Picture source unknown



The Roping Kid

Picture source unknown


Hi Jason,
Thanks for your comments on rope and roping pages of ‘Houdini Connections'.

There’s been some good feed-back - but a succession of very insistent little e-mails from somebody who tells me he’s from Texas ( you can never be sure on the Internet ) fired up my imagination. The staccato questions came in several different short demands - but whenever I replied - no response, just another string of one-liners such as …


I live in Texas and I'm a cowboy Escape Artist.

Do you let your girlfriend to tie you up - or is it guys?

If you tied me up with your posse how would you tie me up so i can't move a inch?

How would you tie me up so that I couldn't even take off my boots?

Did your friends ever ambush you, surprise you and tie you up?

Did your friends ever pretend to kidnap you?

What are the easiest shoes to escape outa.

How would you keep me a prisoner and how would you first get me tied up?
Explain each step and detail!

Did you ever dress up as a cowboy and get tied up to as a cowboy?

After getting about five separate e-mails I wasn’t sure whether this was a hunky rural red-neck, a citified office worker play-acting or a twelve-year-old kid. Whatever, the enthusiastic tone fuelled my imagination. Eventually I wrote to him …

... OK buddy, are you for real? You’ve now sent me a string of provoking strange messages - which I enjoyed reading, and they certainly fired my imagination - so let’s get started on your questions:

Yes, I’ve had women tie me up but I’ve always liked it better when men tried, because then I could fight back harder. Then, if they weren’t good enough at tying, they were the ones who finished up roped – and then had to pay the price to get loose. What price, you ask? I usually chose something I knew they would NOT LIKE!

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You mention not being able to take your boots off. If you’re efficiently tied, whether strung up, spread-eagled or hog-tied – getting your boots off is usually not an option, even if they’re cowboy shit-kickers. When I’m tying, I’m careful to leave no option for working your way out of boots. You may like to think of yourself as an ‘escapist’ as you call it - but even Western boots can be roped so they can’t be wriggled out of.

So, let’s consider a situation when a man seriously really wants to get his boots off and can’t. That’s something I’ve enjoyed dreaming up for somebody else – and had it done to me. One example - because I like seeing guys bundled up in extra clothes, I’ve played the opposite of strip poker. The loser has to put on an extra garment with each hand he loses: it might be a thick jacket or heavy sweater (in a warm climate), a gas mask or a pair of heavy boots, or over-boots or hip boots – and not be allowed to take them off until he wins a hand.

Another control trip I’ve experienced, as a result of losing a wager; I’ve been forced to wear a pair of boots a size too small, then made to walk or work in them. Locked-on boots can be a turn-on. I’ve made several pairs of lock able arrangements similar to spur-straps. Each consists of three straps linked at either side, which fit around each boot ankle: one goes under the sole ahead of the heel, a second tucks-in well behind above the heel, and an adjustable locking strap closes across the instep. This device, when padlocked, makes the boot impossible to remove without cutting it off (if you’ve got your hands free.) I’ve also made this arrangement out of chain so it needs a hacksaw to cut it off.

More simply, a pair of leg-irons closed tight around most boot ankles makes them impossible to remove.

Of course, a lot depends on what sort of boots ‘do it for you’ to either look at or stomp around in.

In the Air Force, on Cookhouse punishment duty, I’ve seen a guy held down while a can of treacle (molasses) was poured into each lace-up combat boot – then he had to keep them on for the rest of the day. That can ruin a good pair of boots – or perhaps you could keep the boots and re-live the experience every time you chose to wear them.


You ask – “How would you tie me up so I can’t move an inch”.
Deliberate immobilisation is different from just applying an inescapable rope tie. Personally, I like to see a bit of struggling and straining - so tying a tie that feels as if you might wriggle free if you put enough effort into it, amuses me more than total immobilisation. Also, I always try to avoid using too much rope - and not tying any point too tight so you’re forced to let them lose before you’re ready.

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In the new rope and roping pages on site you’ll find plenty of ideas for alternative types of roping.
One whole section has descriptions of specific rope-ties as they appear in different stories or correspondence on my site.

However, elaborate configurations are often not easy to describe well enough for the reader to follow the details. Certain techniques for tying are very difficult to visualise. Pictures are easier to follow. I’m always looking for opportunities to get new photos of good roping.

You say you’re an “Escapist”. Does that mean you just like to escape (or not escape) or do you see yourself as an Escape Artist in public? When you mentioned the web site Magic Café - all I can say is - be careful around magician/Escape Artists if you’re turned-on by tying or being tied. Most people who admit to being an “Escape Artist” don’t like any suggestion that they might be kinky. I’m currently working on some additional Escape Artistry pages where restraint challenges aimed at making escape impossible are described. There are already several ideas on my HOUDINI TODAY pages (link at end of this page). There, I discuss some basic ways of making escape difficult if not impossible – but usually rope is not the most efficient way.

So - whoever you really are - if you have ideas for good roping – or have experience of being roped or roping others in a particularly efficient way – I’d like to hear your descriptions; just basic information on how the tie went.

That’s all for now. Get back to me if you have anything to tell me ... Jim


HE DID NOT REPLY - but soon the questions were repeated in more e-mails obviously from the same source but using different names. I replied ...


Hey, you - Max - or Shark or whoever the hell you are!

You did not reply to my e-mail from December 13th so now here’s a challenge. We’re never going to meet - but if you want to use your imagination - write and answer me this …

You ask how I’d jump you and tie you. First you need to tell me a few things ... because a ‘snatch’ is different in town or country, and whether it’s out of your home or workplace … or from where you hang out when not working.

So you tell me now - where you live - what sort of house - who you live with? Then also, where you work - describe it? Another point - how old you are - and how fit? I need to know these things if I’m going to plan to send somebody to get you - and they’ll tie you so good you’ll never get lose until you beg.

Even if the information you send is total fiction - no matter. Even if this is purely a ‘visualisation’ game, it can be fun to speculate on. Details of where it might be possible to find you - snatch you, depends on who else might be around - whether they would help rope you, or help fight off an attacker. Visualising a circumstance depends on having some details; is it dusty or green, is there a tree or a corral fence suitable for tying to? Is there a barn or stream, a pond or hitching rail? - somewhere where we won’t be interrupted.

Then, if you come up with a photo - even if it’s not you but a picture you found on the Internet - if it’s an image you’d like to identify yourself with - that’d also help me to build up a picture in my head.

So - answer a few fucking questions so I’ve got something in my Mind’s Eye to excite my imagination …and then I’ll tell you just how you might get jumped and tied. Or at least … one or two of the ways you MIGHT get tied - because when you get grabbed and roped, I want it to come as a surprise!


AGAIN HE DIDN’T REPLY - but I enjoyed myself following up the possibilities by drafting some texts for future sharing with people here on the Houdini-connections web site.

I visualised the guy I was writing to as the hunk in the picture (right)



Two people against one is easier for a ‘snatch’, but one-to-one is possible if the victim is not expecting it. Cutting noise and making it impossible for the victim to see what’s coming next makes any roping task easier. Much depends on whether there’s anybody else around.

In a one-to-one situation when the victim is somebody working at home with nobody else home … or out mending fences where nobody will be passing by …

Here’s a routine I’ve pulled and seen pulled. A tough rain slicker, suddenly thrown over the target’s head from behind is, if you handle it right, easy to close tight around the neck and then hold it there with one hand - and use the slicker to swing the captive around a couple of times so he’s off balance.

It’s not easy to breathe inside thick rainproof canvas or oilskin - and you’d be on your face in the dirt before you knew where you were, with somebody sitting astride your waist roping your elbows very tight together in the middle of your back. No need to rope your wrists yet because you’ll be fighting for air inside the slicker - and the rope from your elbows will be around one boot forcing one leg bent before you know it - then the other boot circled and hauled tight up against your ass however much you kick and struggle while it’s happening. You won’t stop it happening - and that rope will be made-off good, although this is only the first move in the process.

Now I could even step off you to get more rope if it wasn’t already hanging on my belt.

By now you’ll be desperate for air inside the oilskin, still closed tight around your neck. I might even open it up a little and allow you some air if you’re not putting up too much of a fight. If you struggle I’ll close it tighter until you get the message that I am already in control and going to stay that way.

Roping your wrists comes next - and when these get tied they’re going to stay tied for a long time. You won’t see the rope coming, so getting a noose on one wrist will be no trouble - and then dragging the other wrist to join it will be easy however much you try to resist. The tie I use will not be too tight, so it won’t cut off your circulation - because I want no reason to have to untie you until I’m good and ready. So an efficient square lash - first around both wrists not too tight, so when the rope goes between the wrists, it cinches in in such a way that there’s no chance of slipping out. No knot left within reach, of course - and the rope ends perhaps still long enough to do other useful things with later.

By now, what with no air and your elbows rapidly getting numb I will open up the slicker (just a little) and drag it further down around your body so it’s past your waist front and back. Then, before you know what’s happening your elbows will be freed - and your ankles freed but a rope around the outside of the slicker will be around your waist pulling your elbows, this time real tight in against your body, leaving your well-roped wrists useless against your ass.

Yes, your boots will be free for a minute and probably you’ll be kicking defiantly - but sightless and arm-less, it’ll be easy enough to drop a noose around first one boot - and then the other and wrap them both around and between with rope however much of a fuss you kick up. I enjoy a good struggle - and I hold all the aces with you already on your face trussed inside a kind of canvas sack.

So, not difficult to fix your boots together so they can’t do much damage if I watch my step. You may think you might be able to kick your boots off - but I’m there to see that that don’t happen.

A good struggle turns me on, so I’ll stand aside while you see what you can do - which is not much. I’ll watch as you roll over - perhaps a couple of times, getting hotter and more breathless inside the oilskin. Then, when you’re on your back, my boot will suddenly force it’s way between your thighs, stopping your rolling and pinning you to the floor. You may struggle to try and unbalance me - but I will be standing rock firm in control. With my boot up close to your crotch, you on your back, your bound ankles preventing you escaping from my boot. I’ll stand tall looking down on your upper body trapped inside the oilskin, your bound wrists under you. Because you can’t see, you won’t be prepared when my boot is dragged out from between your legs and my knee lands between them instead. My hand will find the ends of rope from your wrists under you - my hand between your legs to grab it and pull it tight - and it will be tied off to the front of the waist cinch (the rope around your body and elbows tied tight outside the slicker).

This means your wrists behind you are now tethered tight through your crotch and all knots out of all reach of your hands. As I step off you, I’m confident that you are going nowhere - that is, going nowhere until I take you there.

I’m now free to decide whether I load you into the back of my pick-up and take you somewhere where you can make as much noise as you like - or just make the most of what’s on hand. Is there a barn - or a corral - or a pond or a river nearby?

One thing about the picture described above would be to use a tough but supple leather pigging-string on your wrists instead of rope. I like soft hide strips because they cling so well and don’t slip, and the knots stay tied. Also, I hope you are wearing leather chaps over your work jeans - good solid, close-fitting natural hide work chaps well stained with grease and scuffed with riding and roping. Perhaps you’re also wearing leather roping gloves, soft and stained.

I wonder what you will be doing and where you’ll be and what you’ll be wearing when it all starts to happen.

Rope Gag
If you like rope so much (and I don’t like listening to too much complaining when I’m busy making somebody seriously uncomfortable) I’d wrap a piece of soft fat rope across your open mouth before taking it three times around your head. Then, in front of your mouth, I’ll knot it at least six times (if not ten), until there’s a nice neat sausage of knotted. When this is bent in half I’ll cram back deep into your open mouth before the ends of rope are tied off tight behind your head. That will mean you have a thick wad of knotted rope filling your mouth and getting soggier and soggier, and no way of spitting it out. Have you ever tasted rope? You could try this tie on yourself so you know in advance what it’s going to feel like when it happens suddenly and you can’t stop it happening.

Roping positions:
You asked which ways might be best. Strung-up or pegged down, hog-tied or laced to a good solid chair or bed or ladder - so many alternatives. Some notes on POSITIONS are described halfway down the MAIN ROPING web page but the list is far from complete. There are also a few notes about tying to different STRUCTURES

Maybe it’s time to revise and combine these two lists.


ROUGH NOTES FOR OTHER ROPE TIES : (develop these further)

A throwing rope:
Call it a lasso or lariat or whatever - a well-coiled and well-aimed rope loop can land and quickly tighten to pin elbows to a waist - or be allowed to fall further before tightening around knees or ankles. Then it’s just a matter of keeping the rope taut while the roped person makes his first moves.

Whatever these are, the roper can stay in control if he knows his stuff. Jerked around or swung off-balance, you can be on the ground or against an upright (tree or post) before you know what’s happening. By hauling on the rope, the roper stay in control as long as the noose is kept tight. A couple of quick wraps of rope and a running loop is soon not running any more - and neither are you.
Whatever happens next is up to the roper - as long as he play it right - but also up to you now you’re roped - you decide how much to grab at any opportunity the roper allows you.

His choice may depend on what’s available to him - and what he wants to achieve. Getting you to a post, a fence, a barn, up onto a horse or into the back of a truck are all possible single-handed. Even against determined resistance, the challenge can be stimulating.

A roped calf, however much it struggles soon finds itself with four legs roped tight together. A guy struggling on the ground with a tight noose roping elbows to waist can soon be on his face with legs bent and ankles tied to wrists. Variations on this can be amusing to experiment with - challenging to achieve - dangerous if the roper miscalculates.

Whether flat on your back or face (or standing) the extended and taught limbs can soon become very uncomfortable. But once efficiently stretched into this position, you have no choice but to deal with it.

Setting the pegs in the necessary positions for a ground tie and making sure that they’re impossible to work lose, are only two of the several factor essential for achieving such a tie. Getting a prisoner made-off securely to all pegs in such a stressful position takes additional skills, and determination of he’s struggling. Frankly, a really efficient ground spread-eagle takes two or more people working in a well co-ordinated way. Judging distances between pegs and tensions when tying-off each corner (and any other interim pegs such as waist, knees, neck or genitals) can benefit from teamwork. However, the stress of a effective tie can be a rewarding experience for the tiers and a memorable one for the tied person.

In a ‘take-down’ as the beginning of a spread-eagle, getting the prisoner out of mischief in an efficient hog-tie while you prepare the pegs, can build the suspense for the intended staking out.

Tree or post ties:
A handy tree of fence upright can offer various alternatives, depending on whether your prisoner is still standing or being dragged around on the ground after being surprised and roped.

Still standing - the rope can be around an upright and around the body again before he knows what’s happening. Then safe out of reach of kicking feet behind the upright, the rope can soon be cinched between upright and the prisoner, making escape impossible. Now it’s safe to grab for flailing wrists to keep them out of mischief - and capturing and securing boots. This grab-and-tie is well described in the story ‘TOP RIDGE FARM’.

From ground-level - a prisoner, once he’s on the floor, can be kept disoriented by being dragged around - until he finds himself slumped sitting with back near against an upright. The rope can be around the base of the upright and around him again at elbow level before he can prevent it. From behind the upright, it’s then easy to capture each hand separately and tie them off behind the upright.
From here on, things can develop as the mood takes you.

If there’s too much struggling or complaining going on, a quick turn of the rope around his neck and the upright can soon settle things down temporarily. Any throat-rope needs to be well-monitored - but warning that it’s not too tight UNLESS HE STRUGGLE puts the responsibility firmly with the prisoner. It’s still important to keep an eye on the rope not getting too tight around the throat in such games (and we’re still talking games, however rough they become).

Legs straight or bent - a separate rope or pigging-string can be useful for this if the prisoner is sitting. Getting a rope onto a single boot can require skill and determination not to get kicked. Once one is captured, tying it to the other boot can be dangerous against opposition, but fun to achieve.
Even when tied together, a determined pair of boots can be dangerous. With extra rope and keeping well out of range of kicking, the legs can eventually be hauled straight and tied off to something (however far away).
Alternatively, the surprise element can often allow you to get knees bent and so drag the ankle rope back behind the upright where it can be safely made off.

To be really mean , (and if you’ve thought ahead), a hammer and a couple of pegs can come in useful. Having first captured the boots to keep them out of mischief, two tough pegs hammered into the ground at strategic points wide of the already roped-together boots can soon result in the prisoner’s straight legs being forced dangerously wide apart - rendering him very vulnerable.

Any verbal abuse during this process can be discouraged by a rope around his mouth and the upright, preferably then cinched between the back of his head and the upright for good measure.

Fences and hitching posts (horizontal):
The imaginative roper can often take inspiration from what is available. A fence or gate with two or three horizontal bars can offer several challengingly uncomfortable alternatives. Even a single horizontal hitching bar can offer some interesting possibilities.
Stood upright with back or front against a waist-high horizontal bar can be just a beginning; bent over or even with the head under it and neck roped to it can soon be very uncomfortable and your ass is vulnerable. Kneeling under a hitching rail, the horizontal bar is at neck height; a dangerous position which can discourage too much struggling while something more permanently restrictive is being prepared.

Whatever the position, whether limbs are tied tight and immovable - or just tethered with enough slack so the roped body can struggle to fight-off the increasing discomfort - the imaginative mind can usually contrive a few provocative surprises.

Upright fence posts linked together by two or three horizontal bars is a configuration which offers several interesting alternatives to experiment with.

One of my favourite fence positions is when he’s lying on his back - then capture the opponent’s ankles and haul them upwards against a fence, leaving his back and shoulders on the ground. Safe behind the fence, whether his hands are tied or not, the legs can be stretched high and wide to the top rail of the fence (or around good solid tree trunk). This position makes the prisoner particularly aware of his vulnerability. Especially if tied against a three-rail fence, once ankles have been secured to the top rail, knees and thighs can also be efficiently lashed to lower horizontal bars - well in the view of but out of reach of the tied person. Particularly if boots are spread well apart, this position can offer many alternative developments.
Having experimented with configuration on others and experienced it for myself for several hours on different occasions - this on-your-back-with-legs-in-the-air position offers an intense trip for both the tied person and an imaginative tier (and any spectators).

After legs have been secured, what happens to hands and arms leaves the imaginative roper with a variety of interesting alternatives.
Wrists can be tied together and stretched to a single peg in the ground well back from the head. Or hands bound together can be tied behind or infront of the neck. More challengingly, the bound wrists can be pulled forwards and upwards to a point between the wide-spread boots high on the fence. This position can stretch the arms tight enough to lift shoulders off the ground (an intense challenge). Alternatively, single wrists can be tied to pegs in the ground in various configurations; arms spread wide or close to the body.

Hammering ground stakes into the earth on either side of the neck or chest can be an intense power-trip, even before rope is added to these to intensify the immobilisation.

Other alternative suggestions for imaginative rope-ties are always welcomed here on this site.
All ideas (and photos) are a great starting point for discussion - and experimentation.


There are also roping stills from the Academy video FORCE RECON
HOUDINI TODAYdescribed inescapable challenges
(not all rope)