Rope sessions incidents

We’ve always mentioned in our posts how risky ropes may became, even when some people still continue thinking of them as harmless and innocent. A bad used rope can lead to more headaches than you would imagine and it’s only up to the rigger’s experience and formation background if he has the needed skills to be able to foresee and prevent  by any necessary means any issue and bring enough security and confidence to those who submit to their ropes.

Even when there are lots of web pages and groups in social networks speaking about Shibari in Spanish language, the main problem you may stumble upon when talking about incidents in Shibari sessions is the lack of information you would find on that subject in any of them. However there are English language web pages where both riggers and models can report, debate, and learn from errors, both own and other riggers’. That’s why we wanted to offer a space here in KinbakuMania where any Spanish speaking rigger (or any English one being translated) would be able to post sessions’ issues.

You may find a good learning experience in those sites, based in humbleness, self acceptance of the faults, and merciful analysis from those who, rather than crucify the one who admitted the error, want better to learn from the experience as a community.  Anyway, whichever it happens to be the analysis outcome, it always aims to learn that any final cause is rooted in our own decisions, either those were taken before or during the session, and should never be addressed out of our responsibility.

Among the most common reports we’ve been able to read, many of them are related to failures or snaps in the “Life Line”, as it is the main rope from any suspension and where most part of model’s weight hangs on. It’s therefore crucial in model’s security since a snap in that rope would lead to a free fall of the person being suspended (with all the inherent risks depending on the height of your suspension).  The principal things that comes to analysis in most of these cases are rope quality and provider, rope’s aging, and the kind of rope maintenance the rigger had done to it. Also it’s not least important to know the technique the rigger uses in suspensions. A bad technique during a suspension may lead to premature wear out of the rope, uneven tensions, or even show a lack of foresight at the moment of planning the suspension structure from a global point of view. In any of these cases it’s important to accept that whichever it was the root cause that lead to the incident, it’s only our fault to let things reach that point. Either when we had chosen a bad rope provider, when we neglected to know how to maintain and inspect them periodically, or if we did not know the proper techniques and good practices a good rigger should keep in mind while tying, it’s always our fault and responsibility and never a matter of chance what took us to the present predicament.

Many riggers may start to do suspensions after only watching a couple of tutorials or videos on that subject, or after only a few hours from an intensive workshop. Others would lack of judgement on how to chose their teachers and will trust their lessons (sometimes mistaken or incomplete) without perceiving that some of those techniques might be slightly and or unconsciously modified (or even wrongly understood) by this supposed teacher, and thus would lead to problems in short or long term (you may want to peek a look to the post: Beginners Teaching Rope Bondage” from WykD_Dave).  We can’t deny that suspensions are quite spectacular moments where to show your skills as a shibari rigger or shibari model. It’s also true that Shibari suspensions are mainstream nowadays, and you’ll find lots of models anxiously wanting a photo session in some fancy positions, but only a few of this riggers and models would stop to think and analyze the potential risks of the kind of tying the’re about to practice, and the safety measures they would keep in mind so that everything can be done smoothly and harmlessly.

We have also read some reports about all kind of physical injuries in rope models in those sites. What I’ve read and sometimes heard personally includes varied symptoms, going from models showing some fingers, hands, arms or legs mobility impairments, long term numbness or even in a particular case I’ve read about a broken ribs incident after a box tie suspension. We must always be clear in our mind while reading this that the ancient techniques of Shibari are meant to always take care of the rope model’s safety through position, tension, and the way we work with our ropes. As we had already said in our post: “Being a Shibari Kinbaku Modelthere are NO “usual injuries when you play as a rope model. Any numbness, tickling in your limbs, or any rope mark that lasts more than a couple of minutes after the session, must be seriously addressed and never minimized as a normal collateral effect of the suspension. It surprises me today even after having spent some time focusing in sharing and spreading the basic ropes safety principles, and having worked in gaining consciousness as a rope community on rope’s security, that we still find people who, perhaps due to shame or not knowing who to ask, keep silence about experiences worth to be shared for everybody’s learning.

In our Dojo classes I always teach to all students about the precautions needed in each tie, even before they start practicing with their first basic tie.  It’s highly probable that anyone would be able to do a simple tie, even some people would be skillful enough to reproduce a box tie or TakateKote (TK), just because they simply know where the ropes goes and they have memorized that structure by heart. However there is a huge distance from there to doing in proper and safely way. Unfortunately, as I always repeat in class, there are things that if you don’t happen  to learn in the proper way, got practiced in the proper way, and are made an unconscious habit in the proper way, would remain as “tying vices” all along our rigger’s path.  You may also read in this same page what Osada Steve Sensei, or Yukinaga Max Sensei or even myself mention as we speak of the many years it took (and in my case still takes) us to learn this art. Some people may think of themselves as supernatural beings that had achieved their skill and knowledge in a very short time period and by themselves. The fact is that only the repetitive practice of the correct technique (over and over and over) and the ability to memorize with our fingers those unusual movements for our western consciousness of ropes, is what would give us the needed fluidity and confidence so that even when blinded or barely awake, ties will always be done in the proper way. There is no magic in this. Just a good Sensei and the perseverance of constant practice will put us in the path of success.

Finally I would like to share a thought of mine. I feel that we all as continuously learning riggers must put our pride aside, even before taking the first rope in our hands. It’s a hard thing, specially in some communities were we move into as pride is sometimes confused with dominance and strength. I feel noticeably how our prejudices bias our thought in general, becoming strong obstacles to this learning process. It’s like watering our growth with the water of wisdom when it’s under our pride’s umbrella. I always say that in our rope path both as riggers or as rope models we work several aspects of our personality and personal issues. Only those who dare open their minds and hearts to the tuition, to find they might need to unlearn some things they’ve done their entire lives ( perhaps something as simple as how you lace your shoes), are those who are more open to receive the benefits of tuition and start their path as riggers. Only humbleness, perseverance and hard work would make a good Shibari Kinbaku rigger from you and would honor your Sensei’s teachings.

As Yukinaga Max Sensei always says:

学問に王道無 “There is no royal path to learning”, meaning that the learning path has no shortcuts or highways, and that we’re all subject to learn at our own personal pace.
Haru TsubakiHaruTsubaki

One thought on “Rope sessions incidents

  1. I feel that it is truly my attidude that keeps my model safe when I am tying. I have a checklist of things (rope, equipment, model’s state of mind & body) which I go thru. When I first started tying, this was an actual list of thing but now it is mental. It is habit as much as my rope tying is.

    There are no great secrets to safety for me, just caring about my model. I will do things which have risks, but I never do them in an unsafe manner. One of the things I learned over the years is that errors combine to make things exponentially worse! One small mistake can injure someone, but a small mistake combined with another can make it serious.

    This is the reason that suspension in rope is a dangerous activity. As Tsubaki has written above, repetitive practice of the correct technique makes for a good rigger. Repeating your mistakes until they become muscle memory is setting yourself up to fail.

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    Siento que es verdaderamente mi actitud la que mantiene la seguridad de mi modelo mientras estoy atando. Tengo una lista de cosas (cuerda, equipamiento, estado físico y mental del modelo) que reviso cada vez. Cuando recién comencé a atar, se trataba de una lista real de cosas, pero ahora es solo una lista mental. Se ha transformado en un hábito tanto así como lo son mis ataduras.

    No hay grandes secretos en la seguridad a mi entender, sólo cuidar a mi modelo. Haré cosas que implican riesgos, pero nunca he de hacerlas de una manera insegura. Una de las cosas que he aprendido con los años es que los errores se combinan para hacer que las cosas puedan terminar exponencialmente peor! Un pequeño error puede dañar a alguien, pero un pequeño error combinado con otro puede hacer que se transforme en algo grave.

    Esta es la razón por la que las suspensiones son una actividad peligrosa. Tal como Tsubaki ha escrito anteriormente, la práctica repetitiva de la técnica correcta hace a un buen atador. La repetición de tus errores hasta que se convierten memoria muscular solo te estará llevando al fracaso.

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