And we will prove it for free!
Rope handling skills are fundamental to the difference between tying people and parcels. In my opinion, far too much teaching is orientated to painting by numbers and that’s not what it’s all about for me.
Until about 12 years ago, when I first visited Japan for lessons with Arisue Go, most of my learning had been trial and error with little formal tuition. I don’t consider that time wasted since it taught me rope handing through endless repetition. Later, Osada Steve’s relentless drilling with the 2 & 3-TK and some handling tips honed these skills. Eventually, if you repeat something enough, you subconsciously find ways to improve. Most of the techniques I use to improve flow and handling have evolved like this rather than having been taught or carefully worked out. One day, I’ll look down and think “When did I start doing that?”. It’s been very much, wax on/wax off but it can take a very long time to get there. However, we went through that so you can avoid the pain of learning the hard way.
Small changes, massive differences
It’s incredible how much difference a simple change can make. For example, the length of your rope or when you join or disconnect can make a couple of dozen extra metres to your pull-throughs in a single tie. My ‘kiddy’s gun’ trick for knotting a single column tie makes it a single fluid motion. This is way faster and far more dominant than fiddling around and swapping hands.
Tips from the masters
Of course, it would be wrong to take all the credit. We have a stream of very skilled people coming through our flat so one inevitably notices or is shown new skills. One certainly never knows it all and this old dog is constantly learning new tricks.
Nina & I have tried to encapsulate what we have both learned over the years in all our tutorials but especially in our Tying Techniques series . We believe that these tutorials can save you an enormous amount of time whilst improving your tying significantly. We spent a long time inventing these wheels so you don’t have to.
The key to communicating with rope
Fluent handling enhances you ability to communicate with rope, but you also need to be coherent in what you say with the rope. So many times I have heard great masters tell me that “rope is an extension of their hands” and “a tool of communication”. So it is the same with the language of rope, you need vocabulary and grammar but also the right delivery if you wish to make an impression and be evocative. You won’t do that with a phrase book.
Does the way you use it reflect your intent and demeanour? If you remember it’s an extension of your hands and intent, this will become easier. Think how you would touch and handle somebody to reflect this, then simply use the rope to do so. This will be achieved by using tempo, pauses, vigour, firmness, gentleness and many other nuances.
Like those early exploratory sex sessions with a new partner, you judge the reactions to your actions to guide you. Learn to listen to every sound, change in breathing, watch facial expression and feel every reaction to gauge the response to your tying. If you can’t see their face, tie in front of a mirror. You can also learn a lot by watching yourself back on video.
The secret of KISS
My advice is to learn how to create the desired effect with as little rope as possible as your first goal. Without using the rope in the right way, simply learning more complex ties probably won’t help much and could end up boring your partner. Start with one rope and simple single column variations, frictions and wrapping before you complicate matters and become knot focused. In other words, so distracted by the knots that you forget about the person in the rope. As they say in sales training: KISS. Keep It Simple, Stupid.
Nina and I are so convinced of this that we are making this offer: