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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Rope Bottoming Skills: Endurance

en·dur·ance

noun \in-ˈdu̇r-ən(t)s, -ˈdyu̇r-, en-\
Definition of ENDURANCE1: permanence, duration <the endurance of the play's importance>2: the ability to withstand hardship or adversity; especially : the ability to sustain a prolonged stressful effort or activity <a marathon runner's endurance>3: the act or an instance of enduring or suffering <endurance of many hardships>


I think it’s agreed by a majority of rope bottoms that endurance, especially in tricky or stressful positions, is a great skill to have.  Above I posted a basic definition of endurance that I lifted from m-w.com.  I think definition two and three are most applicable.  Or maybe I just really like seeing the word ‘suffering’.

I posed this question to a local rope bottom group:  
How do you increase your endurance when it comes to rope?  Got any tips or tricks?


I just want to comment that my rope bottom community has some amazing bottoms with excellent insight.  The first thing I noticed in every response is that not a single person said “It’s something you either have or you don’t.”  I think it’s very easy for people to give into the idea that you’re either a good rope bottom or you aren’t.   


What I love about endurance is that it’s something that can be built up; it’s a skill that can increase with practice and time.  When I started in bondage, I didn’t have much endurance at all.  I couldn’t maintain stressful positions physically or mentally-- and yes, there is a huge mental component to endurance.  If you practice regularly, you can up your endurance in rope pretty easily.


My community came up with an awesome list of things that really have increased their time in rope.  Here are several awesome tips and tricks that seem to be helping us and I hope they help others as well.



  • Stretching and exercise: Doing regular stretching, yoga and/or exercise helps improve flexibility and health.  A rope bottom doesn’t have to be gumby or all-star athlete Hope Solo, but doing stretches helps warm up the muscles and body before play.  You are more prone to injuries if you haven’t warmed up muscles beforehand.  Exercises that really help with rope bondage (especially suspension) include things that keep you off balanced, like bosu balls, exercise balls and slacklines.  These engage the same core muscles as does a really tough bondage position or suspension.  Tifereth has a whole plethora of exercises that she has demonstrated in her bottoming classes- hopefully, I will be able to put up a post (with visuals) for those interested.  I think Tifereth says it best (paraphrasing), you absolutely cannot hope that your Rigger or Rope Top can cover the deficits in you if you didn’t put work in.  A rope Top puts in hours and hours of work and practice in order to be a safe rigger- who are you to not put your share of work in as well? Yoga also has the added benefit of teaching you how to breathe in difficult positions which brings us to...
  • Breathing: Breathing came up in almost every single response I saw when I posted this question.  Even and slow breathing helps keep the body and mind relaxed.  When I first started in bondage, I was notoriously bad for holding my breath and not being able to prolong a stressful tie. So keeping calm by really regulating breathing patterns is important.  Some people are good at reminding themselves to not hold their breath.  If you ever find yourself in something stressful, it’s always good to take a deep breath in and out and see if that helps.
  • Practice: Practicing in rope lab mode on a fairly regular basis will help your body and mind get used to challenges.  Just like a rigger needs to practice in order to maintain or improve muscle memory and fluidity, a rope bottom needs to practice as well.  Being in lab mode also tends to keep your mind from going into a headspace/subspace because you know you’re practicing and not playing.  I try to practice several times a week, even if it’s something very simple like tying a futomomo on myself.
  • Communication: Learning to communicate is high on almost everyone’s list of good bottoming skills.  Proper communication between a Top and bottom prior, during, and after play will help improve endurance and stamina.  One thing that I cannot stress enough is that asking for a readjustment in rope is not Topping from the bottom! You are being a responsible bottom by letting your Top know that something isn’t right- it’s keeping both of you safe. Communication includes:
    • Communication with the Top: Aside from negotiation--which is such a big topic, it’ll probably be addressed separately-- knowing how to communicate how rope feels on your body and where is important.  Just saying “This hurts a lot!” doesn’t help your Top adjust the tie in order to make it more tolerable.  Learning to identify exactly what doesn’t feel right and expressing it clearly and calmly will do wonders for increasing your longevity in rope.
    • Communication with yourself: I don’t mean talking to yourself persay- it’s more about knowing how to communicate to yourself about where pain is, what kind of pain it is, and how to handle it.  This leads into our next tip...
  • Knowing Your Own Body: There should never be a question when it comes to your health at all.  Grey areas aren’t cool and it isn’t fair to you or your rope Top to come to the table without knowing everything there is to know about yourself.  Several responses included things like knowing what parts of the body are sensitive and being able to communicate that.  Key things that knowing your body will allow you to do include:
    • Creating ties that are tailored to you.  Once you know your body well enough, you can work with a rigger/rope Top in order to create ties that are designed to be challenging to your endurance, but not impossible.  M0co knows I have an extremely hard time with strappados/armbinders, so he and I spent a day testing our various versions to see if there were any types of ties that were more tolerable.  We eventually found a version of strappado that I can actually tolerate.  A rope Top never wants to make a bottom feel like a failure and will be more than happy to work on building up their repertoire.  Plus, it’s kinda cool to have a tie designed specifically for you :)
  • Knowing a good pain from a bad pain. or any sensation for that matter. Understanding what a good pain, a bad pain or an unusual sensation is really important for endurance and prolonging play safely.  In my opinion good pain is one that you enjoy or is tolerable.  It tends to feel pretty terrible at first, but, for lack of a better word, it tends to even out as you stay in it.  A bad pain is something that doesn’t get better with time, need immediate attention and is usually (not always) unexpected. Spiral wrote this awesome explanation of a process called compartmentalization (or fragmentation) that ze uses.
    Basically goes like this: I close my eyes, or just visually focus on nothing in particular, and instead focus on really feeling what's going on in my body. Check to feel my circulation, if anything is too tingly. I check to feel if I'm tensing up in a specific area, and focus on relaxing that area. Check to see (especially in a suspension) if one small area is taking what feels like too much weight or force, and try to adjust my body to make it more evenly distributed. Sometimes I can lean an imperceptible amount in one direction or another and it makes all the difference in the world. Taking little bits of time to focus on each of these small things helps me stay in stressful rope longer in the immediate situation, and also increases my awareness of my body so that in future play, I can recognize certain sensations and either alleviate them myself or alert my top if they become problematic.
     It's important to notice that a lot of what ze is doing is checking in with hir body and communicating with hirself in order to communicate with hir Top, if needed. _Spiral_ needs to know hir body well enough in order to do so.  I use a strategy that’s very similar: when in a stressful tie, I try to do the following:
  • Figure out where the most stress/pain I’m feeling.
  • Gauge on whether this is a good pain or a bad pain.  I usually determine this on whether it’s getting worse with time- a few seconds is all I need to know.
  • If it’s a good pain, I breathe through it.  I use Tifereth’s method of visualizing that I am putting the pain into a box in front of me, where I can see it.  This helps keep me calm.  If it’s a bad pain, I tell my partner as calmly as I can.


I hope that these tips are helpful to those looking to increase their stamina in bondage.  Granted, these aren’t the only ways up endurance, but they are ones that are constantly coming up.  If you have any other tips or tricks, please feel free to add to this list!


Happy bottoming :)

Sunday, September 8, 2013

ROPE MECCA SCHEDULE IS HERE!

With Rope Mecca just over 2 weeks away, I am pleased to present you with the official schedule of events. I’m particularly excited to have three great instructors who have never before taught in the DC/Baltimore area! Our area has seen an explosion of interest in rope bondage, and we're really excited to host the biggest educational event for what I see as arguably the biggest rope-centric city in the USA!



Rope Mecca Schedule of Events
9:00am - 10:00am: REGISTRATION / MEET 'N GREET (60 minutes)
Continental breakfast provided by M0co Jute
10:00am - 11:30am: CLASS SET 1 (90 minutes)
• Class: ve-ra
• Class: -EM-
• Open rope: DonSir
11:30am - 12:00pm: Break (30 minutes)
12:00pm - 1:30pm: CLASS SET 2 (90 minutes)
• Class: ve-ra
• Class: DonSir
• Open rope: -EM-
1:30pm - 3:00pm: Lunch / Break (90 minutes)
• Recommended that students return to GLS by 2:30 and use half hour to prepare for last class set
3:00pm - 4:30pm: CLASS SET 3
• Class: -EM-
• Class: DonSir
• Open rope: ve-ra
4:30pm - 6:00pm: Open Tie / Office hours
• All instructors and TAs available for ad hoc instruction/consultation
6:00pm - 8:00pm:Dinner / GLS Set-up for Kraken's Lair party
•  VENUE CLOSED TO ATTENDEES FOR PARTY SET-UP
8:00pm - 2:00am: Rope Mecca Play Party
Useful links:
You must purchase tickets to ROPE MECCA through Eventbrite.
Informational e-mails will be sent via Eventbrite.
FetLife event page: https://fetlife.com/events/181051
**Don't forget to RSVP using the Fetlife event page!
See ROPE MECCA class descriptions for:
Need a partner? Partner Search Thread!
Don't forget that Indecent Enterprises is giving away free tickets to Rope Mecca at their party on September 14th!
Have you heard about our friend, Rope Mecca? Rope Mecca is an all day and night Rope event that will include classes, discussions, well known riggers from across the country, an opportunity to make your own 20 minute rope demo reel, and plenty of opportunities to try out all your new ties and rope skills! Being such an amazing Friend of Indecent Enterprises, Rope Mecca has agreed to give every person that comes to the Extravaganza a raffle ticket entering them to win a full day Free ticket to Rope Mecca!! (a $100 value)
BADASS members, don't forget that you get $5 off your registration fees! PM M0co if you need more information.icial Ro

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Introduction: Rope Bottoming Skills

[Triggers warning: Feelings of inadequacy, not being good enough]

For the longest time I used get down on myself because I wasn’t flexible to make my elbows touch and since they couldn’t do that, I couldn’t possibly be a good rope bottom. I know dozens of rope bottoms who can’t do suspensions or can’t be in a TK. It makes you feel broken when those are the standards for being a good rope bottom and there’s almost nothing worse than feeling like a broken, untalented rope bottom. It got to the point where I didn’t want to be tied up because I was worried M0co (or any Top) would put me in strappado and watch me fail instantly, realize what I already knew (that I am the worst rope bottom EVER!) and no longer want to play with me.

It look several months (maybe even years) for me to understand that being able to do a certain tie doesn’t you a good or bad rope bottom; it just means you are capable of doing a specific tie. Being small/thin doesn’t make you a good rope bottom; it just means you are small/thin. Being a specific gender doesn’t make you a good rope bottom; it just means you are you. So what does it mean to be a good rope bottom? It means possessing skills like communication, endurance, and knowing your own body and health. It means being willing to put in the work to become better. So, with the help of my awesome rope community, I want to start a series of blogs about these skills, including helpful tips, hints, and ideas that may help a rope bottom better themselves.

Now, these are just some ideas that have worked for rope bottoms in our community. In no way am I saying that these are the ONLY skills or that these are tips you MUST follow. Everybody’s different and things that may work for one may not work for others. Please do not take anything written here as gospel. One of the biggest themes you’ll see in these writings is that YMMV (Your mileage may vary). Rope bottoming is a very personal thing and you should tailor your bottoming in a way that makes you happy and, of course, keeps you safe! That being said, I hope that the writings will be helpful to those out there interested in looking for helpful tidbits.

and please remember: you aren’t broken and you aren’t a bad rope bottom. You’re fabulous :)

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Runner 5, Business Cards and other things

I'm currently starting week four of my Zombies, Run! 5K trainer.  I really hate running with a passion- I'll never understand why people get such joy out of running great distances for no reason (aside from health reasons, I guess).

So what is 'Zombies, Run!'?  It's an android/Apple store app created by Six to Start.


It's pretty ingenious actually: instead of just telling you when to run or walk, this app sets up a detailed story line for you to follow: You are a new arrival to the Abel township after your plane crashes.  In order to get a productive member of this mid-zombie apocalyptic society, you've got to earn your keep.  Several of the runners (i.e. those who run outside of Abel to collect supplies that the township may need) are injured or have been killed off by zombs.  You're to replace Runner Five and Abel begins training you in order to do so.

As someone who hasn't stuck to any 5K program before (and I've tried many) I'm pretty excited I've made it to week four.  I'm about half way through the program I think and I'm running/walking an average of 5K three to five times a week.  I don't really know if I'm getting healthier, but I am having fun, which is rare.  I'm hoping that I can register for Run or Dye or The Electric Run in November,  I really want to say I have a 5K under my belt.  My eventual goal is to do an obstacle race like Warrior Dash (or even Tough Mudder someday!)

We finally got business cards made up thanks to EroticWetAtomic:

I think it was shot down 2-3 times by other companies for being too graphic.  In fact, I'm sure that blogspot will delete this for being too graphic.  We're hoping it brings more traffic to M0cojute.com.  I'm not sure many folks realize M0co's made a website now.  If you run into me or M0co in the near future, please remind us to give you some cards to pass out for us!  It would mean a lot to the both of us.

Vacation went extremely well- lots of sun and relaxation.  We even managed to squeeze in a photoshoot.  Some of the photos came out pretty well.  Here's my favorite:



I absolutely adored the lighting done for this.  It was worth getting sand in places where it didn't belong.