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[icon] I survived bondage class! - Patti
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Subject:I survived bondage class!
Time:10:41 pm
I spent the weekend in a two-day bondage intensive in Santa Clara. The class was zoomed through a lot of material, but it was also pretty cool. It covered everything from how to tie a square not (and more than one person in the class had trouble with this) to doing full suspensions. By the end of the day today people were literally hanging around from one end of the dungeon to the other. (If you're not familiar with suspension bondage, this completely not-safe-for-work image will give you an idea of what it looks like.)

While I was (and still am) far from expert at rope bondage, I started with a little bit of knowledge about the subject, and I pick this stuff up pretty quickly. My sweetie is exactly the opposite-- it takes him lots of practice to get the hang of a new knot or technique. That, plus the fact that I have a really fucked up arm and wrist meant that I spent lots more time being stunt bottom than rigger. That was actually quite OK with me-- watching and helping him reinforced the information in my brain, but also left me with enough mental capacity to contemplate new ideas. "Hey, I wonder how it would work if I..."

Today was suspension day. We started off this morning by suspending our toy bags, which was an excellent way to practice the basic techniques. After that came partial suspensions and then a lunch break. In the afternoon we had brief demos of three different suspension positions, and then it was time for people to fly. Whee! The way they did this actually worked quite well-- you tied your partner up and got everything ready, then called one of the instructors over to check it before you hoisted your load. That let them verify that everything was done well, that you had a plan for what you were going to do next, and it ensured that an expert there to help in case things didn't go quite right. Sweetie managed to get me up in the air twice without killing, maiming, or even bruising me.

And then it was my turn. I found that my brain basically just knew exactly what it wanted to do at all times. I grabbed the right ropes, built the right harnesses, and then quickly and nearly-competently got everything ready to go. The instructor came over, pointed out one slightly-less-than-optimal thing (a crossed line that would have added a little bit of extra friction), and then helped me hoist him into the air.

In the past I've often sneered at big swinging dick riggers-- the guys who are always flinging around hundreds of feet of rope and doing flashy suspensions at the slightest provocation, while surreptitiously looking around to see how big the audience is. If you've been around the leather community a while, you kind of know the ones I'm talking about. They always seem to be so focused on how they look and how technical the suspension is that they forget to pay attention to their partners. OK, not all riggers are like that, but you probably know a few ego riggers yourself.

I'm never going to be a BSD rigger, and I have no desire to be. For me, bondage is a tool for doing something else rather than an end unto itself. However, after being on both sides of it for the first time this weekend, I have a better understanding of why suspension might be an interesting tool rather than something to do to show off. It's still not going to be my primary focus, but I have a better appreciation for it.

Oh, and I didn't drop him. He went up exactly as I planned, swung around for a little while, and then came down with a respectable amount of grace.

The downside of the weekend is that I wasn't as nice to my arm and shoulder as I should have been, and now I'm in pain. OK, I was in pain before, but all that rigging sure didn't improve the situation any. Le sigh.

And now I have a big bag of hemp rope all ready to go...
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rhiannonstone
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-03-24 07:41 am (UTC)
That sounds like so much fun! I am SO looking forward to the beginner's rope bondage class I'm going to Thursday night. ;)
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rhiannonstone
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Time:2008-03-24 05:24 pm (UTC)
(Also, this post was really useful for me because I've always kind of irrationally assumed I'd never be able to be suspended because of my weight. Which doesn't make any sense, as I know for a fact the suspension points at at least one local dungeon could hold two of me, but you know how brains get sometimes.)
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whipartist
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Time:2008-03-24 06:02 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I know irrational. But it's really not that big an issue. Mostly the trick is to just use more wraps of rope so that it doesn't cut in. I could show you sometime...
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rhiannonstone
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Time:2008-03-24 08:16 pm (UTC)
I would love for you to show me. ;) Drop me a line when you want to make plans: misty AT nivin DOT org.
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luckylefty
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Time:2008-03-24 02:55 pm (UTC)
How safe is it for people who couldn't tie a square knot two days earlier to be doing (supervised) suspensions, and (possibly more worrisome) being left with the impression that they now know enough to do suspensions safely?
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whipartist
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Time:2008-03-24 05:56 pm (UTC)
Supervised? Pretty safe. The most common failure was that one particular knot didn't hold quite as tight as it should have, with the result being that the bottom slowly slipped down a little bit. That's very easy to recover from (the top just puts their hand around the ropes) and not a catastrophic failure.

Unsupervised? It depends upon the person. The end speech of the class was an admonition that "you're not going to be as good at this tomorrow as you are right now." If it's someone who understands their limitations, and I think most of the class falls into this category, they're going to go home and really practice individual components until they're second nature. They're also going to start with partial suspensions (e.g. standing, with a chest harness tied to a suspension ring, or laying down with legs raised) before they go off and do full-blown suspensions.

If they're someone who is given to being reckless or who thinks they know it all, that's a little bit less safe but also probably not catastrophic. The suspensions we learned all have at least two major load-bearing harnesses (chest and hips) usually with ankles being tied in after the other two are up. Either of those two points should easily handle the person's weight with plenty of room to spare. Losing the chest attachment would be a bit worse than losing the hips, since there's risk of hitting one's head on the ground, but even then it seems more likely to be "I have a headache" than "I cracked my skull."

As far as I've been able to tell, most suspension-related injuries are either fairly minor (rope burn type things, or someone hurts themselves by twisting around in the bondage) or are caused by catastrophic failure of the suspension point. I can't remember tales of a serious injury caused by the rope itself coming unroped.

It's an excellent question, though.
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whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-03-24 10:25 pm (UTC)
And mostly as a reminder to myself, I just dug out this thread:

http://advancedropebondage.tribe.net/thread/b0de8d11-d282-49ea-901e-df7f9b3eedd0

which has some good info about safety and failures.
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elfs
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Time:2008-03-24 03:41 pm (UTC)
I am so jealous. I have a lover who would love to get into suspension herself as a bottom, but I have not the skill or the rope (yet; the latter can be fixed with time and money) to do it all correctly. I wish she and I could book a weekend together and do something like this.
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whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-03-24 06:12 pm (UTC)
If you can do it, I highly recommend Max's class. But you're in Seattle, so I probably don't have to tell you that.

Hemp rope is expensive, or moderately expensive and a royal pain in the ass. You can, however, use much-cheaper synthetic.
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greeklady
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Time:2008-03-25 03:28 am (UTC)
I was going to ask you about your choice of rope. I use a synthetic rope but then again I am not suspending anyone either. Though I do have some great beams to utilize. *grins* But why hemp?

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whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-03-25 03:43 am (UTC)
Hemp is the traditional rope for suspensions. The major advantage that it has over something like nylon is that it has more bite, so it holds knots much easier. I wouldn't trust myself to tie a mission-critical suspension knot in nylon rope, but with hemp they just sort of stay put.

I prefer nylon for decorative work, because I can get ludicrously brilliant colors.
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abostick59
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-03-24 06:23 pm (UTC)
I'm never going to be a BSD rigger....

Sticking to Windows, eh? That doesn't sound like you.
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allknight
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-03-24 09:57 pm (UTC)
Patti,

I always enjoy reading this type posts from you. Now I just need to catch up at home on viewing your non-pc bondage photos! I am glad to hear you are having fun following your various passions although I hope your arm and shoulder does not suffer to badly...
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loser_variable
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-03-25 01:21 am (UTC)
Serious question: what is the allure about hanging from ropes? That it hurts? Help me out on this one.
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whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-03-25 01:30 am (UTC)
Some people like to be all wrapped up in rope. It's not my particular kink, but I can understand it at an intellectual level even if it doesn't push my buttons. Being suspended intensifies that. There's some element of lack of control. For some people, it's the same thrill as being on a swing and being able to swing around.

I suspect that the answer is slightly different for everyone.
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loser_variable
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Time:2008-03-25 01:44 am (UTC)
Fair enough. I just don't get that one, and I have a filthy mind.
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greeklady
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Time:2008-03-25 03:30 am (UTC)
For me, half of it is being able to tie someone up functionally (they cannot move), while being pretty too. The other part is after you visibly displayed your victim, then the suspension (which I have yet to learn but want to) would be a cheap/inexpensive swing.
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silveredboy
Link:(Link)
Time:2008-03-25 11:03 pm (UTC)
The allure of hanging from ropes: Just being tied up is interesting to me because it removes a degree of control. Hanging suspended would seem to intensify that lack of control. Not only can you not move to prevent anyone from doing whatever they want, but they can move you to suit their whims. They can turn you from back to front, spin you around, do painful, ticklish or stimulating things to you and you can't do anything to prevent them.

Two Knotty Boys have several videos on youtube
that demonstrate different bondage techniques. I watched every video several times, and was still so interested that I bought their book as well. I'm not suggesting that a book or a video be substituted for real time experience. But they'll sure get you started. :)
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[icon] I survived bondage class! - Patti
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