Posted on Sat, 25 January 2014
There are many nuances that make the difference between handling rope like a pro, where it appears to glide effortlessly, or fumbling like an amateur. One of these diffences is the angle at which you draw your rope through.
The example that prompted me to write this was drawing rope through the bight, typically when suspending a limb. In other words, 'burning the bight'. I should add that 'burning the bight' is quite safe for lightly loaded lines. Indeed, many respected bakushi do so on main suspension lines but I feel it is safer not to, especially when working with models heavier than they do, i.e. around 45kg/100lb. The game changes substantially when you have a heavier model as it becomes easy to overload natural fibre, particulary if one uses 5mm lines that seem common in Japan.
The ease with which the rope flows will be determined by a number of factors:
The principle of angle also applies equally to things like making the half-hitches when you tie off your main line. Experiment with the angle of attack and you'll see what I mean. Smooth fluid tying is all about ergonomics. If you find rope snagging and disturbing your flow on a frequent basis, don't just shrug and carry on. Work out why and correct it! It is only by constantly examining and refining your rope handling that it will improve.