How to tie restraining knots

Written by sara harvey
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How to tie restraining knots
Knot-restraints are as old as the history of rope. (rope image by Kaarel from

Rope knot-tying to restrain is as old as the history of rope itself, possibly used as early as 17,000BC in Egypt. Samurai in feudal Japan created the Hojojutsu system of retraining a prisoner with rope. A more recent, and more American, version of the rope-restraint knot is the "Texas Handcuff," or its variant, the "Mexican Handcuff."

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


    The Hojojutsu Cross

  1. 1

    Make a loop on one end of the rope, and place it at the back of the neck. Thread the un-looped end of the rope through the loop and down.

  2. 2

    Twine the plain end of the rope around the prisoner's right upper arm and under the arm. Guide the rope across the back to the left arm and repeat the pattern.

  3. 3

    Thread the rope across the top of the horizontal, and through the loop descending from the back of the neck.

    Lower Section of The Cross

  1. 1

    Pull down. Coil the rope around the wrists, right over left, from top to bottom from left to right and then right, again.

  2. 2

    Wrap the wrists two or three times.

  3. 3

    Thread the free end under the wrapped wrists, left to right. Hold the end of the rope, instead of tying it.

    The Mexican Handcuff

  1. 1

    Grasp the rope with your right hand near the centre of the length. You can also fold the rope in half, and pinch on the fold.

  2. 2

    Open your left palm, and slide the doubled-over rope over your palm, pinching the centre point between your thumb and the side of your hand.

  3. 3

    Take the section of rope dangling behind your hand, and coil it up and over your palm a few times. The more coils, the more secure the knot will be. Less coils, however, will make the knot easier to cinch.

  4. 4

    Wedge the coiling end of the rope between the left palm's first and second fingers. Let go of that end of the rope, and slide the index and middle fingers of your right hand under all the coils.

  5. 5

    Pinch the end coil, closest to your left-hand thumb, between your index and ring fingers. Pull your hands apart. The index and middle fingers of each hand should be dragging a loop. The loops should be joined by the coil-knot.

Tips and warnings

  • When coiling the rope over your hand for the Mexican Handcuff, coil until you pass the middle of the rope for best effect.

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