Hello, Everyone, I'm Jianju & this is my 1st post.
Buffalo, I must agree, ropedart is a very cool weapon. It is also a very advanced weapon. If I may offer you any advice:
Begin with weaponless training, preferably wushu, if you're most interested in this weapon. Quite possible that the local kungfu schools mentioned earlier will be able to help you focus on the steel whip, (jiujiebian or qijiebian.)
I think the best advice I can give you here is something someone else advised me of several years ago:
Take a length of supple rope & tie a big "monkey fist" knot in each end. Practice with this a lot. See, the chain weapons are extremely dangerous, & you'd be surprised how easy it is to literally crack your head open with one. Be careful out there.