Monday, August 23, 2010

Letters to Monk, Practicing Solo

Monk - I've been following you on twitter and watched most of your vids, so thank you for being such an inspiration!

My question is tied to my circumstances, but it boils down to, how is it possible for a person to start practicing ties and knots *without a partner*?

Yes, the knee-jerk reaction is "find someone to play with!" and thanks, I've read that in every forum I've searched. But sometimes that is not an option, to wit: I live in a small Southern town with no real "scene" to speak of (I know what scene there is here, all three of them); I'm a grad student on a very tight budget, so I can't afford to travel much less pay for shibari clinics/training; I'm recently divorced and very much NOT into developing sexual/romantic relationships with anyone right now. Heck, I barely have time for my friends.

I'm also a bit of a control freak (yes, really) and I don't want to worry about my partner's situation during play while I'm trying to figure out a damn knot.

I've thought about mannequin torsos, life-size rag dolls (not that I've found any), practicing with thin rope on teddy bears...seriously, I've considered options. But surely I'm not the only person in this situation? If you have any advice particular to this, I'd love to hear it. Thank you!

I remember my friend Sam used to practice her ties on the back of a wooden chair. She would joke “If I can top a chair, someday I might be able to work up to a person!”

In all seriousness, this is a common question even for those who have a regular practice partner. Everyone needs to learn the basics, those fumbling first ties can be intimidating and even with your regular lover, who wants to worry about the whole “bunny goes out of the hole, around the tree” thing? No way, you want to do the fun stuff. I’ve seen many a scene become mired and stall due to the top becoming obsessed with the technical and forgetting that there is a living, loving human they are supposed to be interacting with thru the rope.

Here is what I did. Vending at classes and conventions means lots and lots of down time behind the table waiting for classes or end/ vending hours to start / etc. In those days I would pass the time practicing my single and double column ties on my legs. Part of how I developed my own personal style of fast bondage was due to this practice. Over and over, tying the same thing till it was reduced to muscle memory and not something I had to “think” about.

I will pause here and caution, using your legs to practice ties on and “self bondage” are very different things. I am not a fan of self bondage and would urge you to read up on the topic. Some very well informed people have made this argument far better than I.

As for mannequins, rag dolls and stuffed animals? I’ve heard of folks using these methods too. In the end, it is all about rope on the body. Substitutes will help you gain the confidence in your technical ability, but in the end you will want to put that rope to good use on a person.

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Why does Monk have a bruise in the perfect shape on @dynamicload's boot in the center of his chest?

No, no I have not adopted a new fetish for being trampled... although it has been too long since I had a good, old fashioned ass kicking, but I digress. No, the bruises were courtesy of my pal Sophia. We make cool bondage art together, remember SEAF? Since then we have been experimenting with more and more dynamic bondage. Both experienced riggers, the focus is less on how is the "top" vs. "bottom" and more on how can we fuse our mutual love of movement and our love of rope to do something that is more like a dance than a suspension scene.

This took shape that afternoon, it was a sort of "Hey, what would happen if we both put on hip harnesses and tried to dance?

Keep in mind kids before you attempt this at home. We are both very experienced riggers and very in touch with what our bodies can and cant do. Suspension bondage it dangerous, add dynamic movement and positions that draw core strength the potential for injury is huge.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Today would have been my Grandfather's birthday. I wrote this blog post about him and our shared birthdays back in 2004. It stands as one of my favorite stories and still makes me tear up.
The Year I Turned 12, Twice

Today, 6 years after first posting this tale, I still miss that old cuss. He never got to meet Tambo or Matisse. Of all my family, I think he would have been the only one who "got" what it is I have done with my life, my loves and my future.

Our family was not wealthy, in fact we were much the opposite. Of my grandfather I only have his hunting rifle, that deck of cards and my memories.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

There is a fresh podcast, courtesy of my ever awesome lover Mistress Matisse. She doles out wisdom while I make silly voices and keep her well stocked in diet Mountain Dew. Enjoy!


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

This is what 40 looks like. Long way from Monk at 30, huh? A lot has changed in those 10 years, makes me look forward to seeing what the next 10 will hold.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Little Red Studio Performance: Jul.23.10
One of the things I love about working with the folks at the Little Red Studio in Seattle is the flexibility and creativity they grant me when I perform. I can come in, armed with an idea, a bottom and they tell me "take 15 minutes, open the show, have fun."

These are from an areal dance piece that I've been playing with.

This is Firebug, until this show she had NEVER been in they air with me before. This act was built the afternoon of the show.

Of course, the required "menacing rope top", I'm really enjoying the rigging in a mask look. Felt like some kind of comic book villain.

She looked like she was having too much fun to not join her.

And no performance is complete with out Monk's signature, "carry her off in the ropes" finish.

All photos by Charlie Noble, thanks again to Firebug and to LRS for hosting.

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Friday, August 06, 2010

The Mexican Beer Story

I got a ton of requests last week after my last video post to explain why getting Mexican beer made me laugh like a psychotic loon. In this video I do my best to retell the story, of course this was after having a few said beers. Please exuse the video/audio quality as I was attempting an experiment. Shooting a clip at the cafe where I and my charming lunch companion were spending a long afternoon being. Well being naughty, I'll leave it at that.

Monk's Video Blog: The Mexican Beer Story from Twisted Monk on Vimeo.