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Rope is not about Rope

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Rope is not about Rope Kinbaku Today 1

The rope I do is about people. Ever since people started asking me about rope and why I liked it this has been my defining answer. It says as clearly as I can that for merope is not about rope. It’s about it’s effect, it’s ability to communicate, it’s beauty. It’s about everything other than the rope itself.

Rope for me is a process, something in the moment, something living.

When I’m tying what I feel is my best rope I am tuned in to the person that I’m tying. But it’s not just the person. It’s the situation, the intent, the music that’s playing, the time of day and how you feel right now. When it’s really flowing it’s all one experience with the tying going on in the heart of everything with every experience feeling and sensation part of that moment, that instant.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m not waxing a little too poetic when I try to express my feelings about what rope bondage really is for me but I cannot find less emotional ways to express it.

I really hope that this is something that comes through all our work, photographs, shows etc. It’s always for me about the person bound. It’s all about feeling and interaction. It’s not about showing off the rope. That’s not to say that the visual aspect isn’t important to me. It’s a part of the whole thing, and the whole thing includes my aesthetic sense too. The music or the silence and the sound of breathing and moving and creaking rope are all a part of what makes the totality of experience that is bondage for me.

What first attracted me to this style of bondage was not the rope but the expression of the models, it was what was being created in the way of feeling. It really drew me in. I think it was the work of Norio Sugiura san that I first saw. Those images made a deep impression on me. So when I tie I want it to be about the expression and the true feeling and emotion of the moment. Yes the bondage matters, I very much want it to be good, well tied and beautiful but in a way that compliments the model and position. It’s a tool for creating the emotion of the experience, the strain and suffering. But the rope cannot be an end in itself. If this doesn’t sound contradictory it’s about the bondage and not the rope.

I really love the expression ‘Beautiful suffering’. Suffering can be so beautiful in rope, I think it’s necessary to strive for beauty in rope in every sense.

I think if you love it the real beauty to be found in bondage is universal. I believe it’s born from human desires and drives that are common across the world. Taste is not universal even between neighbours, it’s also something that develops over time with many influences in our lives but beauty is still beauty and in bondage there is something fundamentally human in its expression. Beautiful suffering is just that, it’s human, emotional and raw. There are some things that are universally beautiful. It is in these things that we find an appeal that transcends language, place and time.

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WykD_Dave (Dave Rickman) is a UK-based rope enthusiast, who now teaches and performs internationally accompanied by his partner Clover. He started exploring bondage 22 years ago and was autodidact for the first 17 years, until a lesson with rope professional Osada Steve changed his way of tying. Dave loves Japanese style rope work, and decided to dedicate himself to this. “It isn’t about the rope, it’s about the expression, the look in the eyes, the hopelessness, the agony”. Now, Dave feels fortunate to be asked to run workshops and tutorials all around the world. He takes great pleasure in seeing people get it and open their minds to what rope bondage can really be. “Not just a means of restraint but a much deeper and personally connected experience than any other I’ve ever found.”