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. 

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