Level 1: Foundations

I think having a firm grasp of these concepts/skills creates a good base for further learning, whatever the ultimate goal and approach. Reading and online tutorials can help with much of this, though working with someone experienced is always preferable, particularly with rope-handling skills.

Background Information

  • General History, Approaches, and Terminology
  • Rope Types and Quality

General Rope Safety

  • Communication & Negotiation
  • Preparation for Tops and Bottoms
  • Basic Precautions
  • Compression and Circulation
  • Higher-Risk Areas on the Body
  • Checking for Problems
  • Getting Out

Basic Cuffs

  • Single-Column Tie: Collapsible/Non-Collapsible (Boola Boola/Somerville Bowline)
  • Double-Column Tie (Overhand Knot/Square Knot)


Other Common Frictions/Knots

  • Reverse Tension
  • Lark’s Head
  • Half-Hitch
  • Munter Hitch
  • X-Friction

Rope Handling

  • Extending Rope
  • Rope Control (finger pulls, moving rope, etc.)
  • Controlling/Maintaining Tension
  • Options for Excess Rope
  • Rope Care and Storage

Common Patterns

(mainly to practice rope handling and common frictions)

  • Basic Leg Tie (Spiral and Cinch)
  • Basic Chest Harness (Reverse Tension)
  • Basic Hip Harness (Swiss Seat)