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.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Coiling Your Rope Bundle

Hi again folks,

  This week we're going to look at a really basic skill that every rigger should have in their toolkit: how to coil up your rope so it stores well and is ready to use at a moment's notice. As I point out at the beginning of this video, the technique demonstrated here is by no means the one and only way to coil your rope for bondage-related activities. It is, however, a pretty slick one, you must admit. ;)

  Have fun and happy tying,
    ~Tracker and the rest of the IFA gang

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Gunslinger with Lux

Here's another hip harness for you to add to your kinky toolbox. I rambled a bit in this video, but the point I was trying to convey is that by positioning the vine on the opposite side of the topline you can make this into a more comfortable hip harness. I learned this tip from NHSlutWhisperer (he's the king of comfy suspensions).

Although the gunslinger variation shown does add a third wrap around the torso for additional support, we only placed two wraps around the thigh. By placing the thigh wrap higher on the leg ("in the butt crease"), this harness should be a bit more comfortable than one that places the thigh wrap on the middle or lower thigh. However, if additional comfort is still required, simply add more wraps around the leg before coming up for the third wrap around the waist.

  Have fun and happy tying!
    Lux and the IFA team

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Munter Hitch and the Cow Hitch

There are 7 Munter Hitches used on the back of this takate kote.
Two hitches, the Munter and the Cow,  are used very frequently in shibari and other ropework. It is important to have a good understanding of how these work and when to use them. Once you recognize them you will see them often in the work that we post on here and in the work that others are doing. We feel that they are important enough to warrant a post of their own so here it is!

The Munter Hitch was developed as a climbing knot to help slow the rope for descents. What we use it for is to create a "friction" when one line passes over another in order to hold it in place. It is important to recognize that the Munter Hitch does not typically change the direction of the travel of the rope but rather puts a friction in the direction of rope to make sure it does not move. One notable exception is the "lock knot" used to finish off a reverse tension single or double column tie. Upon closer examination this is essentially a Munter Hitch tied at a 90 degree angle. 

The Cow Hitch is a bit different; its primary use is to hold a line to an object- hence the name (keep that cow in place). This hitch is used to change the direction of travel of the rope 180 degrees. It is very useful in hip harnesses. You might also notice that it looks a lot like a Lark's Head that you might start a column tie with and you would be correct. It is basically two half hitches tied  in opposite directions. 

These two hitches are very similar to one another 

For the start of the Munter one line passes another. In this case the red line is passing the green line. The green line remains in place (is static) while the red line will have the Munter Hitch. 

The red line passes behind the green line. 

After passing behind the green line the red line turns 90 degrees over itself. 

The red line makes another 90 degree turn and then passes behind the green  line.  This completes the Munter Hitch.

The completed Munter Hitch without arrows.

Now we moo-ve on to the Cow Hitch...

Once again the green line will be the static line on which the Cow Hitch will be tied. 

The red line passes behind the green line.

The red line does a 90 degree bend after passing behind the green line. 

The red line then does a 90 degree turn and passes behind the green line. At this point this is a Munter Hitch but please note that there is space left below the green line. 

The red line reverses direction and passes over the green line through the space left in the loop. This is a completed Cow Hitch. 

This is what a completed Cow Hitch looks like when dressed (tightened) and without the arrows.