We all love to joke about partials.

“their big toe is on the ground, it’s a partial”
“look at that, their hair touches the ground, that counts as a partial”

And I am as guilty as the next person of saying these types of things in the past, no doubt about it. I am trying to do better now, however.

You see, over time I have seen so many people who do not yet have the skills to conduct good, safe rope suspensions put up photo’s of “partials” like these, and that makes it OK because it’s “not a suspension”. Nothing could actually be further from the truth. If the majority of the body’s weight is off the ground and held by a mainline, and by majority I mean more than about 70%, then *effectively* it’s no longer a partial, and has moved into the realm of a suspension. Why? Because the dangers have become the same as a full suspension. The danger of nerve compression injuries occurring in these so-called partial suspensions is just as high as in a full suspension. For example if the majority of the body’s weight in on a chest harness, and that chest harness’s wraps are placed incorrectly, then there is the potential for nerve damage, just as there is in a full suspension, even if there is a toe on the ground. Sometimes even higher risk, due to the angle the harness may be placed under not being suitable for that style of harness.

So if you are not yet ready to do suspensions but are willing to do high tension partials (tip-toes, bum-grazes, head only touching) then you are fooling yourself, you are stepping well outside your skill level and are treading in the very dangerous quicksand.

If you’ve negotiated “only partials” as part of a scene, and then cause injury because they had one toe skimming the ground, then in My mind, you went outside of your negotiated boundaries.

Let us improve our terminology, let us stop with the jokes and the teasing words, and call them what they are…suspensions, not partials.