Crash Restraint Blog Archives (2010-2016)

Version 3 Chest-loading Takate Kote


Important Update: There is a newer version of this tie published; this article is of purely historical interest.

I have previously posted two TK variations designed to transfer load from the arms to the chest. I won't repeat the justification for why you might want this, but will briefly remind you: these ties are hopefully safer than traditional variations, but still may be highly dangerous, particularly if misused; pay careful attention, use good judgment, and above all seek qualified in-person instruction before attempting to use these for suspension.

Over the past year and a half or so, since originally publishing a CTK, I have continued to experiment with various designs based on the same principles. My currently preferred variation generally requires at least 3 ropes, due to an unusual start which I'll explain the reasons for at the bottom, once you've seen what I'm talking about. While any variation using half-hitches in the way this one does may be considered a Version 3 CTK, this 3-rope design (3CTKv3) is to be strongly preferred over prior 2-rope designs (2CTKv3) which were never published, but have been shared with parts of the US community.

Thanks to Alice Kingsnorth for modeling in these videos, and to all those who have assisted me in development and testing of this tie.




Notice how loose the horizontal wraps around the arms are. This is intentional and significant; in-depth discussion at the bottom.



You may find that the initial diagonal ropes in front tend to get caught under the lower wraps on some people with breasts, creating uncomfortable overlap at the corners of the ribcage -- if that becomes an issue, you can pop them up over the breasts at this stage; any slack that creates can be taken up during the final finishing steps in the last video, below.


What's Going on with All That

About the Funky Start, and Wrap Tension

It may occur to you that the half-hitch pattern could be used with a more normal 2-rope TK, by starting the first wrap in the usual way directly after the wrist tie, then locking that off in the back to establish the stem and proceeding similarly. And in fact that's where I started at with the version 3 designs. The difficulty that emerges, however, is that in order for the chest-loading function of the tie to be effective, the initial tension on the around-the-chest portion of the tie has to be high relative to the tension on the over-the-arm part; in the reverse situation, the over-the-arm part will tighten as slack in the around-the-chest segment is used up upon loading, putting pressure on the outer arm, where we don't want it.

In earlier variations, the around-the-chest part could easily be made arbitrarily tight because the cinches were added at the end and could really be cranked down. With this setup, however, making the under-the-arm cinches start tight is counterproductive -- they need to be tensioned during the addition of the half-hitches, which is difficult to do with great effect (although you should always engage them as much as you can). So that makes it extra important to tie the over-the-arm wraps loosely (they should be much looser than in a traditional TK).

The problem you get then is that, with the regular start to a TK where the stem turns into the topmost wrap via a simple 90 degree turn, reducing tension on the top wrap also makes the stem too loose; making a taut enough stem to provide structure results in a top wrap that is too tight. So the purpose of the initial over-the-shoulder pattern is to establish a strong backbone for the tie which is independent of the tension on the top wraps. The particular pattern used is not crucial to this function, but the one shown in the videos is the best I've found in terms of providing comfortable shoulder support and thus becoming an otherwise useful element of the tie, unlike the over-the-shoulder ropes in the version 1 ("long") variation, which are not load-bearing and tend to get in the way

About the Arrangement in the Back

The unusual positioning along and locking to the stem of various segments of the tie is in service of several objectives. Firstly, it's crucial for side suspension that slack can't be transferred between over-arm and under-arm sections; thus we wrap the stem to lock off each of those transitions. Relatedly, we need to make sure that when we apply tension to one set of outer-arm wraps it can't, through deformation of the stem, eat slack in the opposite outer-arm wraps without tensioning the under-the-arm wraps; so we interleave the two, instead of placing all the under-the-arm parts below the over-the-arm parts on the stem, and combine them into one big lock together. Finally, when we gather everything together into those big locks, the top and bottom most ropes are going to be pulled in toward the center, tightening them; so we sequence things such that those are under-the-arm wraps, which we want tight, not over-the-arm wraps, which we want loose.

A Caution About Side Suspension

When using this to suspend from the side, watch that the top-side under-the-arm wraps don't get caught in the half-hitches next to them and pulled up against the inner arm; some practitioners believe pressure in that area may contribute to nerve damage incidences. Also watch out for the upper hitches lifting so far they dig into the arm; that is less likely to be dangerous as long as they're hitting the bicep, but can anyway at least be uncomfortable. If that's happening, you may need to adjust hitch positioning and/or overall tension.


Finishing Off


The two pieces of the finish here -- bracing the over-the-shoulder wraps in the front, and the circuit around the back -- are independent of one another, and both optional; I find them especially helpful if I'm going to be doing a long suspension that moves through several positions, but depending on your needs you might decide to omit either or both, or do something else entirely with whatever rope you have left. In many real world scenarios I probably wouldn't bother adding a rope just to finish the last stabilizing munter as I did here. Finally, do as I say not as I do when it comes to neatness; I saw a couple places in there where a twist worked its way in, I can only plead the awkwardness of staying out of the way of the camera.