A Chest-loading Takate Kote
Important Update: There is a newer version of this tie published; this article is of purely historical interest.
There is some debate in the community over the relative safety of the takate kote for suspension; regardless of how you feel about that, you may find these variations useful. The general idea is that by adding a few well-placed knots, suspension load can be shifted from the arms to the chest, while maintaining the general look, feel, and experience of a normal TK. Most bottoms seem to find this more comfortable, and my hope is that it will prove safer.
First of all, watching these videos does not make you qualified to do this tie. These are intended for an audience already familiar and comfortable with tying and suspending with TKs; no attempt is made to cover the general safety information necessary to use these responsibly.
Second, while I have solicited feedback from a number of other riggers, and done extensive testing on a small number of bottoms, TKs are complex ties, these variations are new, and there may be hidden dangers which won't come to light until they are used with a particular bottom or in a special situation. So don't just take my word for it that they work; pay attention, communicate with your bottom, etc. Adapt them as necessary; no TK works for everybody.
Most importantly, don't let the chest-loading aspect lull you too much into complacency; placement of the arms wraps is still important, and radial nerve injury is still possible; most especially, on the ground, someone can injure themselves struggling in these just as easily as in any TK.
Also, some thanks:
To RopeBoi and Ay for beta testing and encouragement; to Amy Morgan for showing me how to do the original long version without making a total mess; to Mike West for showing me the trick for making the overhands in the short version; and most especially to Nell, for hour upon hour of patient testing and feedback, not to mention modeling in all the videos below.
So here we go. This is the variation I now use most frequently:
Here's an alternate way of doing the stem for that:
Here's the original, 3-rope version of the tie, which still has some advantages, and is probably easier to get right:
Here's some information on how to attach support ropes, to either variation:
Finally, I know some people are going to object that these ties are too slow and complex. So here's a clip (sorry for the quality, never intended to publish) from a performance rehearsal, in which I do the shorter variation in just 4 minutes, into a complete suspension in under 6:
I know this has been a bit of a marathon post, congrats if you got through all of that in one sitting, I don't know that I could.
It's my hope that people will take the ideas in these ties, and continue to explore and change and adapt them. If you give these a try, and especially if you come up with a new variation, please let me know! I'm sure there is plenty of room for improvement.