One of the more selective skills of a D/s relationship is protocol. Many of the misconceptions is that it's hard to do and that only the more serious power exchange relationships participate. KnyghtMare and I have some moderate protocol all the time since I love it and he likes control so anytime he gets opportunity to take control the better. So I wanted to do some more reading. One of the books suggested to me on protocol was The Ritual of Dominance & Submission: A Guide to High Protocol Dominance & Submission by David English.
The initial chapters of this book had me a bit perplexed. David English says that high protocol is a secret society in many BDSM communities and that the members are often not a part of the broader BDSM community. The author makes it seem like this thing he speaks of is so secretive when there are MAsT (Masters And slaves Together) chapters all over the world. Here in the Midwest that doesn't seem to be the case so perhaps where the author is located the people interested in higher protocol relationships are less likely to be a part of the larger community. It's certainly not some secret society.
But it does take a lot more commitment and dedication to apply protocol to a D/s relationship on the level that is discussed in the book. I appreciate that the author covers a lot of the psychology of the submissive during the protocol as well as the mental conditioning that happens. So much of any BDSM book is the actions involved and rarely do we learn what impact this might have on the Dominant and submissive. Each of the steps to building a protocol level that works for your particular relationship has the psychology of it drawn out for you so you can see what impact it may have on your relationship before implementation.
Now, a large part of this book is dedicated to providing examples and detailed descriptions of protocol that you could apply to your own relationship. There are methods for teaching it to the submissive, using it in private and D/s public situations as well as the mental and emotional impact on the submissive and the value to the Dominant for each protocol addition. Keeping in mind that the focus is high protocol, the detail is great and anyone can downgrade the attention to detail or specifics to suit their own style if they choose. Training programs are covered, but I personally would like to remind people who formalized training doesn't have to happen in the same way as this book, again it focuses on higher protocol relationships. Adding any level of protocol to your relationship can be useful and learning it will require a time period of practice - essentially the training program dumbed down for the casual or moderate level user.
One thing that was quite annoying throughout was the number of grammatical and editing errors within the book. Some of the book could have been trimmed down just by removing all of the fluff and flowery language used and it would be been a more succinct and direct book. If you are a grammar nerd you might want to turn that off for the duration of reading. The book was created and published by the author, without the aid of an editor and while it shows, quite blatantly in some places, the content is worth reading.
I'm not giving this a higher rating because it was hard to get into the book since the author starts out with making high protocol sound impossible to achieve and that groups are secret societies that no one will ever find, but also because there's no clear details on how to get started for the beginner in high protocol. It is written with the assumption that you already know about protocol and just need to up the level to a more formal degree and while that's great for those few people who are there; the majority of people interested in protocol don't have any amount of prior experience and simply have an aching desire to add it to their own dynamic. The book could have done a bit more to help that section of the BDSM public out.
If you are interested in protocol and want to read about high protocol and what it might look like in your dynamic I suggest you give this book a try. The attention to detail will have you learning about positions, verbal and hand cues, formal dining parties and so much more.