Among many people who are into rope bondage, the definition of the process of their tying is strongly connected with the term communication. Yukimura Haruki himself is talking about three different aspects or key terms of his style. First of them is communication through ropes. When he is asked about the method of communication, he probably tells the picture of those telephones for children made of two cans connected with a string. This telephone only works, if there is tension on the string.
Others believe that a very close distance is necessarry to feel somehow the connection or they have their very special way of communicating with each other. So many postings and discussions are dealing with this term communication through ropes or at least within rope bondage scenes, but very litle is known about the description of this mysterious communication. An often quoted statement is that communication through ropes is like a conversation. A says something, B answers, A answers, and so on and so forth. But in fact, many scenes look like merely monologues. In the following, I will try to give an insight into my personal view.
First of all, the question occours, why there should be any communication and why is it a good and a bad term at the same time to use it for our purposes? I think, although it is very logical, one should mention that it is impossible not to communicate. Taking a broader sense of language, everything can be seen as a symbol, which has a certain meaning to people, depending on the context. If two people sharing the same room and don’t say anything to each other, don’t look at each other, they are communicating among the fact that they are actively ignoring each other. Their behaviour has a certain meaning, a certain history. Two people talking to each other use different symbols, such as words, mimics, gestics etc. for different meanings. And so is tying with each other always full of those symbols. That’s the reason why communication is a good explanation for what we are doing during rope scenes. But it contains already the disadvantage. It contains too much. If an explanation explains everything, it explains nothing. Hence I will come to another obvious fact of tying.
At each point of a rope bondage scene, there is one person who is tying and one person who is tied (For clarity, I want to exclude here some constellations where people are tying each other at the same time like for trying single wrist ties on each others ankles.). Tying is by definition restrictive. Therefore a certain power relationship between the two people involved occours, simply by the fact that the person who is handling the ropes restricts the other person more or less. What is this power relationship? It expresses itself by the different capabillity of the two people of choosing the next steps of the scene. The tying person choose where the scene could lead to. One possible scale is e.g. whether this person ties a TK and makes a suspension or he/she stays on the floor with the person in ropes. On much smaller scales, he/she determines the tension of certain ropes or just put some hair out oft he face. We can summarize the term power by the amount of access to certain (abstract) ressources. The person in ropes has a very restricted access to the choice of planning the next and near future (Obviously, the passive person always has the choice to stop the whole scene!).
The question is, how to combine those two aspects of doing rope bondage? Communication on the one side and power on the other side. On the side of communication, one could imagine tying as a conversation with in- and output of two people. On the side of power one probably thinks about a determined plan in the mind of the active person and no rights on the passive side.
To answer this question, a very personal approach has to be added. I tie not (only) for esthetics and not (only) for my own pleasure and also not (only) for the pleasure of my partner. Without going too much into this topic now, I want to include the esthetics into the pleasure. Then I tie for our pleasure. I want to be satisfied, but I can only be satisfied if my partner is satisfied etc.
Equipped with this main goal of doing rope bondage, one can easily combine the concept of communication with the concept of power relationships by inverting the common use of communication, namely the monologues.
It means to change from a rigger-focused approach to a model-focused approach. In order to combine the communication and the power relationship, I suggest to use the picture of an interview. The tying person interviews the tied person which means that he/she asks questions. As it is common in good interviews, the interviewer directs the talk and chooses the topic. A bad interview is always characterized by too much power of the interviewed person and stupid or useless questions.
The picture of an interview is much more precise than the common picture of a conversation. It allows to implement the needed power relationship.
How can this picture be applied in everydays rope bondage? I recently used it to describe ipponnawa, i.e. the use of one rope only. A monologue would lead to a certain pattern which already existed before the scene. Silly questions would lead to a decrease of pleasure and so would a lack of power of the tying person do. Asking the right questions at the right time and react properly on the answers should be the goal of this exercise and not only of this but of any intelligible rope bondage scenes.