving us that “feeling”. The hard part is learning to listen or at least it has been for me 🙂