Author Topic: Beating Matt Kalita  (Read 3358 times)

DerekSmith

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Beating Matt Kalita
« on: October 28, 2007, 08:30:57 PM »
Would anyone mind if we moved this topic onto a thread of its own.  I am mindful to be careful not to disrupt Carol's excellent thread by hijacking it with discussions on how to beat Matt Kalita.  I have a feeling this one might run on a bit, even though it could only ever be a thought exercise ??

I have moved my own post out of Carols thread by copying it into here then deleting my post in the other thread.

Carol. If you would prefer to start this thread yourself, I will happily close this one down and copy my posts into yours.

Derek

DerekSmith

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Re: Beating Matt Kalita
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2007, 08:31:40 PM »
18 scout troops and 15 cub packs make a new longest tied rope chain record (over 5000 ft)
http://fredericksburg.com/News/FLS/2007/102007/10222007/327019


It must have seemed like a lot of fun, but unless the objective was to teach kids that just four people could let down the work of the other 799, then the exercise was nothing short of an unmitigated disaster.  The organisers should have been utterly ashamed for letting so many kids fail to learn from such a potentially valuable exercise.

At first read, it seemed like a huge challenge, until you stop and realise that the 8,000 pieces of cable were shared out over 803 tyers, ten cords, ten knots per tyer.  I tied ten reef knots nice and slowly and it took me just a little over 1 minute, so the potential for this huge team was to tie roughly 100,000 feet of cord together in those alloted 5 minutes.  None the less, they actually tied a little over 20,000 feet, but just four faults rubbished three quarters of that work and they just squeezed past their previous record.

Imagine then if we were to take just 113 of that 803 strong team and line them up on one 340ft section, one to every join.  When the horn went, they all tie one knot.  Then before moving on they check the knot to their left, then the knot to their right.  You have 340ft of knotted rope with every knot checked by three people.  They all move forward one rope and repeat the tie check sequence.  If this slows them down so that they can only tie and check say 4 knots a minute, then after one minute these 113 kids will have tied and checked 5,440 feet of cord -- just 23 feet short of their record, with still one minute to go and 690 people standing by doing nothing.

If we had taken another 113 kids and started them off 8 rows away and working towards the first team, then at the end of the 4 minutes the 226 strong team would have tied and tested 10,880 feet of cable and still have a minute to go.  Expand this up to three teams of 226 and they oblitterate the recod with a staggering 32,640 ft of tied and triple tested rope.  Then finally take the remaining 125 kids and divide them amongst the three teams as quadruple checkers and to fill in if anyone lags behind.  They knew mistakes were going to happen, so they should have planned to eliminate them.  The cost of just one mistake could halve the work done - it is worth the effort to find and correct every single mistake.

What lessons could this have taught the kids?

1.  That mistakes happen and just one mistake can destroy the work of the whole team.
2.  That it is good to have your work checked by your friend and to check theirs in return.
3.  That teamwork is not just about all working in a field together at one time, it is about support.
4.  That 'right first time' is important and quality is more important than quantity.
5.  That thinking and planning and taking your time can massively improve output and achievements.

Wouldn't these have been some good things to have taught those kids??

Derek

dfred

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Re: Beating Matt Kalita
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2007, 08:41:39 PM »
Would anyone mind if we moved this topic onto a thread of its own.  I am mindful to be careful not to disrupt Carol's excellent thread by hijacking it with discussions on how to beat Matt Kalita.  I have a feeling this one might run on a bit, even though it could only ever be a thought exercise ??

I have moved my own post out of Carols thread by copying it into here then deleting my post in the other thread.


I think it's a fine idea to move the discussion out of that thread.  It might be a good task for a admin/moderator who could better keep the flow between postings than if folks moved them here in a semi-random order.

(BTW, lest it cause confusion, did you mean to copy the post on the discussion about the boy scouts linking ropes rather than beating Kalita?)

Dan_Lehman

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Re: Beating Matt Kalita
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2007, 02:55:07 AM »
 ::)

Yes, the Subject and 2nd msg. don't match, here
(could be generalized to something re Scouts, but ...).

Part of Beating the Escapist (who will recognize "Matt..." as that, initially?)
entails learning what his constraints are, and trying to beat him at his own
game (before maybe suggesting his game is too rigged if so, and leaning
towards some negotiating tactics to make it fair).

------

I'm musing tie-to points:

1) wrists w/Clove-like binder (1 to each), whose ends

2) ... run from each to both upper arms (above biceps bulge),
so that these lines prevent arm straightening, and it shouldn't be possible
to untie/loosen those binders (hard to generate much slack with whatever
slight movement might bring L/R upper arm tie-to points closer together!);
and what then can the free fingers do re the binders?!

3) Perhaps another line runs from near elbows to try to hold binders in
position against a sharper arm flexing in attempt to loosen ... !?

Hmmm, schematicly, w/  double-lined symbols are arms; single cordage; 'x's tie points:

UL                    UR
  x                        x
  ||\                      /||
  ||  \                  /  ||
  ||    \              /    ||
x||---- \ ------ /----||x
  ====x= =x==== 

--dl*
====

DerekSmith

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Re: Beating Matt Kalita
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2007, 07:53:59 AM »
Geeze, I really shouldn't try this when I'm tired.

Yes your are right Dfred, I picked up the wrong one.

------------------------

Apparently we'd bind him in silence.

Yes, definitely in silence.  This guy makes a living from his skill, so if you were about to take $5,000 of his hard earned cash from him, while damaging his reputation, then we should at least do it with a bit of humility.

Matt Kalita is a guy that knows about ropes and bondage and in hindsight we can learn a lot (or at least confirm our views) in our own field, from his approach to this challenge.

Look at the ways he gave himself a significant advantage over the hapless scouts.

First and possibly the most important, he got the hardware store guy to donate a big expensive piece of thick strong impressive looking rope for the challenge -- " Go on, give the kids a good chance - let them have a good chunk of your 'best' rope -- don't waste the advertising opportunity on only donating cheap thin stuff".  He understands the effect of relative diameters - The thicker the cord in relation to the diameter that it is binding, the harder it is to make it grip.  He also understands that it requires a lot of force to set the slack out of a knot when it is made out of 'thick stuff', vs setting the same knot in say paracord or mason line.  Result; the rope cannot grip and there will be loads of slack in the knots.

Second, he has bunched his fists and braced his hands in a fixed position by opposing his thumbs, we probably cannot see it, but he probably also bunched up his arm muscles.  This will give the illusion of a good solid 'tie down', but the moment re relaxes his muscles, the tension goes slack giving him room to work on residual rope and knot slack.  Compare this with tying say an inflated cylinder to a truck, then the cylinder deflates, letting the tension off the knots, just a little wind slap and vibration and the knots would be open in no time.  He has allowed the tyers to create and use tension when that tension is under his own control and will be released as he chooses.

Finally, he has kept his arms firmly apart, allowing himself the additional freedom to move them together and use his hands when he releases the thumb on thumb connection.

So, this guy is good.  He knows his medium. 

In hindsight, knowing now that we will be restricted to a great thick rope, with arms braced and fists bunched, but also knowing our own field better hopefully than those scouts did, now how would you set about helping Mr Kalita shed a little weight from his wallet?

Derek

DerekSmith

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Re: Beating Matt Kalita
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2007, 06:20:08 PM »
So, this guy is good.  He knows his medium. 
In hindsight, knowing now that we will be restricted to a great thick rope, with arms braced and fists bunched, but also knowing our own field better hopefully than those scouts did, now how would you set about helping Mr Kalita shed a little weight from his wallet?

I agree it appears he's definitely thought about a variety aspects of this problem.  In addition to the points you mention also notice the Seinfeldesque puffy shirt which may have been chosen to interfere with cleanly passing the rope between his back and wrists/hands.   Also, if he insists on keeping his hands touching during the binding process, it means that the challengers would be inconvenienced by needing to run the entire length of rope through instead of being able to loop bights, half-hitches, clove hitches, etc. directly over his hands.

With all that noted, I think he's still made at least one fairly major mistake in allowing the use of stranded, laid rope.  I have not had an opportunity to actually test this, but I think by intentionally hockling a rope such as this and reeving the ends between the strands a clever/experienced knot person could easily come up with a variety of ways to effectively reduce the relative diameter of the rope.  By running the rope through itself one could both lock knots as well as produce much more gripping power as the rope could pass itself at more severe angles by going through rather than around.  If I were putting my money on the line, so to speak, I'd probably have the hardware store donate some thick solid braid...



Excellent point about that shirt dfred.  In fact he might even have another tight fitting silk shirt beneath it, the two surfaces would have a very low friction between them, allowing the top shirt to slide easily, taking any bindings with it.

We also do not know if he made any other restrictions like -- in the interests of safety, nothing around his neck or upper torso - if he was wise enough to make that constraint, it could make the challenge quite severe.

I think that he will be banking on the fact that generally 'experts' tend to be quite myopic about their perceptions and expectations, so any attempt to beat him should look 'outside the conventional box'.

As well as the issues already covered, we should not forget his throwaway constraint, that he can escape in the same amount of time that it took to bind him.  So time is also an issue.  The longer the binding takes, the longer he will have to work on the problem.  This gives us two alternative strategies.  First would be to take as much time as necessary to bind him in an impossible to escape knot.  The second and far less intuitive, would be to apply a very rapid constraint and beat him on time.  For this route, knots would be out and we would have to embrace the Japanese 'Binding' methods for both speed and effectiveness.

With fore thought and practice a method of binding might be developed that minimised the amount of reeving required, whilst maximising the level of containment.

First, not all of the rope would be used.  The unused part would need to be held out of the way during binding and only perhaps used at the end to 'camourflage' or confuse the escape attempt.

Next, we would need to establish a sound anchor.  The Japanese systems used the neck and shoulders to act as the firm fixing point.  While the hands and arms can flex, the shoulders cannot so the escapologist will not have much ability to loosen this anchor.  If we were prohibited from using the neck/torso, we would have to design an anchor around the hips/groin.

Assuming that we could negotiate the use of the shoulders but leaving the neck/throat clear, then we might make the anchor by taking two loops about a foot apart (leaving adequate rope to wrap the arms and wrists on one end and the 'waste' rope on the other).  Two tyers stand behind the 'victim' each with a loop and pass their loop forward between torso and elbow.  The loop is then lifted till tight under the armpit and the line across the shoulderblades is tight.  The loops are then opened and passed back one line over the shoulders, one around the bicep.  The working ends are passed through the loop to make a 'half' Larks foot.  This is our anchor and should take no more than 25 secs to create.  No matter how you shrug or stretch the shoulders, these loops stay in place.

The two ends are then exchanged between the tyers and two more loops made and again passed froward from behind the elbows.  The loops are twisted twice and then passed back over the elbows (there may be merit in passing the loop twice over the elbow).  The ends are again exchanged and reeved through the opposite elbow loop, exchanged again and again passed through the loops.  The ends are then hauled tight against one another, drawing his elbows close to his sides and forcing his hands to overlap (i.e. breaking his thumb on thumb hold).  This should take another ca 40 secs depending on how much  waste rope we might be forced to handle.

This finishes the scaffold of bindings around bones that can neither expand nor contract and gives us a 6 line 'spar' to bind his hands and forearms to.  Make four turns around each forearm  and the 'spar' progressing from elbow towards wrists and make a half hitch at the wrist being careful not to put the half hitch on his shirt - keep it on the skin.  Take the ends and pass them up his back and behind the line across his shoulders and haul tight to draw his forearms up his back towards his shoulder blades.

That's it for the constraint, but to finish with a bit of showmanship, take the ends forwards onto his chest, cross and down to his waist, behind his waist and back in front over his belly, then finish with a huge and lavish shoelace knot bow.

The whole thing might be done in two minutes, easily within 3 minutes.  His hands are free but have nothing to work on.

Any comments?