The Core Rope Curriculum
The Best Way to Learn Bondage
The Core Rope Curriculum (CRC) is the most advanced and comprehensive educational system for rope bondage in the world, with a multi-level, multi-year program designed to take students from picking up their first piece of rope all the way through advanced suspension bondage, and encompassing a range of styles suitable for varying body types and risk tolerances.
The unfortunate reality is that most rope classes happen under circumstances highly inimical to real learning -- large classes with heterogeneous skill levels, topic ordering determined by event scheduling, intensive 2-3 day binges followed by months with no instruction. I certainly know my own experience as a beginner was immensely frustrating.
CRC is an ongoing experiment in how to make rope bondage education more safe, effective, and affordable. In order to explore better ways of achieving those goals, CRC is adopting a new class format for 2017; if you are in the San Francisco Bay area, you can apply here for the in-person CRC training program.
About the Instructor
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.
The Core Rope Curriculum is currently organized into 8 levels, each building upon the last. Students may enter at any level so long as they have the appropriate amount of experience, and are proficient in the specific prerequisite techniques for any given class (prerequisites are listed on the registration page for scheduled classes). In general, it never hurts to start with a class one level below the highest level you think you could do; there's no shortage of things to learn at every level.
Level 1: Basic Floorwork
The first level is for those who are just getting started with rope, have only studied casually, or have been trying to learn rope for a while but without much progress. It covers the fundamental ties and techniques necessary to apply bondage in a variety of decorative and restrictive ways, with safety and confidence.
Level 1 consists of the following courses:
- 100 Building a Rope Kit
- 101 Rope Bondage Fundamentals
- 103 Tying for Sex
- 105 Hog Ties & Hair Ties
- 110 Karadas & Basic Decorative Tying
- 115 Rope Corsetting
Level 2: Intermediate & Advanced Floorwork
The second level delves into more complex floorwork techniques that facilitate a wider range of challenging and creative play. This is for students who have been tying for a while, have the basics down, and are ready to begin integrating bondage into multifaceted scenes and original art, while improving speed and starting to develop a personal style.
Level 2 consists of the following courses:
- 201 Advanced Limb Ties
- 203 Demystifying the Takate Kote
- 205 Armbinders
- 207 Ebi & Advanced Hogties
- 210 Advanced Karadas & Hojo Hishi
- 220 Predicament Bondage
- 225 Improvisational Inescapability
- 230 Tying with Bamboo
Level 3: Suspension Basics
The third level is where we begin to leave the floor; it is for those new to suspension, or those who have begun suspending but have received only piecemeal instruction. Using safe, chest and hip harness based techniques, this level explores how to gracefully enter and exit the three basic horizontal suspension positions, and how to integrate suspension techniques into simple scenes.
Level 3 consists of the following courses:
- 301 Intro to Suspension, Part 1
- 302 Intro to Suspension, Part 2
- 303 Side Suspension
- 304 Face Down Suspension
- 311 Partial Suspension for Sex
Level 4: Intermediate Suspension
Where level 3 focuses on safely performing the simplest possible suspensions, level 4 begins to work on developing a complete repertoire for suspension bondage scenes, covering more difficult positions and ties, as well as drilling more demanding safety techniques. Level 4 students are expected to have substantial practice performing basic suspensions, and be ready to learn techniques which apply to more dangerous suspensions and situations.
Level 4+ classes are limited to a handful of students and do not currently follow a set course schedule. Contact Topologist for information about training at Level 4 and above.
Level 5: Adaptive Suspension
The fifth level builds upon the four basic suspension positions from levels 3-4 in examining how to modify harnesses and techniques for particular individuals and special situations. At this level, students should be comfortable with all the basic mechanics of suspension, and ready to focus on developing their practice as a creative art and vehicle for connection, expression, and deeper knowledge of their partner.
Level 6: Advanced Suspension
The sixth level delves into advanced suspension techniques for use with well-practiced bottoms, requiring high levels of athleticism, self-awareness, and pain tolerance. This level begins to use the Takate Kote and other ties requiring rope over the upper arms, to produce both traditional Japanese-style and novel suspension positions.
Level 7: Suspension Transitions
While earlier levels sometimes use simple transitions to enter or exit a position, this is the point at which transitions take center stage to create extended, flexible sequences, smoothly transitioning from one position to another in the air. Practitioners at this level must have already mastered a wide variety of static suspension positions, and be ready to tie, untie, and improvise quickly in mid-flight.
Level 8: Suspension Performance
This level covers extremely advanced tricks and techniques, not suitable for general play, that sacrifice comfort, safety, or other concerns in favor of speed and showmanship for use in live performance art.
Suitable rope for class includes finished 6mm hemp or jute, or 1/4" nylon, MFP, or polyester. I personally prefer 3-strand twisted construction, but solid braid is also acceptable. No rope with a core (kernmantle climbing rope or clothesline) and NO BLACK ROPE.
Below, a "long" rope means 25-30' and a "short" rope means 12-15'. If you tend to tie larger people, the longer end of the range may be convenient; on the other hand if you have a short armspan, shorter ropes may be easier to handle. If you prefer lengths outside those ranges, just make sure you have some extra pieces.
For levels 3 and above, when performing suspensions in class you will be required to use support ropes that are either synthetic or 8mm hemp; something with a breaking strength of at least 800 lbs. See my full article on suspension equipment for brand recommendations.
Equipment for Level 1 (100-series classes): Minimum 3 long and 2 short ropes
Equipment for Level 2+: Minimum 6 long and 3 short ropes
Equipment for Level 3+: Equipment for Level 2, plus: 3 strong 30' support lines; 4 biners + top rig (ring or more biners)
Equipment for Level 4+: Equipment for Level 3, plus one additional support line (total 4)
Do I need a partner for the class?
Because these classes are hands-on, you need someone to tie. They don't need to be your lover or regular rope partner, but you need to arrange someone to come with you; there will not be extra people to pair up with at the class.
If you are primarily interested in learning self-bondage, you are welcome to self-tie in class, but you will still need to buy a "One Couple" ticket. I will do my best to show you modifications of ties we cover for self-bondage, but there may be some techniques you'll be unable to practice.
Can I "switch" with my partner, so that we both get to practice?
Yes, but we will not generally have time in class to practice everything twice, so you'll have to choose who gets to do which techniques. If you and your usual partner are both learning to tie, it may work better to either alternate tying on a class-by-class basis, or to buy two tickets and each bring your own bottom for class.
What if I don't have a partner?
Your partner for the class does not need to be someone you have a romantic, or any pre-existing relationship with. There is a forum here where you can post if you are seeking a partner.
Does gender matter?
Nope. Tops and bottoms can be of any gender in any combination you like. Variations between individuals are generally more significant than variations between genders when adapting ties, but the few anatomy-specific techniques we cover will be presented with options for all genders.
Are registrations transferable?
Yes, as long as you get in touch with me before the class to arrange it.
Can I get a refund if ______________?
Generally, I can only offer a refund if you or I am able to find someone to take your spot. So if you discover you won't be able to attend a class you've signed up for, please let me know as soon as possible.