The Foundations series of courses provide an in-depth study of the fundamental skills and concepts of rope bondage to practitioners on both sides of the rope through reflections, discussions, exercises, and the exploration of common forms and patterns in a responsible progression from floor work through basic suspension with the ultimate goal of providing a solid foundation on which practitioners can continue to build.
The main focus of these courses is on natural-fiber rope techniques (often associated with the Japanese style of tying, typically called shibari or kinbaku), but the courses address and incorporate aspects from many styles and the concepts in the course can be readily adapted.
Purpose & Goals
The two primary goals for the Foundations series of courses are:
- To provide a solid foundation of understanding and skills for students to competently practice rope in a responsible, risk-aware manner
- To bridge the gap between the entry-level rope skills often learned through peer sharing and online resources and the intermediate to advanced skills often expected of those who want to attend rope conferences, workshops, and intensives.
Our hope is that students who complete the Foundation series will be competent, risk-informed, and responsible members of the local rope community who are able to contribute to local learning opportunities and are adequately prepared to take advantage of other educational offerings in order to continue their study of rope.
Note that this means there are things we are not trying to do with these courses, namely: teach all there is to know; teach all the different versions of all the different ties; teach advanced and higher-risk skills; teach a certain style or purpose for rope. Instead, we are trying to do what the name implies: provide a solid foundation on which to continue to build your rope journey in the direction you want to build it.
We really believe these courses will be beneficial for rope practitioners at any level. If you’re new, they’re a great way to build a solid foundation from the start. If you’re experienced, they’re a great way to situate your learning in a larger context and fill in the gaps of understanding and technique that often result from learning through one-off classes or online tutorials.
While the focus is on the fundamental and foundational concepts and skills (again, we’re not trying to teach everything there is to know or cover more specialized or obscure techniques), we have found that focusing on the fundamentals is always helpful no matter your experience level.
Structure & Progression
The Foundations series consists of 3 courses (Rope 201, Rope 301, Rope 401) that are designed to occur in sequence over a period of 18 months. Each course contains 5 class sessions and carries an expectation of reading / viewing / listening, reflection, and practice between classes.
The courses have been carefully and intentionally designed to build on each other and are intended to be taken in sequence, but the progression is separated into 3 courses to allow participants to pause their progression to focus on refining their skills before moving to the next major step in risk and required proficiency.
While we believe taking the courses in sequence is the best option for most people, we do allow students to “skip” earlier courses if they demonstrate they can meet the prerequisites for the course they would like to take.
Note: while we do include our Rope 101 workshop in the Foundations series, it functions more as an introduction and is not considered one of the core courses, though we do sometimes offer 101-based workshops.
Overview of Courses
Here’s an overview of the three core courses. Click through to each individual course for more details.
- Rope 201: Foundations Part 1 – focusing on fundamentals and forms … including discussions of the “why” behind the rope, a focus on good rope control and technique, tips for working together and communicating in rope, understanding the body in rope, and learning active bottoming skills before the risks escalate; we have found that many people who have been tying for a while can also really benefit from this course as it addresses many of the skills and concepts that typically aren’t addressed in singleton classes and pattern-focused videos
- Rope 301: Foundations Part 2 – focusing on floor work and partial suspension … continuing the concepts from 201 and applying them to full-body tying and mechanics, focusing on the essential skills for adding uplines to ties, considering how and why we attach to ties, and the implications for the rope and the body
- Rope 401: Foundations Part 3 – focusing on full suspension and further study … again building on the skills from 201 and 301, looking more closely at the structures on the body as we move into full suspension and start working with positions, timing, levels, order of progression, and transitions with an emphasis on the experience of the bottom in rope and the bottom’s agency