Lark’s Head Double Column

Lark's Head Double Column
Larks-Head-DC

This is reverse-tension double column. It is great for tying any two things together:

  • Wrist to wrist
  • Ankle to ankle
  • Wrists to ankles
  • Wrists to thighs
  • Knee to knee
  • Ankle to thigh (as in a Frog Tie)
  • Wrist to arm of a chair
  • Even elbow to elbow (if your partner is ridiculously flexible)

It is simple to apply and yet results in a snug and secure tie.

Pros & Cons

Reverse-tension techniques like this have an advantage over with forward-tension techniques like the Wrap & Cinch in that you gain control of your partner early in the tie, so you don’t need to finish the tie to gain control.  If they want to play struggle games you can quickly cinch it tight for a moment to get them under control, and then loosen it to the appropriate level to continue the tie.

They are also more secure.  It cannot be untied until the tail is loosened or freed.

Reverse-tension techniques also have a disadvantage in that you have to do a number of “tail-pulls” to tie them.  This takes more time than forward-tension techniques, and the extra time will be proportional to the length of your rope – the longer your rope, the longer the tie will take.

Note:  A double column is usually tied similarly to a single column, but then you add a cinch in the middle. The same idea can be extended to three columns (as in Gote Shibari / Takate Kote (“TK”)) or more…

Important Safety Tip!

Wrists are sensitive, they must be handled with care.

  • They have a lot of nerves and blood vessels near the skin on the inside of the wrists.  Too much pressure there can impact blood flow or nerve conduction.  Cuffs should never be too tight; you should always be able to run two fingers under a cuff.
  • The wrist joint itself is also fragile.  If you pull on wrists too hard, you can damage that joint or even push some of those small wrist bones into the wrong position.  NEVER suspend someone by the wrists alone.  Never tie someone in a position where rope is a applying heavy continual stress on the wrists. 
    • An example of this might be if you tied your partner’s wrists to the bedposts, then grabbed their feet and pulled them sharply toward the foot of the bed.  In that scenario, you may end up applying too much pressure to the wrist joints.  Tying your partner to a bed can be amazing fun, but make sure there is enough slack in the tie that they can move their arms and wrists enough to adjust the lay of the cuff and rope strands from time to time.
Coil of Rope

For this tutorial, I used one 10′ (~3m) piece of Braided Cotton Rope.

I usually use hemp rope provided by my affiliate Twisted Monk.  Check them out for some amazing rope!

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Prerequisites:

Video

Video Contents:

  • Creating the Cuffs (0:17)
  • Ending 1 – Split the tails. Lock with Square Knot (2:12)
  • Safety & Converting Ending 1 to a Load-bearing Version (3:30)
  • Ending 2 – Keep tails together. Lock with Half-Hitch (5:12)
  • Ending 2 – Convert to Load-bearing, if desired (6:24)

The Core Technique with Ending Option 1

Lark's Head Double Column (1)

1. In this example we will tie together two wrists.

Lark's Head Double Column (2)

2. It can be useful to have your partner hold them a little bit apart like this so that you have some resistance to work against as you work.

Lark's Head Double Column (3)

3. Fold the rope in half.

Lark's Head Double Column (4)

4. Strangely, the “Lark’s Head Double Column” begins with a Lark’s Head. There are two ways to get the initial Lark’s Head around your partner’s wrists. The first one is to create your Lark’s Head first…

Lark's Head Double Column (5)

5. …and then put it around your partner’s wrists.

Lark's Head Double Column (6)

6. The other is to put the rope around your partner’s wrists, then reach through the bight to grab the tail…

Lark's Head Double Column (7)

7. …then pull the tail through and reverse the tension (this is where this type of tie gets the classification “reverse tension”). Note that I’ve put the bight on the side of the hands furthest from the thumb and the mouth. At the end of this tie, I will be putting the locking knot on this side as well, making it a little bit harder for my partner to escape.

Lark's Head Double Column (8)

8. Wrap the rope around your partner’s wrists at least once.

Lark's Head Double Column (9)

9. You can wrap it around twice if you wish for a total of six strands.

You typically don’t want more wraps than this, or you’ll start getting uneven tension in the strands when you cinch them tight

Lark's Head Double Column (10)

10. Reached through the secondary bight.

Lark's Head Double Column (11)

11. Hook the tail with your finger.

Lark's Head Double Column (12)

12. Pull the tail all the way through secondary bight.

Lark's Head Double Column (13)

13. Split the tails.

Lark's Head Double Column (14)

14. Run one tail around all the strands (those on both sides) in one direction and the other tail around all of the strands in the other direction.

Lark's Head Double Column (15)

15. Come back to your starting point. Now you can pull those tails and they will cinch down on all the wrist strands at the same time. So all the strands are at the same level of tightness, forming a cuff around each wrist.

Lark's Head Double Column (16)

16. There are a lot of important nerves and blood vessels that run through the inside of the wrist. Also, the wrist joint itself is fragile and you don’t want a huge amount of pressure on it. Therefore, it is important that you are able to slip two fingers inside of that cuff. If they are so tight that you cannot slide a finger underneath them, they are way too tight.

Lark's Head Double Column (17)

17. Once you have the proper tension, set it with an Overhand Knot.

Lark's Head Double Column (18)

18. Then convert that overhand knot into a Square Knot to lock everything off.

Lark's Head Double Column (19)

19. Hide your ends …

…or do something else with them, i.e. run the tail to something else and tie it off there.

Lark's Head Double Column (20)

20. Done!

Note that the knot side of this tie is not especially attractive. If you are planning to have a tie like this in photography, you may want to have the knot away from the camera side because the other side looks quite nice…

Lark's Head Double Column (21)

21. Done, with the knot facing away from the camera

Converting Ending 1 to a Load-Bearing version

Lark's Head Double Column - Load Bearing (1)

1. Remember that it is these cinch lines that make the cords of the cuff get tighter. So you never want to use the tails coming out of the cuff to tie the cuffs to a hard point. If you do, any pulling your partner does will pull the cinch tighter and make the cuffs tighter. This is *bad*. So, if you want to attach your Double Column to a hard point, you need to convert it to a Load-Bearing version. This way you can pull on all the cords of the cuffs evenly, but in a way that does not make them clamp down more tightly.

Lark's Head Double Column - Load Bearing (2)

2. To do this, grab a new rope

Lark's Head Double Column - Load Bearing (3)

3. We are going to create a Lark’s Head Knot *around the Cinch Cords themselves*.

If your cuffs are properly tight (i.e. not *too* tight … you can slide two fingers under them), you should have a hole like this next to the wrists

Lark's Head Double Column - Load Bearing (4)

4. Run the bight of the new rope through the inside of the cuff on one wrist from the hand side to toward the elbow … like this…

Lark's Head Double Column - Load Bearing (5)

5. …and then coming back up through the cuff on the other side of the cinch…

Lark's Head Double Column - Load Bearing (6)

6. …like this…

Lark's Head Double Column - Load Bearing (7)

7. Now run your tail through the bight and tighten. You have just formed a Lark’s Head knot around the cords that make up the cinch lines of the cuff.

Lark's Head Double Column - Load Bearing (8)

8. Now any tension you add will tighten around the cords of the *cinch*. This way the cords of the cuffs themselves do not clamp down on the wrists.

Try it. You’ll see what I mean 🙂

Lark's Head Double Column - Load Bearing (9)

9. You may now lead them off to the next phase of your evil plan…

Lark's Head Double Column - Load Bearing (10)

10. …or tie the cuffs to a hard point.

Ending Option 2 - Load-bearing

LHDC - Ending 2 (1)

1. Complete core technique Steps 1-12.

LHDC - Ending 2 (2)

2. With one hand, make a small loop on the side that the tail is naturally on.

LHDC - Ending 2 (3)

3. With your other hand, reach between the columns and grab the tail.

LHDC - Ending 2 (4)

4. Keeping the fingers of your first hand in that small loop you created, pull the tail up and around all of the ropes in the Double Column.

LHDC - Ending 2 (5)

5. Feed the tail to the fingers of your first hand.

LHDC - Ending 2 (6)

6. Pull the tail through that loop

LHDC - Ending 2 (7)

7. Just to show you a variation on these cuffs, note that I have quite a bit of space between my partner’s wrists and the cinch line.

LHDC - Ending 2 (8)

8. With this much space, I can simply pull the tail…

LHDC - Ending 2 (9)

9. … Which will cause it to cinch down on the wrist lines, forming two solid cuffs for my partner’s wrists.

LHDC - Ending 2 (10)

10. Do your safety check to make sure that some of space between the inside of the wrist and the ropes.

This version is already Load-Bearing. Pulling on that tail will not make the wrist cuffs clamp down any further.

LHDC - Ending 2 (11)

11. However, if you are concerned that pulling the tail will clamp the cuffs too tightly on to the wrists, you can convert this to a Load-Bearing version similar to the way we did above, but using the same tail (not needing a new piece of rope).

LHDC - Ending 2 (12)

12. Just as with that other technique, first pull your tail through the cuff on one side.

LHDC - Ending 2 (13)

13. Like this.

LHDC - Ending 2 (14)

14. Then pull the tail through the cuff on the other side.

LHDC - Ending 2 (15)

15. Then run the tail through the place for you started.

LHDC - Ending 2 (16)

16. Tighten. Done!

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4 Comments

  1. Is there any reason to not split the rope just after it exits the larkshead and wrap the tails on opposite sides before putting them through the bight (from opposite directions)? This makes the cuff symmetric and you can add a lot more wraps without it bunching.

    1. Not at all. That would also work just fine. It is a little more fiddley when tying and locking off, but if you like the end results better, go for it! It would go be some other name though to avoid confusion. What do you think a good name might be?

  2. Hey Lazarus,
    It looks like you changed the technique of the load bearing larks head double column from what you previously had on here (the second pic at the top of the page). I had been using that version a lot. Do you prefer this method over the other? or is there a reason you replaced with a new version/technique? Thanks as always for what you do.

    1. No, They both work just fine. The Lark’s-Head-around-the-cinch-lines version is just easier for many people. But as long as you load the cinch cords and not the cuffs, it should work fine!

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