Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Takate Kote

The takate kote is one of the best known traditional Japanese chest harnesses. If you spend any time in rope circles you will see it frequently and hear it discussed just as frequently. It is also referred to as the box tie or simply as the "TK". 

There are a lot of differences among riggers when it comes to how this form should be tied. Many video and pictorial tutorials that show it a wide variety of ways from the very traditional to more modern. Print media also shows a variety of ways to tie the TK. Ultimately you need to do what works best for you. The TK we teach at the IFA is no different. We tie it in a different way that combines both reverse tension and forward tension. Why do we do this? Because science bitches!

Seriously, it was done with a lot of research. I tied it in a reverse tension style while Tracker tied it in the more traditional Japanese forward tension style. We looked at the benefits of both styles and combined them into how we tie it now. By tying the upper band in reverse tension it helps to keep the stem more centered and also prevents a tightening of the bands as sometimes happens in the forward tension style when doing the upper bands.  By tying the lower bands in forward tension it helps the rope "flow" better as well as giving a cleaner look to the back of the tie. 

The TK takes some time to master especially if you want to tie it quickly, cleanly and safely. With regard to safety one thing to be cautious of is the radial nerve. This nerve is close to the surface where the deltoid muscle "V"'s down between the bicep and tricep. The location is different in everyone so you need to be conscious of that when tying the TK. The two bands should not be too close to one another. If there is any shooting pain from the upper arm then the bands need to be adjusted or dressed to prevent nerve damage from happening. 

Start the tie with the wrists behind the back. There are a wide variety of positions for the wrists from crossed wrists as shown to the arms held parallel over each other (with the hands close to the elbows). It is a big topic of discussion that we may get into at a later date. We begin the tie with a single column tie, in this case a Wyk'd Fast Bowline . Then the line heads up the spine to a spot about midway between the shoulder blades and then turns 90 degrees to go around the chest. #Note# it doesn't matter if it goes left or right, it is a matter of choice.

The rope goes fully around the upper chest above the breasts. Another position to keep in mind is that the line should be at the point where the arm meets the shoulder. Right at that crease. The line comes back around then does a 180 degree turn when it meets the stem (the line at the center). 

The rope continues back across the chest just below the first wrap. 

When the line comes back over the stem it reverses direction and goes back underneath the stem. 

The rope then turns upward over the two upper wraps.

It then reverses direction and goes back behind the upper wraps. 

The rope turns 90 degrees over the stem.

Then the rope goes behind the upper wraps. 

The rope reverses direction then goes in front of the upper wraps.

The rope goes behind the stem at this point. At this point it is a good idea to "dress" the upper bands. This entails running a finger or two between the rope and the body. this accomplishes two things: it straightens and neatens the bands and it also relieves pressure on nerve channels which can help prevent nerve damage. Definitely a good thing to get into the habit of doing with a TK. 

The rope goes between the body and the arm here to provide a cinch for the upper band. This is known as a kannuki. Note that it is a sensitive part of the body for most people. It is also an area where friction can be a problem. Take it slowly to prevent rope burn, especially if you use synthetic rope. 

The rope reverses direction and heads back where it came from under the arm. Note: if you put two fingers on either side of the rope as shown it helps to keep the upper bands more flat when pulling the rope back instead of "crushing" the upper bands. It looks a lot better when completed.

The rope goes underneath the stem then toward the opposite side of the body.

Repeat the cinch (kannuki) on the opposite side. 

Bring the rope back under the stem but bring it up so that it crosses behind the wraps that hold the upper band together. This traps it in place. Please note that rope was added in at this point using a sheet bend

Reverse direction with the rope. 

Lock the rope into place by going behind the rope that came in from the kannuki. This keeps it in place. 

Wrap or "vine" the stem two or three times and end with the rope on the same side that it began on. 

Continue the rope around the lower arm and below the breasts.

Go over the stem and continue to wrap underneath the first band. 

Continue to the back again over the stem. 

Reverse direction and go behind the stem. 

The rope then turns upward over the bands then goes behind the stem and returns down. 

The rope goes back behind the stem. 

From here the rope wraps the stem once. 

The rope goes between the body and arm over the lower band to form a lower cinch (kannuki).

The rope then goes behind the stem toward the opposite side of the body. 

A second cinch (kannuki) is formed on the opposite side of the body. 

The rope returns to the stem and then can be wrapped in a vine as shown to complete. This is the completed takate kote from the back. 

The completed takate kote from the front. 

Here is a 3/4 view of the TK from the front.

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