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YouTube University

Over the last few months we have used the term ‘YouTube University’ , but what exactly is it that we are talking about?

I’ve been going over in my head what that actually means and I think I maybe presenting it in the wrong way. So let’s talk about it.

First I use YouTube as a catch all for Internet video sites, kind of like kleenex is just one type of tissue or windex is one type of glass cleaner.

YouTube is a social media site for videos, and they have videos for everything, I mean everything, there is not much you can’t find on YouTube, from changing the battery in your key fob, removing the engine of your car, how to make slime, and even how to pop zits if that’s your thing. It’s only natural that some rope would end up there.

There are performance videos, instructional videos, rope making videos, rope handling videos, videos on how to care for Rope, how to store it….. And on, and on, and on. It’s the tutorial videos that I want to talk about.

Tutorial videos, do two things very very well. They show patterns & they show fundamentals. They can walk you through almost every pattern imaginable. They can help you remember parts of patterns that you are having problems with. From single column ties, to karadas, to hip harnesses, chest harnesses, and everything in between, in just about any ‘style’ you like, but here’s the thing, that’s all they can do. They can not tell you the “story” of the tie, they can’t tell you the tension of the tie, they can’t tell you ‘ for the person you are tieing this needs to go here, and be tensioned like this”, or lets work on how you are moving your hands through here to make it more efficient or effective, or here are some was to get a reaction from this part or change the feeling or mood, they can’t tell you “here don’t just turn your rope fold it.”, they can’t ‘check’ what you are doing or how you are executing the pattern or tie. They can’t tell you all the little, and sometimes not so little, things that make the tie or pattern what it is.

The only way to get the rest of the information, is face to face with a person.

There in lies the one of the problems. Not everyone who has an interest in what it is that we do has access to, face to face, or hands on instruction. This could be for any number of reasons, time, finances, geographical location, what ever, if you are only using freely available videos from YouTube (or other places), you are only getting ‘half’ the information.

That leads to what is the biggest problem, in my opinion. The increase in video tutorials, from people who have only ‘learned’, from video tutorials. I see these all over, some are easy to spot and some are not, but there is an ever increasing number of people putting out videos or picture tutorials on patterns or suspension, that have only half the story, so to speak. So because they have tied the pattern and followed the video a hundred times, because they have done it a hundred times at home with their partner and not killed them, because someone at their local play space or party tells them ‘ wow that’s pretty’ , they make a video on how to do it, some even say this is ‘the one and only twue way’ to execute whatever it is that they are doing.

That is YouTube University, that is where the danger comes in.

What we do can be very dangerous, injuries happen, just because they haven’t happened to you yet doesn’t mean that they won’t. The things that people from YouTube University are showing ‘may’ be fantastic things, and they ‘may’ have some good information in them, but they are right and specific to that person, or that model at that time on that day. It does not mean it will work for you and your partner on a different day at a different time, under different conditions, it may even lead to an injury, even if you copy exactly what they did.

I have seen a self tie Karada video that starts with a larks head around the neck

I’m not saying that I know the one twue way, or that you have to be able to name drop all of the people that you have had lessons with, or who you are the student of to be able to tie, or even just to have fun with rope. What I am saying is put in the effort to get the whole story, find someone with more experience, and ask questions (never stop asking questions), find other means to learn, be it books, workshops, private lessons anything other than just videos.

In general I’m not against tutorial videos, the things they do well, they do well, but please don’t let that be the end of your journey, don’t believe that everyone on YouTube knows best and that you will be OK or a professional if you just follow some videos on the interwebs.

P. S. Yukinaga Max has a great writing about his tutorial videos here you should check it out.

” yeah I can do that, I just saw a video online, stand over here I’ll show you, also did you know…. Everything on Facebook is true, they wouldn’t let you put it up there if it wasn’t”