We all start somewhere, maybe you are looking for a way to restrain a partner for some light bondage play, or you’ve been inspired by some images you have seen on Instagram or Twitter of intricately detailed Shibari that you just want to jump into your rope journey.
This section will contain links to various resources that we have found useful on our rope journey, from riggers and bottoms that we respect and admire. We may even provide some of our own content, but why try to reinvent the wheel when we can show our appreciation for those who have come before us.
However, before you pick up any rope, it is worth taking some time to look into the Safety and Anatomy of rope bondage and Shibari. We cannot stress the importance of having a good pair of safety shears when you purchase your first piece of rope. Its a vital tool that you should always have, but hope to never use. A simple pair of EMT shears can be picked up really cheaply so there is no excuse not to have them in your kit bag. There are always things we cannot predict, what if your partner faints, or your house sets on fire (we really hope this never happens, but always be prepared) and you need to get out of rope quickly. It is easy to replace rope, it is not easy to replace a partner, so for the sake of a few pounds/dollars its super important to buy some safety shears.
In addition, rope is inherently dangerous. Whether its a simple bit of bedroom bondage to tie someone’s wrists together, or an intricate Box Tie/Gote in the Shibari style, there are anatomical considerations to make. Although the visual dramatics of circulation restrictions can result in scary looking purple limbs, the real danger happens with nerve impingement and damage, which can be silent, instant and permanently devastating.
Luckily, Seraphina has a background in anatomical training, which greatly benefits our play as she has a wonderfully in depth understanding of her own anatomy, where her limits are and adjustments we can make to create more sustainable ties. At a minimum, before you start tying, its worth taking a look into this area. Anatomie Studio have a wonderful Flyer on Nerve Damage , below
In addition to this there is also some amazing information on Nerve and Circulation Problems on the Ropetopia Website, which is a snippet from The Rope Bottom Guide, written by the undeniably knowledgeable Clover Brook
In addition to the two great resources above, there is also an amazingly in depth articles on RopeStudy.com on Nerves and Circulation which forms part of a larger Rope 101 course that I highly recommend anyone to read for a clear and progressive path to approaching rope.
Once you have some understanding of the safety elements and risk involved, have prepared yourself with suitable safety shears and have your rope in hand, the first tie anyone should learn is a Single Column Tie. This is a safe, non cinching cuff that can be applied to any limb of choice, or even a waist or chest and acts as the starting point for the majority of shibari patterns. Single column ties come in many forms, from the traditional boola-boola, or square knot, a granny knot to the more contemporary options of the Somerville Bowline, The Burlington Bowline or the Wykd Fast Bowline.
Often described as a simple tie, the single column is anything but. This fundamental tie is the foundation of many more intricate patterns and should be treated as such. A bad foundation on your house will cause the walls to collapse, and the same principle applies in Shibari, so the single column deserves a great deal of attention to understand its strengths, its weakenesses and its diversity of application.