EURIX GUIDELINES FOR NEGOTIATION AND ESTABLISHING CONSENT

by Felix Ruckert, March 2018

Rope bondage is powerful play with your body and mind. It is much more than just decorative ties and spectacular suspensions. It is a practice that deals symbolically with themes such as torture, abuse, restriction, imprisonment, dependency and loss of control. It can be practiced on a purely physical level, focussing on technique, aesthetics and form. It can be an artistic collaboration, based on an equal partnership between the person who ties and the person who gets tied. It can have a focus on connection, trust and relationship. It can also be approached as an erotic practice, where sensual and/or sexual pleasure is the motivation. And it can be practiced as a game of power, a play with dominance and submission, where rope partners engage in a powerful psychodynamic encounter based on pre-established roles of dominant and submissive.

All these forms are welcome at EURIX and can be practiced without restriction, as long as the basic principles of “safe, sane and consensual” or “RACK – risk-aware consensual kink” are respected. We, the organizers, consider EURIX a sex positive space where BDSM play and sexual activities between consenting adults are permitted and embraced. In the long run, we wish to develop rope bondage as an art form and, in our view, this is only possible with the freedom to experiment with power relations, sexuality, extreme emotions and intense sensations.

As a newcomer to the event, it is therefore crucial to be aware of the power and potential dangers – both physical and emotional – such a space can create. If you are actively participating in EURIX as a rigger or model, it is essential to be crystal clear in your intentions and motivations before you enter into a rope scene, especially if you are playing with a person you do not know. The questions “Would you like to tie me?” or “Can I tie you?” can mean many different things.

Questions to ask yourself before a scene (rope bottom):

Are you looking for a technical, sensorial, emotional, sensual or sexual experience? What are your boundaries with this specific rope top? Are you looking for physical exertion or comfort? Are you interested in positively connoted emotions such as care, attention, reassurance and worship? Are you interested in experiencing pain, fear, sadness, shame or other negatively connoted emotions? Do you want a nice image where you look cool in ropes? Do you want to experience the expertise of someone with a professional reputation? Are you aware that every session is unique? That if you get tied it might look and feel very different from scenes you have observed from the outside? That a rigger you have seen tying in a specific way, might act very differently when tying you? That the course and length of your session strongly depends on your personal fitness, pain resistance, flexibility and rope bottom skills? That also very experienced riggers cannot do miracles all the time?

Questions to ask yourself before a scene (rope top):

Do you want to practice your technical knowledge or try out new ties? Do you want to create a spectacular situation or beautiful image? Do you want to challenge, stimulate or arouse your partner? Are you looking for an emotional or sensual experience? Are you interested in sexual activities with your partner? Are they aware of that? Have you asked yourself if your partner is interested in sexual activities with you? Do you want to play with power and submit your partner to your will? Do you want to play and act sadistically? Do you want to impress and demonstrate your skills? Do you want to seduce?

Are you technically able to end a scene immediately? Do you have the technical knowledge to take your partner down from a suspension in less then 10 seconds? Assisted Drop? Pulley System? (If you don’t, don’t suspend.)

Questions for both rope top and rope bottom before a scene:

Are you aware that – as long as negotiated boundaries are respected – you are both responsible for the positive outcome of a rope scene? Do you understand there is nothing to prove? Do you know the difference between a consent accident and a consent violation? Are you aware that you must inform your rope partner of physical weaknesses, injuries or other handicaps (drug or alcohol consumption before scene, specific fears and triggers), before you start the session? Do you know what your partner might need after the scene?

To establish meaningful and satisfying scenes we advocate a double strategy of BEFORE-SCENE NEGOTIATION and DURING-SCENE NEGOTIATION. If you know your intentions, motives and wishes and can clearly communicate and honestly negotiate them before and during the scene, you have a good chance of creating a beautiful experience for both of you.

The principle of BEFORE-SCENE NEGOTIATION:

If you are clear about your answers to the questions above, then please have the courage to express your wishes and intentions before engaging in a scene. Courage, clarity and honesty are noble qualities, and the more clearly you define your boundaries, the more easily they can be respected. You can negotiate as long as you wish, until you feel ready for the session.

Of course, it is often impossible to answer all these questions before a session. Maybe you want to find out what you like with this partner. Maybe you are too shy or inhibited to practice clarity and honesty. Maybe you want to be surprised. If you enter in a session without BEFORE-SCENE NEGOTIATION, your responsibility for the positive outcome increases and you have to be sure of being able to engage in DURING-SCENE NEGOTIATION.

If you are more experienced with rope bondage than your partner, and especially when tying with a newbie, it is your duty to bring up the question of consent, to point out the different forms of negotiation and to explain the function and use of safe words and other exit strategies.

3 MINUTE TRY OUT SESSIONS

If you are tying with someone for the very first time and do not wish to engage in a long negotiation before the scene, we recommend a very short try out rope session of about three minutes.

For such a short session, the rope top must agree to:

Absolutely NO touching of body openings (mouth, eyes, nose, ears, anus, genitals), NO gags or blindfolds, NO crotch ropes, and NO breath play or ropes around the neck. NO other toys or tools, except the rope and your hands. NO suspension.

If your partner is not familiar with this 3 MINUTE TRY OUT SESSION formula and the restrictions it implies, it’s your responsibility to inform them about it.

After such a three-minute session, you are usually much more clear about what you want and do not want from this partner. It gives you the chance to feel into it, decide if you really feel comfortable with that person or not, and if you want more. You can then enter more specific negotiations, expressing what elements you would like to add, and decide on a second session with a longer time frame.

The principle of DURING-SCENE NEGOTATION

VERY IMPORTANT: Having done BEFORE-SCENE NEGOTIATION does not free you from engaging in DURING-SCENE NEGOTIATION as well. We always recommend this as a double strategy. The reason is the particular dynamic every single rope session develops: Words are tricky and sometimes what you express in negotiation can be misunderstood, misinterpreted, or simply forgotten. What you expect to feel in a certain way, might feel totally different. What you enjoy with one person might not work at all with a different partner. Your boundaries may shift and your wishes might change during a session. You might suddenly like what you usually hate, and hate what you usually like. It is obvious, but still not always clear: The frame you establish in a BEFORE-SCENE NEGOTIATION is not a script or program that you have to follow, and does not represent any kind of obligation. You are entitled to change your mind and to alter, adapt or simply end your scene, at absolutely any time.

BEFORE-SCENE NEGOTIATION does not guarantee a good scene and can even be a trap. It takes away an – ultimately desirable – element of surprise and might undermine the feeling of “loss of control” that some rope bottoms look for. That is why in some situations, experienced riggers or models might opt for DURING-SCENE NEGOTIATION only. In this case, at least the issue of relevant injuries and physical restrictions should be discussed before the scene. And there should, absolutely, also be a short declaration such as:

Rope bottom: “I give you permission to tie me and play with my body, following your intuition. I trust that you will listen when I express my boundaries and that you will respect them at all times.”

Rope top: “I thank you for the permission and trust that you will clearly express your needs and boundaries at all times, and I assure you that I will respect them.”

Nevertheless, there is a fundamental difference between BEFORE-SCENE NEGOTIATION and DURING-SCENE NEGOTIATION:

With BEFORE-SCENE NEGOTIATION you have established consent and a frame for the session, and clearly specified restrictions and boundaries. Every action outside that frame and every step over a boundary would therefore be considered as consent violation. Unintentionally or accidentally stepping over boundaries would be considered a consent accident.

If you only use DURING-SCENE NEGOTIATION, the situation is different: The session is based on intuition, sensitivity and the principle of trial and error. This demands very good communication skills, as it means a boundary may be approached, or even sometimes crossed, in the process of locating it. Be aware that if there no clear boundary is negotiated, if consent has not been established before the scene, and if no safe word has been agreed on, there can be no consent violation, only accidents because of an absence of consent. Be aware that both partners carry responsibility for such accidents.

Of course, common law is still valid: Any restriction or torture of a person against their will is a criminal act.

This means that if you are the top in a rope scene you are already in a legally precarious situation. If your rope bottom expresses any discomfort or resistance against your actions and if you nevertheless insist and keep going with what you do, then you clearly violate their consent. Even if that consent was as minimal as “OK, you can tie me.”

Of course this does not apply if the rope bottom wishes to play with resistance and enjoys being overwhelmed and forced. In that case this wish must be expressed before the scene and establishing a safe word is crucial.

DURING-SCENE NEGOTIATION for the rope top:

In an open rather than precisely negotiated session, the rope top is invited to be creative, experiment and use different techniques, tools and attitudes, as long they are introduced slowly and progressively. (If, for example, you feel the impulse to spank your partner, first give a very, very light slap and observe their reaction, before proceeding to more intense impacts, etc.) Be aware that when you shift the field of action, special attention to your partner’s approval is a must. From the necessary body contact involved in tying, to touching without technical necessity, is a big shift. From practical manipulation to physical stimulation of any kind is a big shift. Shifting from sensual to sexual intention is a huge shift. When you shift into a new form of interaction you must listen carefully to the rope bottom’s physical and verbal responses, and try to understand if they indicate approval or rejection. If in doubt, you must ask for verbal feedback or use a nonverbal communication technique.

If you suspend, always check your hanging point for stability first.

Also check in after a scene, to see if your bottom still needs anything. Check a day later that your partner is still happy about the experience.

DURING-SCENE NEGOTIATION for the rope bottom:

Remember that you are always responsible for keeping the experience healthy and valuable. Always be aware of how you feel physically, emotionally and mentally in any given moment and feel free to express yourself about your condition, emotions and sensations. Keep in mind: If it feels good, keep going, if it doesn’t feel good, stop immediately. If you don’t know if it feels good or bad, if you are confused or unsure, stop as well. You can always give it another try later. Better to end ten sessions too early than one too late.

During a scene, you can also always introduce a safe word, or use the colour code (saying “green” means “keep going”; “orange” means “slow down, you are approaching a limit”; “red” means “stop immediately”). You can ask your rigger to press your hands at regular intervals to check in; you will respond immediately: pressing back twice means “all fine”; pressing back once means “talk to me, there is a problem”, not pressing back means “end the scene immediately and bring me back to communication”.

When in suspension, regularly check your fingers still function to prevent nerve damage. Also be aware that in order to bring you to a more comfortable position, an even more painful transition is sometimes needed.

Check the hanging point yourself.

If a session goes wrong it is usually because of erroneous assumptions, false expectations and poor communication before, during and after the session. Keep in mind that 99% of all rope sessions go well and are rewarding for both rigger and model. We are empathic beings who all look for a mutually pleasant experience. Enjoy!

NOTE: This is a “copyleft” text.

Copyleft (a play on the word copyright) is the practice of offering people the right to freely distribute copies and modified versions of a work with the stipulation that the same rights be preserved in derivative works down the line.

Under copyleft, an author may give every person who receives a copy of the work permission to reproduce, adapt, or distribute it, with the accompanying requirement that any resulting copies or adaptations are also bound by the same licensing agreement. (quoted from Wikipedia)

Nevertheless, if you use or mention my name as the author, I would require you leave the text unchanged.

If you wish to give feedback or suggest changes, please post here or send me an email to felix ( ) felixruckert.de

EURIX web site -> http://felixruckert.de/2015/10/01/eurix/CommentLove

Classes are currently closed

Currently we are not hosting classes or workshops as Atemi is currently focused in improving the quality of their capacity as a rigger. However we do still host private classes, contact us for more details.

La Nuit des Cordes 2018

Welp, it’s taken me over a month to sit down and write about this years Nuit des Cordes (NdC). It has mostly been because of my new job, which is as taxing as it is fulfilling, resulting in my spiral into debauchery every night after work.

All those excuses aside, here I am!

So this was my third NdC, and as always I was honored to be permitted to participate again, it’s always a great trip and seeing some of the friends that I have in Montreal is always joyous.

This year I was scheduled to work with CutieTie and Misticwonder:

9:45pm with CutieTie
11:15pm with CutieTie
1:45am with Misticwonder

However Misticwonder wasn’t feeling well and had to back out, so I performed thrice with CutieTie.

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(Above photos by DameTreck)

Our first session was involving a bamboo hard point, something that I hadn’t really used before and quit enjoyed. For this session we stuck mostly to partial suspensions, but went through some of my favorite ones. The audience seemed t  quite like it, and the photographers were all over us (most of our photos of the night ere from that session).

This session also started off with one of my favorite songs to tie too, so that gave the whole thing a bit more bravado.

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(above photos by aguacate)

Our second session involved more partial suspensions and a lovely inversion.

At the same time, there was someone next to us that was fully inverted and playing the violin!

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(above photos by neo70)

By our third performance, we were starting to get burnt out and I was becoming reluctant to do anything redundant, as such my creativity started to dwindle by then.

Finally, we concluded the night by watching the remaining performances, which is always lovely. Sadly this is the last NdC as the hosts announced that they will be retiring from running this annual event. We lsot the Morpheus Bondage Extravaganza last year as well, so here’s to hoping that some awesome folks with rise up and host more of these exhibitions!

It is also a point of interest that this night on March 3rd, 2016, Yukimura Haruki a well known rope artist, known for his seemingly simple yet profound caressing style (aibunawa; 愛撫縄), had passed away. As such, the majority of my effort this night were an expression of my understanding and grasp of Yukimura’s style of bondage (though I know exceedingly little about it).

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(above photos by SilverMaz)

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(above photos by SirMasterMarc)

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(above photos by KnotNice)

Continue reading “La Nuit des Cordes 2018”

The new Suspension Frame

So, two days ago, we finally got the suspension frame set up at the studio, and it is a glorious beast!

But being the silly bugger that I am, I’m overly concerned as to what to call it…

hidatorii
Torii gate at Hida Minzoku Mura Folk Village

The things that inspired it was a combination, of the Japanese-styled Torii, European-styled gallows, and classical illustrations of what was used in Japanese suspension torture.

Initially, I was going to simply call it a Torii (鳥居), but the design itself eventually shifted towards something more like gallows, and being endlessly inclined towards the Japanese language, I turned to the dictionary, for which I found the term Kōshudai (絞首台).

tombstone_courthouse_gallows
Gallows in Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park, Tombstone, AZ.

The problem with Kōshudai, however, is that it literally refers to gallows and the activities therein:

  • ” (絞) means to strangle;  constrict;  wring.
  • Shu” (also read kubi; 首) refers to the anatomical neck.
  • Dai” (Tai or several other pronunciations; 台), is a pedestal; or a stand.

So this specifically refers to a pedestal for hanging or strangling the neck – not quite what we do or want to encourage.

There is also the late Yukimura Haruki‘s term kamoi (鴨居)[1], however, this is specifically the frame for sliding doors in classical Japanese houses, for which he made considerable use of in his work. Thus, this term is further away from what we are looking for than even the gallows.

033-kamoi
A photo of a kamoi over a sliding door.

At this point, Kōshudai seems the closest to what were dealing with in regards to shibari and kinbaku, where the body is suspended by rope in various formations.

Notes:

[1] Kamoi (鴨居) Means lintel. In traditional Japanese house it’s the beam where the top of sliding doors (fusuma; 襖) or paper windows (shoji; 障子) can be inserted and slide. It’s really easy to find pictures of people tied up to the kamoi.

 

 

atemi-self-suspension
Atemi self-suspending off the new suspension frame!

Stretching For Bondage HANDOUT!

An excellent introduction to stretching and flexibility!

Klawdya Rothschild's Vortex

Stretching… for Bondage                                                                    with Klawdya Rothschild

Why Stretch?

  • Stretching prevents injury in activities demanding a high and varied range of motion. The reaches in tennis, sprints in basketball, quick bursts in martial arts demand high range of motion.
  • Activities that consist of low intensity muscle contraction cycles, like biking and swimming need less flexibility, but stretching reduces the stiffness & soreness these activities cause.
  • Flexibility decreases with age; stretching can help keep activities enjoyable with less discomfort..

musclesWhat is Flexibility?

–A joint’s ability to move freely through a normal range of motion—not just do the splits.

Things that Affect Flexibility:

  • the type of joint (some joints simply aren’t meant to be flexible)
  • the elasticity of muscle tissue (scar tissue from previous injury is not very elastic)
  • elasticity of tendons and ligaments (ligaments don’t stretch much and tendons shouldn’t)
  • the elasticity of skin (skin has some degree of elasticity, but…

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Labor Day Sale at the Shibari Dojo!

labor-day-sale

Hey folks, we’re just announcing (a bit late I know) a special seasonal sale!

We know that many of you kinksters and artists have plans for labor Day weekend (I certainly do – should have some nice additions to the gallery from that), and as such, we would be honored to offer everyone a 10% discount on all items from our Etsy Shop! No coupon required, this discount is available for all orders!

If you get your order in within the next week or so, it should arrive at latest the Friday before the holiday!

So come see what we have and get ‘er done!

osaka-jute-rope

What a Class at the Shibari Dojo Looks Like

For those who are concerned about what the class might be like, tonight we have live streamed publicly on Facebook (and backed up on YouTube) the class.

As you can see here, it’s a fairly casual experiance; clothing is mandatory, I (Atemi – the instructor) work with my own partner, usually CutieTie, and everything is in n academic and respectful manner.

For those interested and not in a position where they may be able to attend in person, we will be live-streaming classes going forward, and for the nominal fee of $30 (CAD) a class, or $100 a month for unlimited (usually 8) Classes, you can sit in on the live-stream and follow along from the comfort of your own home.

Though it’s not as idea as coming to class in person where it is easier to correct mistakes and answer questions more easily, we’ll certainly do our best to accommodate everyone’s needs in regards to this!

AND if you are more of a private sort, we do host private classes for $40 an hour for you and a partner. depending on your location we will even travel to you (additional cost to accommodate travel can be negotiated)!

Keep an eye out for our classes on any of the following pages:

To sign up for this, simply fill out the following form so that we can get in touch and make sure you have access to the class, and then the payment for the class can be sorted out below that:


Paypal-livestream

Atemi’s Rope Resources

shibari-kinbaku-recommended-resources

Because it’s always a challenge to find resources on learning rope bondage, this is my collection and recommendations:

Publications

Douglas Kent‘s Complete Shibari

douglas-kent-shibari
An example from the book

What I consider a must for beginners. Has a great section on safety, and tons of step-by-step photos for the fundamental forms of ties and great advice throughout. Currently a two book set “Land” and “Sky”, with land being focused on tying from the ground, and Sky focused on suspensions.

Master_K‘s Beauty of Kinbaku 

master-k-beauty-of-kinbaku
The book cover.

The most comprehensive publication on the history and influences of shibari, kinbaku, and Sadomasochism in Japan. Includes biographies of the 30 most influential people in the practice, one of the most comprehensive glossaries on the subject, and a short step-by-step guide on two forms of classical chest ties. I recommend this for the enthusiast and the obsessed, not so much use for the casual and the curious.

Fujita Seiko‘s Zukai Hojojutsu 

fujita-seiko-zukai-hojojutsu-torinawa
The book cover

The book that started it for many people, the largest publication on the subject of the Science of rope arresting techniques found in the classical martial arts (and a few modern ones). 328 pages, 864 illustrations, and some rather hard to find explanations about the usage of rope on the battlefield and in other situations. I’m personally translating this publication, and it’s not yet complete, but will be rather through!

Video Platforms

Esinem‘s Online Shibari Classes

A wonderfully put-together online learning site providing excellent video and transcribed learning content for monthly fees (price varying with each module). His research on nerve damage is second to none, the safety course is free, and the courses specifically on box ties are quite thorough and provide a very acceptable learning curve.

Yukinaga Max‘s Kinbaku Videos

Yukinaga Max, a student of both Yukimura Haruki and Osada Steve of Yukimura-ryu and Osada-ryu. His content is focused on defining various difficult to understand Japanese concepts found in Kinbaku. the thing I emphasize in his videos is his great energy and how he handles rope.

CMARA‘s Online Hojojutsu courses

Though not launched yet, the Classical Martial Arts Research Academy (CMARA) is planning to host online course in Hojojutsu (rope arresting techniques) through their site. They also currently publish research and articles on the subject as well HERE.

Acquiring Products

Other sources