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Thank you for your interest in studying rope bondage with us!

Applications for the next round of classes (Rope 201/Rope 301) are now closed.

For the Fall/Winter 2019/2020, we are offering our Fundamentals Courses (Rope 201 and 301). Each course consists of 7 class sessions that meet from October 2019 through February 2020. We ask those who wish to attend to complete the application process using the link below. Applicants are strongly encouraged to review the information on this page carefully before applying.

We offer a progressive rope bondage curriculum for both tops and bottoms, meaning that the work in each class addresses concerns from both sides of the rope and builds upon the work from all previous classes. We divide this curriculum into two tracks that are offered on a rotating schedule: Fundamentals of Rope Bondage (Rope 201) and Fundamentals of Suspension (Rope 301). While students are encouraged to take each track consecutively, this rotating schedule allows those who need more time between 201 and 301 to take that time to further develop their skills while also providing opportunities for new students to join either track every six months.

The ultimate goals of these courses are to provide a solid foundation of understanding and skills in floor work and suspension work and to prepare students to attend other workshops, intensives, and classes with other instructors and be able to understand what is being presented.

Testimonials from Former Students


Why an application?

We ask potential participants to complete an application process to ensure that we are the right fit for those who are interested. In particular:

  1. Our Fundamentals courses focus on Japanese-inspired approaches to rope bondage, so we may not be a good fit for those who are mainly or exclusively looking to learn more about decorative or Western-style rope bondage.
  2. Our Fundamentals courses are like college-level seminars: we focus on many aspects of rope bondage in the hope of providing a well-rounded understanding of the major concepts and skills necessary at each level. In order to do so, we ask that students complete a good amount of reading, reflection, and practice between classes. This level of intense study and commitment may not be appropriate or worthwhile for everyone and may not be a good match for those who are just finding out about rope bondage or who are interested in it only as a small component of their play.
  3. Due to the limitations of time and space, each course has a limited number of spots available. We want to make sure that spots are filled by students who are ready to dedicate the time and attention required to get the most out of the courses.
  4. While we do charge for those who are able to pay, the amount we charge is minimal (about $2/hour). The other “cost” that we ask of participants is a commitment to find ways to give back to the continued growth and development of a healthy, risk-informed, responsible rope community.
  5. Particularly for the Suspension course, we need to ensure that the minimum prerequisites are met so that everyone in the course can progress at a relatively similar pace. It would be unfair to other participants to admit students who significantly lack prior knowledge and skills.

However, we also want to be clear that the following factors have no influence on acceptance: race, gender, age, body type, creed, sexual orientation, or financial situation. (Those who feel the cost of the course is prohibitive will be admitted free of charge.)


About the Courses

Rope 201: Fundamentals of Rope Bondage

  • Dates/Times: Meet & Greet: 4-6pm on 9/29; Class Sessions: 2pm – 6pm on 10/13, 10/27, 11/17, 12/15, 1/5, 1/26, 2/9
  • Location: 20 minutes north of downtown Richmond, VA
  • Cost: $50/person

Prerequisites: Rope 101 or equivalent – This course requires a dedication to learning and a commitment to the study of responsible rope bondage over an extended period of time. We highly recommend an existing “101” level of experience and understanding along with enough time spent working in rope that you know you’re really interested in and ready for serious study and practice.

Key Concepts Addressed for Tops:

  • learning to tie well (fundamental skills for placement, tension, control, and structure and understanding the balance among intent, risk, efficiency, and aesthetics)
  • learning strategies for effective practice, alone and with others
  • learning to recognize and mitigate risk and to define responsible progression for your goals and risk profile
  • learning to communicate with and lead a partner in rope for various types of interactions and floor transitions
  • learning to fit the rope to the person (not the person to the rope)
  • learning about preparation of mind and body as well as relevant body mechanics
  • learning to assess potential partners, negotiate effectively, and adapt risk profile as needed
  • learning common forms and patterns and understanding the choices and reasoning behind them, included but not limited to:
    • single and double-column ties
    • leg-tie variations (folded-leg, crossed-leg, legs together)
    • chest harnesses variations (arms free, arms behind, arms to the side, and arms in front)
    • armbinder variations
    • full-body ties

Key Concepts Addressed for Bottoms:

  • learning to recognize when something is tied well for your body (placement, tension, control, and structure as it applies to your body’s abilities and needs)
  • learning strategies for effective practice, alone and with others
  • learning to recognize and mitigate risk and to define responsible progression for your goals and risk profile
  • learning to communicate with and follow a partner in rope for various types of interactions and floor transitions
  • learning skills related to active bottoming, including micro-adjustments, pain processing, breathing exercises, and effective decision-making
  • learning about preparation of mind and body, both as warm-up and as long-term preparation, as well as relevant notes about posture, positioning, balance, and body mechanics
  • learning to assess potential partners, negotiate effectively, and adapt risk profile as needed
  • learning to recognize common forms and patterns, understanding the choices and reasoning behind them, and understanding the implications of those for your body and experience in rope (see above for list)

Rope 301: Fundamentals of Suspension

  • Dates/Times: Meet & Greet: 4-6pm on 9/29; Class Sessions: 2pm – 6pm on 10/13, 10/27, 11/17, 12/15, 1/5, 1/26, 2/9
  • Location: 20 minutes north of downtown Richmond, VA
  • Cost: $50/person

Prerequisites: Rope 201 or equivalent – Minimum 6 months experience in rope

  • Tops: ability to make intentional choices about and to control placement and tension while tying; understanding of major risk factors in rope and appropriate methods for mitigating and responding to them; strong communication skills in rope; ability to effectively tie sustainable and well-structured single-column, double-column, chest harness of choice, lower-body harness of choice
  • Bottoms: ability to recognize effective placement and tension for your body; understanding of major risk factors in rope and appropriate methods for mitigating and responding to them; strong communication skills in rope; ability to recognize effective single-column, double-column, chest harness of choice, lower-body harness of choice and which variations are most sustainable for your body.

Key Concepts Addressed for Tops:

  • learning to select adequate anchor points and construct appropriate suspension points
  • learning to self-assess ties for suspension (placement, tension, control, structure)
  • learning effective methods for attaching to ties and the pros/cons behind each choice
  • learning to effectively manage uplines and methods for securing them
  • learning to control the application of load/lift to the body and the implication of levels
  • learning to improve efficiency, understand the importance of timing, and gain a better sense of your own timing
  • learning to monitor a partner in suspension and how to respond to problems
  • learning to lead a partner in suspension to create various types of rope interactions
  • learning to effectively manage leading a partner through transitions in suspension

Key Concepts Addressed for Bottoms:

  • learning to recognize adequate anchor points and suspension points
  • learning to self-assess ties for suspension specific to your body (placement, tension, control, structure)
  • learning to recognize effective methods for attaching to ties and to consider the reasons behind each choice
  • learning to recognize effective methods for managing uplines and securing them
  • learning to recognize the effect of load/lift and levels on your body and strategies for processing and managing those effects
  • learning to monitoring yourself in suspension and communicate effectively
  • learning to follow a partner in suspension to create various types of rope interactions
  • learning to follow transitions in suspension

Please pay careful attention to the prerequisites for the suspension course. In addition, be sure to review the Rope Study Expectations before applying.


Frequently-Asked Questions

The information below should answer many of the common questions about the application process and studying with us. However, if you have additional questions, please contact us.

How do you determine who to accept?

Show Answer
The major areas we consider are: meeting prerequisites where relevant; commitment to study and practice regularly between classes; ability to attend all classes; commitment to “give back” to the rope community in some way (see below).

In the event that we have more applicants than space available, we will accept qualified applicants by lottery.

We also want to be clear that the following factors have no influence on acceptance: race, gender, sexual orientation, age, body type, creed, or financial situation. (Those who feel the cost of the course is prohibitive will be admitted free of charge.)

What is the cost, and why do you charge?

Show Answer
We like to say that there are “two costs” for taking our Fundamentals Courses.

The first cost is financial. On average, we charge about $2/hour for instruction through our Fundamentals Courses, which is very minimal in comparison to most educational offerings regionally or nationally. We keep costs as low as possible because we want foundational rope education to be available to all.

However, in order to provide instruction at the level we offer here, we invest a good deal of our time and money (in web hosting, instructional content and videos, materials, facility upkeep, learning from others to bring back to the local community, etc.). We charge in order to off-set those costs so that we can continue to make these offerings available in a sustainable way. We greatly appreciate your support!

That said, we never want money to be the reason that someone dedicated to the study of rope bondage is not able to learn. If the cost is prohibitive for you, please let us know in the application process. Financial ability is not a determining factor for acceptance, and if accepted, we will not charge you for the course.

The second “cost” that we ask of participants is a commitment to find ways to give back to the continued growth and development of a healthy, risk-informed, responsible rope community. Some examples include: being a responsible participant at local events; attending and supporting local groups and events where possible; offering your experience and perspective to others, particularly to help people new to rope find safe entry into the community; volunteering as a TA for future courses or workshops, etc. In general, striving to embody and spread the “Core Values” that form the foundation of Rope Study.

What is this? What is it NOT?

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At its core, Rope Study is a series of courses based on a structured curriculum designed to move cohort members through a progression of skills and understanding. As such, topics build on each other, and members are required to master some topics before they will gain access to others.

There is an expectation that members will practice the skills and review the information from the previous topics while using provided resources to prepare for the next topic. Members are also expected to adhere to the “Core Values

What kind of rope work will I be learning?

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In Rope 101, we try to offer a broad overview of the various styles and approaches to rope bondage to help participants decide what appeals to them about rope.

Starting with Rope 201 and all subsequent courses, the rope work we practice is based on and inspired by the Japanese style of tying, often referred to as shibari or kinbaku. Please see the individual course pages for more details about what is taught during each course.

We don’t teach Western-style bondage or purely decorative bondage beyond Rope 101. While we value those forms of tying and don’t mean to denigrate them in any way, it’s simply not what we practice (and therefore, not what we teach). However, we do believe that the skills we teach at all levels are applicable to other forms of rope bondage. Still, if you’re interested in studying those styles of rope bondage specifically, please contact us, and we can try to direct you to good sources of information.

We also want to point out that if your goal is to simply find some ways to tie up your partner for play, then the content in Rope 101 will likely be more than enough to get you started. However, the kind of tying we teach in Rope 201 and beyond may be more than you’re looking for in that case. You can certainly take the skills we cover and apply them to that goal, but that is not the focus of those courses. Take Rope 101 and come out to Rope Bite, as many participants there can also help you with those goals.

Is this for beginners? Or do I already need to know some things?

Show Answer
Rope 101 is designed for anyone new to rope! We explore various styles and approaches to rope bondage and provide some essential skills to get you tying.

Rope 201 builds on Rope 101 and is designed for both new rope tops and bottoms ready to begin a serious study of rope bondage and for experience tops and bottoms looking to reinforce the fundamentals and fill any significant gaps in their education. It assumes some familiarity with rope at the “101” level, and enough time working with rope to commit to a serious pursuit, but has no specific prerequisites.

Is this for experienced people?

Show Answer
Yes.

We believe all skill levels can benefit from Rope 201, as this course seeks to enhance your understanding of rope bondage and improve on the skills of tying well. The focus is not only on the fundamental concepts and skills of rope bondage, but also on genuinely understanding those fundamentals and learning to apply and adapt them to various situations, from both the top and bottom perspective.

Rope 301 is designed for more experienced rope artists who are ready to start exploring the fundamental concepts and skills that come with adding load to the ties and the bodies in those ties.

Finally, our private instruction is open to all levels, but is where we work specifically with more advanced rope concepts, techniques, and patterns.

Being perpetual students ourselves, we feel new ideas are always worth exploring. We also believe that, by sharing your experience and helping others, you learn even more. Experienced participants in 201 have reported that they learned something new at each meeting, even if those things were smaller insights and details than what novices gained. However, it will be up to you to determine if the return on investment is high enough for a given course. You will still be asked to progress through the material in order, but we expect experienced participants to move through more quickly and to be able to help newer members.

Is a partner required?

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Not required … particularly for Rope 101 … but recommended.

If you plan to continue studying rope bondage, and your focus isn’t exclusively on self-tying, then we recommend that you arrange someone to practice with during and between sessions. (Though please note that a “practice partner” does not necessarily mean a romantic or sexual partner.)

Rope is an art best practiced together, and our prices are structured to accommodate arrangements other than top/bottom pairs. We are open to singles and odd-numbered partnerships, but we cannot guarantee practice partners or equal practice times.

Also, to get the most from these courses, it’s important that you have someone with whom you can practice between classes. The more practice time you can put in between each class, the more quickly you will see your skills improve.

I’m a rope bottom. Will I get anything out of this, or is it mainly for tops?

Show Answer
YES! THESE COURSES ARE DESIGNED FOR BOTTOMS, TOO! We strongly believe that knowledge, skills, and experience are equally essential for both tops and bottoms, and we hope to encourage a culture where bottoms take an equal and active level of responsibility within the rope community. Therefore, we develop the materials with “both sides of the rope” in mind, and our curriculum has specific content designed for bottoms.

Is this a replacement for Rope Bite and other social/peer/skill share rope groups?

Show Answer
Definitely not! RVA Rope and other similar groups in the area offer regular social gatherings, educational opportunities, skill-shares, rope labs, and workshops or intensives for people who enjoy rope and want to spend time getting to know each other, discussing their successes and challenges, sharing their knowledge, tying together, or learning specific topics. However, given the open nature of these events, it can be difficult to work through a structured curriculum with a consistent group of members.

In contrast, we are a rope study group for people who want to move through a structured examination of their rope skills in a committed cohort of peer learners. That structure and commitment allows us to study in ways that aren’t otherwise possible.

Additionally, it is our hope that successful completion of our courses will prepare our students to attend skill shares, rope labs, and similar events and have more to contribute and learn from those settings, and also to attend other workshops, intensives, or educational opportunities from other instructors and be able to understand what is being taught and benefit more readily from the instruction.

We believe a variety of opportunities are important for a healthy rope community!