Considerations that Make Kinbaku a Deep Experience

As has already be explained, the practice of kinbaku is quite a bit more involved than simply binding the partner, and though it may involve some very primal or sexual energy, it far from equates to such. The art and science of kinbaku and shibari is an expression of beauty, functional bondage, and of course safety (Safe, Sane, and Consensual is still a thing). However, for it to be a practice, there needs to be principles, and for it to be a platform of artistic expression, there needs to be aesthetic elements. For this reason (and for the purpose of transmission of a body of knowledge), certain schools of thought, such as the founders of the Osada-ryu (Osada Eikichi and Osada Steve) had organized theories into practice.

Some such considerations are maters as tenouchi (inside of the hand; 手の内), that is the method of handling the rope, just as the calligrapher learns to hold the brush or the brick layer learns the trowel. The appearance and placement of the bindings; if the tie is for photos, consider the photographer, if the scene is for private enjoyment, consider what augments the model favorably. One starts to understand through practice that the conscious intention that they impose on the scene, on the model, influences it; changing it. And, as the opposite is also true, the theory of Muganawa (selfless rope; 無我繩) came to be developed.

minimalism-shibari-kinbaku
Even in minimalism, one can achieve atmosphere. Some would argue that minimalism is required for atmosphere!

The bakushi must always be aware of every detail coming from the dorei (slave; rope bottom; 奴隷), what in ninjutsu, we call suieishin (水影心). Suieishin refers to the mind or heart (心) that reflects the formlessness (shadow; 影) of water (水). Which is like saying that water takes on the colour of its vessel. There is also the ergonomics (taisabaki; 體捌) and handling of the rope efficiently (nawa sabaki; 縄捌). One must be sensitive to the rhythm of the scene, manipulating it when appropriate, and knowing when to let it guide itself (merihari; 減り張り); not to impose inappropriately. There needs to be respect and calculation in regard to the distance and angle, both physically and emotionally, between the rigger and model (maai; 間合). And then there’s all those little tricks that seem to make the masters stand out from the rest (ura waza; 裏技).

One of the most appealing parts of kinbaku is that of connection between the top and bottom through the medium of rope (nawa no kankaku; 縄の感覚). This is not something that can be forced and requires at least a little intuitive understanding of muganawa. “Muga (無我) is a concept steeped in the Buddhist tradition. It refers to the ‘non-self’, emptiness, or being devoid of desire.” (Osada Steve).

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