Felix Dartmouth’s Shibari blog

Welcome to my shibari blog.  There is no commercial content on this site.  If available, my commercial site (Archives BBS) is located at www.archw.com. I have a keen interest in shibari and have turned my attention from the fetish-oriented photography and video of Archives BBS to actual shibari practice.

Rope Bondage Capture the Flag

Rope Bondage Capture the Flag – 10/26/2018

The following is an idea for an adult recreational game based on the “camp” game of “Capture the Flag” that I participated in as a youth in various summer camps.  As described below, this variation is obviously for adult participants. I would be interested in actually organizing and playing this game. It would seem that this game could be played in a league format, similar to the way amateur soccer, tennis and other sports are organized.

It’s all the in spirit of fun and recreation, with a kink twist!

Rope Capture the Flag is a competitive group game played outside on a field.  The object of the game is to “capture” the flag of the opposing team, and return it to your own goal.

The field of play can be a soccer field, a football field, or actually any field.  It can be also played in the woods, or even in an urban environment. The suggested length of the field of play should be at least 50 yards, and no more that 200 yards.  The width of the field of play should be proportional to a soccer or a football field. If a player is “out of bounds”, they must return to their goal area.

The field is divided into two halves, one half belonging to the HOME team and the other belonging to the VISITING team.  There is a clearly defined halfway line. At the far end of each half of the field is a GOAL area. The Flag will be placed in the GOAL area.  The flag must be big enough to be plainly visible over the entire playing area.

Adjacent to the GOAL area is the JAIL.  The JAIL is where prisoners are kept captive, usually tightly bound and and foot, perhaps hogtied.

Every player wears a bandanna in their belt.  When a HOME team member is in the VISITING team territory, they may be captured, tied up with rope and taken to the VISITING team’s jail.  Also, when a VISITING team member is in the HOME team territory, they may be captured, tied with rope and taken to the HOME team’s jail.

A HOME or VISITING team member is “safe” in their own territory – they may not be captured.

Players – a player may be a man or a woman.  Teams will wear identifying jerseys or bandannas.  Skills that will benefit a player is a reasonable ability to run, and an ability to tie with rope.  There can be varied numbers of players on each team, but the number of players on each team should be even.  The play is most interesting if there are 9 or more players per team.

Specialty positions:

Jailer – the jailer is responsible for the prisoners.  They will ensure they remain bound, and don’t escape. If a prisoner escapes, and makes it “out of bounds”, they may return to their own goal.  The jailer may capture, but is exempt from capture themselves, due to remaining in their own territory.

Goalie – the goalie is the final defense against the taking of the flag.  They may capture any “enemy” player, but they may be overwhelmed by to many enemy players.  The goalie may capture, but is exempt from capture themselves, due to remaining in their own territory.

Runners – All other players may either advance on the other team’s flag, or may defend the territory of their own flag.

Referee – This is a safety officer and a person who arbitrates line disputes and compliance with captivity rules.  They can stop play, and restart play, and reset all players back to their own flag goal area. The referee will see that no “tackling” takes place, and that players submit to being tied after their bandanna is pulled.

Capturing a player:

When a player is in the opposing territory, advancing on the opposition’s flag, they are subject to capture.  If their bandanna is pulled from their belt, they must submit to having their hands tied and escorted to the jail of the capturing team.  At the jail, they will be tied up hand and foot by the jailer. A player may not resist capture, for safety reasons.

Escaping from Jail – if a player escapes from bondage in the jail they may enter the out of bounds area and walk or run back to the touchback” area at their home flag.  Both hands and feet must be untied and the prisoner must be completely free of rope to escape. They may then re-enter the game.

Jailbreak – if the Jail is left unguarded, an enemy player may approach the jail and untie a prisoner from his own team, who may then enter the out of bounds area and return to their own flag goal, re-entering play.  Both hands and feet must be untied and the prisoner must be completely free of rope to escape. The enemy player is subject to capture at any time.

Victory is attained when the opposing team’s flag is captured and taken back to your own team’s goal.

Game and Match

A Game is won when the flag is returned to the opposing player’s goal.  A Match consists of the best 2 of 3, or 3 of 5 games.

Example of play 1:

There are 9 players on each team, with a mix of male and female players.  All 9 players begin at their goal. 7 players, runners, begin to advance to the halfway line.  All players are safe as they approach this line. Players spread out along this line, trying to figure out how to best attack the opposing goal and flag.  One girl, from the HOME team, who is a particularly fast runner, runs over the halfway line toward the opposing team’s goal. This takes the VISITING team by surprise and they begin to run after her.  She is very fast, however, and outruns them, and quickly approaching the goal. The goalie runs forward, leaving the flag unprotected and runs forward to meet her.

He grabs the bandanna out of her belt.  She is captured. Watching his flag carefully, he quickly binds her hands, and turns her over to the jailer, who ties her feet and hogties her in the jail.

While this is happening, three members of the VISITING team advance on the HOME goal, but are met with 5 of the 6 remaining runners of the HOME team, who are able to take these three VISITING team members prisoner.  They are quickly bound and turned over to the jailer, who ties their legs. The remaining VISITING team members retreat to their territory.

The referee ensures that the three VISITING team members comply with being bound as prisoners.

All the players take stock of what is happening, remaining in their own home territory.  There are 3 VISITING team members bound at the HOME jail, and there is 1 HOME team member bound in the VISITING jail.

The HOME team woman, bound in VISITING team jail wriggles free of her ropes.  Having escaped her bondage, she stands up and makes it out of bounds, and runs back to her HOME goal post, she puts her bandana in her belt, reentering play.  

Now there is now an imbalance of team members.  Since 9 people started on each team, and 3 of the VISITING team members have been captured, there are 7 runners on the HOME team and only 4 runners on the VISITING team.

Led by the girl who had previously been captured, all 7 HOME team members rush the opposing goal.  There is melee as some of them are captured, but the girl who is the fastest runner makes it past the goalie, grabs the flag and easily runs back across the halfway line, returning the VISITING team flag to the HOME goal area.

HOME team has won that game.

Example of play 2:

The HOME team all lines up on the halfway line (7 members).  Anticipating a blitz, the VISITING team positions 4 members close to the halfway line, 2 members at the midpoint of the VISITING territory, and 1 member just before the goalie.

As the 7 members of the HOME team rush, 3 are captured immediately but the 4 members of the advance VISITING guard, and 2 members are captured by the VISITING members at the midpoint.  One member of the HOME team sees that things are hopeless and retreats to her own territory, and the second remaining member is captured by the goalie.

All the captured members of the home team are bound, and escorted to the VISITING jail and tightly tied up.

Now there remain only 3 HOME team members and 9 VISITING team members.  The VISITING team lines up at the halfway point and with 7 runners blitzes the HOME team, easily captures the flag, and returns to their own goal.

VISITING team has won that game

Play continues until a Match is completed.

Triumphal March (optional) – when either the HOME or VISITING team has completed the required number of games to complete a Match.  The victorious team will bind the hands of the defeated team and form a coffle of rope between the throats of the defeated team, and lead them from their goal, to their own goal, symbolizing the capture of the defeated team.

Who wants to play?

 

Notes on bondage negotiation style

The following is my response to a woman’s post on her negotiation style, which was very thorough and well-considered:

 

I wish everyone had such a clear and logical negotiation structure!

I completely agree with you that a checklist is not only a complete waste of time, but I also think it’s somewhat abusive. Asking a potential play partner to checkoff that she consents in advance to a certain type of touching, bruising, or sexual act before a scene is completely unwarranted and off-putting. For instance:

https://www.scribd.com/document/163631556/BDSM-Chec…

Just the first 5 lines include “Anal Play” and then “Anal Plugs, small, medium and large”. So, let me get this straight, I’m at HEAT in the snack room, and I ask a woman with whom I’m interested in doing a rope scene, with maybe some mild impact play, who I’ve just met, to fill out and email to me this comprehensive and edgy list of sexual acts?

I would rightly be disqualified by asking them to even consider this.

On the other side of the coin, a good negotiation process like yours assures that things you enjoy are considered and included. For instance, if we negotiated a rope scene with a partial and maybe a full suspension, and didn’t talk about impact play, who would I know that impact play was something you enjoyed within certain limits?

What if you enjoyed breath play, and that was also something I really enjoyed and was skilled at? If no one brings it up, it would probably be excluded.

Another example is hair tying and “pulling”. Some bottoms absolutely love it, and others find it extremely annoying and a complete buzzkill.

Also, if we did a rope scene, but you have found suspension painful in the past, a rope scene could be negotiated, which didn’t include suspension, and time wouldn’t be spent in the scene trying to execute a suspension that you didn’t enjoy, and could be frustrating for the top. I am increasingly aware that precious scene time shouldn’t be spent trying to get someone in the air, when there are plenty of other fun bondage activities that can be engaged in on the ground or with partials.

I have seen tops negotiate from the viewpoint of “get them to agree to a wide set of parameters and then really push within those as far as possible” or “unless you specifically exclude something, I consider it something I can do”. This negotiation style I believe is meant to “trick” the sub into being abused, and then when they object during or after, the top can say “well, you said”, or “well, you didn’t say”.

I think your thorough negotiation style will ward off this type of “pushy” style simply by good communication that’s in writing on a message thread.

Now, there has to be a reasonableness on the part of the bottom in a scene as well. For instance, if you agree to a bondage scene, and talk about an arm-binder and a partial suspension, and the top ties the bottom’s ankles, which is reasonable in a bondage scene, and the sub says “I didn’t say you could tie my ankles”, that is a type of abusive withdrawal of permission on the side of the bottom.

I have seen something like this happen at least once, but it is rare, because of course, the top is vested with the physical power in the scene. I

For pick-up play, which I do quite often at Houston venues, there is not the luxury of a written record, or a carefully planned scene. There is also not the luxury of a “scene appointment” where one plans out a time and a venue.

I love the idea of a well negotiated scene, with a good set of parameters, that is planned out for a certain time in a certain venue!

You mention 20 minutes of negotiation for pick-up play. I wish! I often have less than 5 minutes to discuss a potential scene, the expectations of the bottom, such as “I want to be suspended”.

While this is fun and challenging to pull off a good scene, suspending such a partner is very often NOT a great first scene between rope partners.

It would be a pleasure to play with someone who had the thoughtfulness to invest the discussion time for a really great scene, and really, even more important than that, be able to say to themselves afterwards, “that was a great scene! I really want to make sure we play together again, maybe at HPEP next month. I’m going to txt him and see if he’s going and available!”

After all, in Houston, even though it’s a big community, we all see each other all the time. People in Houston tend to stay here, and what could be more fun than to have wonderful partners that you can play with on an advanced level?

Your negotiation style helps not only keep you safe, and enjoying wonderful play, but if more people engaged in this type of negotiation, everyone would have better play!

Shibari at “Neon Boots” Southmore House “Naked Tuesdays”

Sometimes it’s fun to play in an “uncontrolled” environment – no dungeon monitors, unvetted guests, vanillas, alcohol, drugs, shaky and uncertain equipment, hosts without knowledge of the scene, gawkers completely unschooled in kink, insufficient space for backswings, loud music so you can’t hear your sub (well that’s usual anyway), horrible lighting (well that’s usual anyway).

It makes the play edgier, give the top WAY more to handle. Dealing with a boorish aggressive drunk is probably the most difficult of challenges. I have tied in semi-vanilla settings, but I had a great tripod, which formed kind of a natural perimeter. My difficulty not a drunken male, but a drunken femme friend of my “pick-up” sub, who was perfectly sober, had her own shibari hemp and wanted a suspension experience. Another actor in the scene was her boyfriend, also sober who had participated in our pre-scene negotiations.

The scene started off very well, the tying went well, and her rope was from the same rope company (DeGiotto) that I use, so I knew it’s length and properties very well. We were kneeling, and I had just finished her TK (she was going into sub-space) and was tying on her uplines when her girlfriend came up, smoking (yuk), and started talking to her and gave her a smoke. Naturally, I was stunned and horrified.

(Oh, this was a predominantly gay country-western bar on the outskirts of Houston and there were at least 60 people in close proximity to the tripod).

My sub handled this – coming out of subspace, she politely told her friend to step back – I was very grateful. She (and I) regained our composure and got her into the air in an easy face-down TK “donkey-kick”. My sub was deep in bottom-space, swinging easily and securely without stress. I did a hair-tie back to her ankles for a sort of suspended hogtie. She was up an easy 10 minutes, with frequent checks of grip, wrist strength, etc.

This was one of the few times where I felt like my check-ins interfered with my bottom’s sub-space. She had a body that was made for suspension and all the TK ropes fell in good places. It was just a great tie where everything worked out the first time.

I decided it was time to bring her down and back to reality.

I got her down and seated, still very much in space, and sure enough, here comes her friend, smoking of course! Chatter, chatter, chatter. “oh my god, that was so great, can I try it, can I try it”. I told her yes, but we needed to finish. She wouldn’t step back, so I blindfolded my sub with a Japanese tengu (which I didn’t make it back home with) and that helped right away.

Many unschooled vanillas think that as soon as you come down, or stop impact, the scene is over.

My sub didn’t want to be taken out of her TK (she was tied in her ropes, after all). We had a very minimum of aftercare (like 5 minutes). I sent her off with her boyfriend and untied her about 10 minutes later.

My mistakes:

1. not insisting she be fully untied before I relinquished “custody” of her. If she had tripped or somehow hurt herself, it would definitely have been my fault. She was fine, sober, but in retrospect, this was my biggest blunder. A friend pointed this out to me afterward, for which I am grateful.

2. not appointing her boyfriend as a dungeon monitor. He was sober and sitting close by in a chair watching the whole scene. He just had not been given instructions by me to guard the play space.

3. tying there in the first place. Well, it was a rope event, and it was fun, the sub enjoyed it, her boyfriend enjoyed it, and I’ll bet her smoking and inebriated friend enjoyed it, too. Pick-up play is high-risk. Oh, I enjoyed it.

4. not establishing a “perimeter” with rope, bystanders, etc. I could have easily done this.

5. I’m used to tying in protected environments – defined play spaces, dungeon monitors, knowledgeable bystanders, sturdy equipment, people who know CPR and first aid, etc.

Would I do it again? Absolutely! It was one of my best scenes ever. I wish I knew the bottom’s name – I’m not even sure she’s on Fetlife. She was wonderful, her boyfriend was polite and respectful, and they were both grateful for the scene, and so was I.

On the difference between Japanese and Western Bondage

I responded to an extensive post about the difference between Japanese and Western Bondage.  I am not reproducing their post, but in my opinion, it didn’t cover a key characteristic, which I am remarking on below:

I looked through the above responses, but I don’t think I found the following technical points that I see as the key differences between shibari and “western bondage”.

The tying in Shibari almost always starts at the “bight” of the rope, forming a single column tie around a limb. From this point, the doubled rope will form a pattern, such as a TK, a futo, a karada, etc. Because a single column tie will not collapse on itself and compress the limb, and because a doubled rope wrapping necessarily has more surface area than a single rope, shibari has a more “huggy” feeling that western rope application, in my opinion. This is often evidenced when I tie a new bottom in a TK and they remark, “This feels really good!”

By contrast, many western ties often begin either with a larks head, where the line has to be drawn all the way through the bight of the rope, which is awkward and time-consuming, and can effect rope burn, or a tie can start in the middle of a length of rope, and then individual lines are wrapped in opposition, and after a certain amount of wrapping, the opposing ropes are joined with some type of knot, such as a square knot.

You will almost never see a Japanese tier pulling 15 feet of doubled rope through a larks head, wasting time, boring the bottom, and risking rope burn.

In shibari, “knots” are really not that much of a thing. Sure, the single column tie and the double column tie does involve a knot, but ties usually finish with a “hitch”, and not a “knot”. Rather, “frictions” are used at key junctions to maintain the integrity of the bondage structure.

Properly done, a larks head start can be made to be non-collapsible, but I find that many ropesters will omit this very important step because they have not been taught how and are just going on the seat of their pants. So, many ties will begin with a collapsible band, crushing down on the column. Not good.

Another characteristic of western bondage, which I consider very disadvantageous, is that many Western tiers will “cinch” between two columns, which is taught in the Boy Scouts in the “lashing” instruction, which is used in building camp-sites, etc. Lashing between the wrists is a perfect way to cut off circulation and people who conceive of two wrists crossed behind the back as a pair of sticks to be lashed together, can cause considerable harm, and the tie will lack sustainability.

It’s not much fun playing in bondage when your wrists get tingly, and you have to ask your partner to release you after a few minutes.

Again, by contrast, a well-placed TK, or double-column tie behind the back can be sustained for a very long, time, making for fun and extended play, possibly in the hours. And, well-placed single column ties on the wrists and ankles can make for an extremely sustainable spread-eagle on a bed, again, sustainable for hours.

I guess you can tell which I prefer, no sense hiding it. I’m always ready to hear arguments to the contrary, however.”

Witnessing an intense tickling scene

I have to agree that is indeed a great story.

I witnessed a tickling scene that affected me emotionally it was so intense and amounted to a type of torture that contrasted markedly with the serene shibari rope suspension scenes that I am used to.

The young lady (whom I had recently met and consider a friend) was strapped to a tickle board by leather straps at her ankles, knees, waist, above her breasts. Her legs were spread wide.

Her arms were up to either side of her head, strapped at her elbows and wrists. There was no leather strap at her throat, and she was not gagged.

The tickling started at her feet at first very slowly and moved up. Apparently, the person who had negotiated for the tickling scene knew exactly what he was doing.

Soon she was writhing in agony, screaming and gasping for breath, completely pinned by her straps, which had no give whatsoever. The actual tickling continued for a full 45 minutes. The tickler was extremely skilled, bring her to extreme peaks and then allowing her to recover, so that the tickling could begin again.

I was genuinely concerned for her well-being and safety, but we were in a venue where safeword protocols were strictly in place, and there was had no indication that she had called a safeword.

Her arms were unstrapped, and then her wrists were strapped together and pulled up above her head, exposing her underarms. As the tickling continued, she began to jerk in a convulsive manner barely able to scream.

Finally, it stopped. She was slowly unstrapped and taken to a nearby bed for aftercare. She was clearly exhausted; totally spent. I think she received excellent aftercare that allowed her to return to reality and physically recuperate at least partially from the ordeal.

I had to question my own reaction. I was emotionally completely spent – I felt she had been taken extreme advantage of, even though there was no safewording and I knew the scene had been carefully negotiated. Thus, I couldn’t square my feeling she had been taken advantage of with what I knew to be the structure of negotiation and consent that was in place.

I would say my experience with this type of scene (as an onlooker) is moderate to advanced. I have watched very intense impact scenes, and I adore shibari.

This tickling scene, however, was the most torturous scene I have ever witnessed.

I kept my emotions inside, hopefully, appropriately so. I contacted my friend afterward and expressed my concern, but didn’t receive an answer.

One of the things we say here is “Go get a cookie”. I was not a DM there, just an onlooker. I never heard a safeword, either a “yellow” much less a “red”. They say if a scene is too intense for you as an onlooker, go get a cookie. This indeed was my “go get a cookie” moment.

Mechanical lifting advantage: Jute or Hemp?

(posted in the “shibari” group on Fetlife 8/10/2018)

When lifting either partial or full body weight, using a ring, and an Austrailian bight, I have never had difficulty achieving reasonable lift without using carabiners or pulleys. I had been using jute, which has been well treated and used over the past year or so, but not at all worn out.

Recently, I have had experiences where I was pulling up a hip harness, after a TK was locked off, and haven’t been able to achieve lift. Things just seemed stuck. I carefully examined the ropes I was pulling up on, and the rope that went down to the Y-attachment to the hip harness, making sure it was not jammed in any way, and everything seemed good, but I wasn’t getting the “mechanical advantage” of lift.

The weight/size of my bottoms has been not a factor in this difficulty. I am a fairly strong and fit person.

Then, it occurred to me that I had switched from jute to hemp for my uplines, reasoning that hemp is higher rated for strength. That switch was where this problem first began.

Is this a thing? Hemp is more “floppy” and “frictiony”. Maybe the jute, which is stiffer, lends itself to achieving this mechanical advantage.

(Note that I never, ever, ever rely on a single line to lift a tying partner!)

I am really loth to use mechanical devices, like carabiners or pulleys near the body, and stick to strictly natural Japanese technique. The downside of using these devices is obvious from a safety standpoint – they release suddenly and catastrophically. (Of course, I know it’s always up to me to keep the “brakes” on).

I frequently tie on a single right, using 3 – 4 uplines. I want to be able to easily raise/lower and then raise again any part of the body, or the entire body, confidently and smoothly, so the experience of my partner is serene and fulfilling.

Should I go back to jute for uplines?

Has anyone else had difficulty with hemp achieving mechanical lifting advantage or should I look somewhere else for the problem?

Rope Drop – dealing with it

Call it rope drop, bottom drop, top drop (this one rhymes!) whatever you call it, it’s a real bummer!

Have you ever had this happen?

(switching to 2nd person writing, which I almost never do)

You go to a weeknight tying event.  You meet a great friend a do a scene onstage.  You’re in a great mood, she’s in a great mood. The rope co-operates, the scene is hot, the patterns work well, and the imagination is firing on all cylinders.  Suspensions work, ground-play works, you have a great connection and intimacy, both sexy and fun! So much laughing, enjoyment, and pure bliss!

It’s a great night!  Great pictures, compliments from onlookers, you’re on cloud 9, and so is your partner!

Sure, you’re out a little late, but there was no alcohol involved and you feel great the next morning – you practically wake up glowing.  That next day you exchange texts with your rope partner about the great time and talk about which ties you liked best and how wonderful the whole night was.  All the next day, you are practically floating! Continue reading “Rope Drop – dealing with it”

Strappado Armbinder

I recently was asked to assist in a photo shoot in Houston Texas.

Model (Instagram - sweet_amber_xoxo) bound in strappado armbinder.
Model (Instagram – sweet_amber_xoxo) bound in strappado armbinder.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is another image:

Amber in Strappado Armbinder, image by Mark Richard Hudson
Amber in Strappado Armbinder, image by Mark Richard Hudson, bondage by felixdartmouth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Discussion:

I had been interested to try a shibari strappado armbinder that I had seen described in the following YouTube video:

I found this video interesting because of the “fast” nature of the tie and the difference between this method of executing a shibari strappado and other methods that I have been taught.  Notice that Moco Jute describes this as a tie for persons with “limited flexibility”.

A common element in this tie described in the Moco Jute video and the tie I did for the shibari shooting is the single column tie to start the tie at the wrists, behind the back, but it quickly departs in method from that point.  4 – 5 wraps are made around the arms and then secured over the shoulders and behind the neck.  From that point, the line is simply used to gather the line between the arms, pulling them together.  Having practiced this only once before the image above, I ran into problems with having a band near the bottom’s “funny bone” and my partner and I had to consequently quit the tie.

In the case of the model Amber, her arms and elbows were very surprisingly flexible.  Her elbows and forearms could easily touch behind her back so after the horizontal bands were made around her arms, the loops between the arms, gathering the bands pulled her arms completely together and hardly left room for inserting additional loops.  As you can see, the tie is extremely strict and restrictive.

There are many women for whom a classic takate kote is not accessible for various physical reasons, but there is no reason why they should be deprived of the tight and fulfilling bondage experience that they and their partners desire.

Please feel free to comment below your own experiences.