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rbpcover-thumbnailFor anyone interested in the history of modern body piercing, Running the Gauntlet is considered a primary source. Joining that classic text is the newly republished Responsible Body Piercing.

Responsible Body Piercing features:

  • Large format with color covers
  • 146 pages
  • Over 100 black and white photos and illustrations
  • Every book ordered through this website personally inscribed and signed by Jim Ward

From the cover:

“Gauntlet is widely considered to be the primary force responsible for pioneering the body piercing industry. Established in 1975, it held its position as a leader for almost 25 years. Between 1995 and the company’s demise in 1998, it conducted ongoing seminars teaching aspiring piercers the basics of the profession. This book was the manual given to all students who undertook the training.

“At the time, it contained the most current information available, but over two decades have passed since its private circulation. During the intervening years, there has been an enormous evolution in this ever expanding industry. While the traditional piercing placements have remained largely unchanged and many of the techniques demonstrated herein are still valid and in use by some piercers today, so much else has evolved and changed. Because of this constant evolutionary process, the authors realized an updated edition would not be practical. Still, many have expressed interest in laying hands on this unpublished tome. After over 20 years, it finally sees the light of day.

“This book is strictly a historical curiosity, a snapshot of the prevailing practices and standards of a particular time. No one should attempt any of the piercings shown herein unless supervised by an experienced professional piercer who is up-to-date on the most current information. Take to heart the title of this document and always act responsibly.”


Cover image of Running the GauntletJim Ward’s much anticipated book Running the Gauntlet—An Intimate History of the Modern Body Piercing Movement features:

  • Deluxe, large-format
  • Over 180 pages
  • More than 150 COLOR photos!
  • Over 100 photos in black and white
  • Every book ordered through this website will be personally inscribed and signed by the author.

The following is an excerpt from Running the Gauntlet‘s Introduction:

“In a 2003 documentary titled The Social History of Piercing, MTV called me “the granddaddy of the modern piercing movement.” To be honest, I’m not certain where exactly I fall on that family tree, since the movement also has had its godfathers, godmothers, uncles, aunts, and sundry other relatives: people like Fakir Musafar; my European counterpart Alan Oversby, better known as Mr. Sebastian; Sailor Sid Diller; and Tattoo Samy of Frankfurt. It would be more accurate to call me the father of the body piercing industry, making my friend and mentor Doug Malloy its grandfather. All of the early pioneers were, of course, missionaries in their own ways, each extolling the joys of body piercing to receptive people they met, but in my opinion that alone would not have been sufficient to launch a movement. After all, what point is there in creating a market if there is nothing available to service and support it?

“Consider tattooing for a moment. It’s been around for thousands of years, but it wasn’t until the invention of the electric tattoo machine in the late 1800s that tattooing began to spread across cultures and social classes. Something similar had to happen before body piercing could take root and truly flourish. First, there needed to be a universal language, a “menu,” if you will, of common piercing placements. Second, there needed to be a system of techniques that could be easily duplicated using readily available standard equipment and suitable jewelry. Gauntlet introduced all of these things.

“When I opened Gauntlet in 1975, virtually no one but hardcore fetishists and sadomasochism (S/M) enthusiasts were piercing themselves below the neck. People in the mundane world failed to realize that a little piece of metal strategically inserted in certain locations of the body can significantly amplify erotic sensations in those areas and make sex even more enjoyable. It seemed so clear to me that this was something that could benefit anyone. Why should piercing be limited to a select few? With that in mind, it became my mission to let the world at large in on this amazing secret and to let it know I had the ability to make it a reality.”