Topologist is the founder of Crash Restraint, a free online instructional database of over 200 ties, and creator of the Core Rope Curriculum, a modern educational system for bondage built from the ground up for safety, diversity, and effectiveness. He has invented numerous new techniques, most famously the Somerville Bowline, which since its introduction in 2009 has become perhaps the most widely taught tie of non-Japanese origin. He is the facilitator of Rope Bite SF, and has taught hundreds of rope classes at home in San Francisco and throughout North America.
In teaching rope, Topologist also draws upon his expertise as a photographer, engineer, climber, yogi, and aerialist; he encourages students to explore the mechanics, aesthetics, and experience of bondage from multiple angles, simultaneously developing muscle memory, intuition, and rational understanding. His classes are intensively hands-on while being structured to support multiple learning styles. Topologist's non-dogmatic approach to rope places risk awareness and adaptability at the center of the process, allowing challenging ties to be performed while honoring a bottom's limitations and avoiding unnecessary hazards.
Note: I am constantly coming up with new material, and am also happy to rearrange the content in any of my existing classes to tailor something to a particular timeslot and audience. If you are interested in having me present, please view these more as examples of what I could teach, than a fixed list that you have to pick from.
All classes are hands-on unless otherwise noted.
And by "hands-on" I don't mean 10 min of unstructured practice tacked onto a 50 min lecture; I generally aim to have students with rope in hand for pretty much the entire class period.
Conducting Hands-on Workshops
Not every great practitioner is also a great teacher. In order to conduct effective workshops, one must not only be an expert in the topic at hand, but also possess the pedagogical skills to effectively transmit that expertise to others. This class is a hands-on workshop in conducting hands-on workshops, taught through the lens of rope but applicable to instructing a wide range of skills. We'll break down a variety of demonstration and practice methodologies, discuss adapting material for different audiences, and illuminate common pitfalls and their antidotes.
Requirements: Comfort with basic rope handling to attend; expert level knowledge of something to apply
Suspension Rescue and Self-Rescue
So now you know how to suspend. But if something goes wrong, do you know how to handle it? On the floor, almost every emergency can be solved with a pair of safety shears. In the air, cutting ropes is rarely the best solution. This class will provide you with an opportunity to participate in guided simulations of various suspension emergencies and practice safely extricating your bottom. We'll discuss how to prepare for emergencies, but also what to do when caught unprepared. Bottoms will also be encouraged to learn to safely extricate themselves if their top is incapacitated, and given a chance to practice doing so.
Requirements: Ability to safely and comfortably suspend in a face up or sitting position
Suspension Rescue for DMs
While the best advice for a Dungeon Monitor who does not rig themselves on how to get someone out of suspension is "don't", there may not always be an alternative. This special version of the Suspension Rescue class is for DMs without a strong rope background to learn enough to have a fighting chance if they ever need to get someone out of a suspension without an experienced rigger present. Participants will practice one at a time, under supervision, on actual suspended volunteers.
A Chest-Loading Takate-Kote
Takate-kotes (box ties) have many benefits, but one very significant drawback, especially for suspension: the high risk of injury where the rope passes near vulnerable nerves in the arms. This class presents a modified tie that maintains the look, feel, and functionality of the takate-kote, but redirects most of the load during suspensions onto the torso, away from the arms, reducing the risk of nerve injury, and (for many bottoms) significantly increasing comfort and the duration sustainable in the tie.
Requirements: Proficiency with traditional Takate-kotes; Four 20-30' ropes
One of the most common questions I hear from riggers just beginning to suspend is how to actually attach and secure support lines on the beautiful harnesses they have tied. This class focuses entirely on the support line: methods for attaching with and without carabiners, attaching to multiple points on a harness, gaining effective mechanical advantage for lifting, securing lines, and considerations for varying rope materials. May be interesting to advanced students as well, if they are not familiar with some of the more unusual techniques I use.
Requirements: Ability to tie basic hip and chest harnesses for suspension, the rope you need to tie them, and a couple extra carabiners beyond any you use on/as your ring
This class is intended for those with advanced floor skills who are just beginning to suspend, as well as those with an active suspension practice looking to expand their repertoire. Because almost all beginning to intermediate suspensions use the hips as the primary load-bearing point, a profusion of different hip harnesses have been developed to suit various applications and preferences. In this class, we'll tie a variety of designs, and discuss their relative merits for different types of suspensions, as well as the impact of different ways of attaching support lines to each.
Requirements: Solid understanding of larks-head/half-hitch-based column ties; Two 25-40' lengths of rope
The Second Column
The first thing most of us learn in rope classes is how to perform a single column tie – allowing you to take one limb, and attach a line to it that can be tied off to something. The next topic is often two-column ties; how to attach two limbs together that are already touching, or close to touching.
Those two techniques cover a very wide swath of the situations encountered in general bedroom bondage. However, there is a third common situation that receives a lot less attention – what happens when you've got a single column around a limb, and then want to attach it to another limb that is NOT adjacent? And what if that first limb you've got is being held up by the line, or at the limit of its flexibility, or jerking about trying to get away from you? Normal one- and two-column ties tend not to serve well in this type of scenario; what's needed is a tie designed specifically for that pesky second column.
This class covers two such ties I've developed: the Reverse Somerville Bowline, and the Slipped Overhand Cuff. We'll practice and discuss how to apply these in different second-column scenarios, and how to identify when and which one is called for.
Requirements: Ability to perform single column ties; Two 25-35' lengths of rope
One of the fun things about floorwork is that when there's no chance of falling, you can feel more free to make things up on the fly, without worrying about whether every component of a tie is bombproof. On the other hand, after spending 15 minutes tying a brilliantly artistic and complex flight of fancy, it's kind of disappointing if your bottom just shrugs right out of it because their nose itched. This class provides an opportunity to focus on honing the inescapability of unstructured floor ties through guided hands-on exercises, along with some general tips and tricks.
Requirements: At least 50' of rope, in lengths you prefer
The Somerville Bowline
This class focuses on performing one- and two-column limb ties with the Somerville Bowline, a universal column tie that is as fast as the traditional "Boola Boola", but safe to use in a wider variety of applications, and more appropriate for bedroom bondage. Several different approaches to constructing the tie will be covered, as well as how to adapt the Somerville Bowline for non-columnar ties, quick-release variants, and the Reverse Somerville Bowline.
Requirements: One 25'+ length of rope
Karadas, rope dresses, decorative body harnesses – whatever you want to call them, this category of ties is one of the most popular starting points in rope, and for good reason: they are easy to learn, pleasing to behold, and are as comfortable for extended wear as they are unintimidating to first-time bottoms. But Karadas also have amazing versatility; beyond being decorative, they can be made restrictive, used for pain or pleasure, even suspension. This class will focus on a variety of designs suitable for beginners, while also touching on some of those hidden depths.
Requirements: 50' of rope in one or two lengths
Bedroom Bondage for Beginners
The possibilities for what you can do with rope are endless, and there are a mind-boggling variety of techniques available. If what you want to do is restrain someone on a bed for sex, however, a few very simple ties are all you need, and that is the focus of this class. We'll cover basic wrist, ankle, and chest ties, using a few fundamental knots that will allow you to build up to more complex designs as you gain experience tying. This class is for those new to rope who want to develop an in-depth practice, but also want to start having hot rope scenes right away.
Requirements: Four 20'+ lengths of rope
All the Bondage You Need for Hot Bedroom Scenes
Learning to tie is a journey that can last a lifetime. But if that's not the journey you're on, a few quick ties can provide all the hot, restrained bedroom play you're ever likely to need. This class is about how to incorporate rope into your sex life without months of practice and training. We will cover a single easy column tie, and explore how to use it in different combinations and positions to facilitate various types of play.
Requirements: Four 20'+ lengths of rope
The 4-Poster Challenge
When we go to classes and events, we tend to see bondage done on conference room floors, on chairs, tables; spanking benches, crosses, suspension frames. But the one thing we almost never get to practice together is the exact situation that's most frequently needed for getting it on at home – tying someone to a bed.
In this class, you will have a chance to practice your rope skills on a simulated 4-post bed. We will divide into groups, and be given assignments for what activity is the goal we're imagining that we are tying for (e.g. "ready to be spanked"). Each group will then have several minutes to implement a creative solution, after which we'll get a chance to see what the other groups came up with, then switch roles and try a new assignment.
I will also cover some quick tips on how to tie onto beds that don't actually have posts on the bedframe.
Note: Singles, couples who only tie with one another, and everyone else should feel welcome. While this is a group activity, it is structured so that you do NOT need to tie or be tied by strangers in order to participate. Everyone will get to choose who they are tied by, or whether to be tied at all.
Requirements: Plenty of rope; rope that you can easily identify as yours is best
The Core Rope Curriculum contains over 60 hours worth of instructional material, much of it not covered in the conference-oriented classes listed above; I'm always happy to put together a new/custom class around any of the topics covered by CRC.
(ideas I will write up a longer description for if someone is interested)
Crotch-Ropes for Mobility and Immobility
Sometimes a crotch rope is tied to making moving around more fun; sometimes it is to strongly discourage moving around. This class explores some techniques for both, and how they can be integrated into larger ties.
Advanced Rigger Challenge
Suspension game challenging riggers to find solutions to moving a bottom through a set series of positions, while remaining in the air.
Photographic Lighting Lab
Hands-on workshop to help aspiring studio photographers learn to see and manipulate light better.