Theme of 2017: Kinbaku Jizai

kobo-jizai-kinbaku-shibari

Anyone who knows me, knows well how I like to ramble about martial arts, well, a quarter of the way into the year and I have finally decided on what he theme will be for 2017! This year’s theme is indeed inspired from martial arts, though its roots are extremely Buddhist and zen influenced…

The context

I often hear from various folks and all walks of life that they cant tie because they don’t have a place to practice their ties, or their partner isn’t sufficient for what they want to practice, or perhaps the type of rope they have is no good. Well in the spirit of rising the bar, I have to utterly Proclaime BULLSHIT! And not just to be an ass…

The thing about art is that it is to be an expression of oneself, one’s own feelings, or in the case of bondage, the expression of a certain sort of connection between two individuals. In the initial stages of exploring the concept of connection, having a medium in hand is often a nice stepping stone, but what happens when you don’t have your favorite rope, your favorite practice space, music, or even model? Is that it? is your art and capacity to express yourself null and void?

Freedom (jizai) from such attachments

kinbaku-jizai-cutietie
An example of “making it work”.

Kōbō (Kūkai Shōnin) would not choose where he painted his illustrations or calligraphy nor what brush he would use. A slip of the brush is not easily forgiven on the battlefield. Thus, one should pursue their practice (keiko 稽古*) with many people packed together, in environments that are not ideal, with rope they don’t favor, and un-reliant on the partner in question. Whether it is the body mechanics, rope, studio, or anything. Tie and receive freely . Consider the brush (fude; 筆) to be the hand of fortune and opportunity (fude; 富手).

The Theme of Kinbaku Jizai 緊縛自在

Thus, the theme of the year will be a focus on being able to tie regardless of the circumstances. I personally have used each of the excuses above to prevent myself from being inspired to tie, and I personally find them all unacceptable. This year is to be the year of tying freely!

“To express love and emotion entirely though the medium of rope. It’s how you use the rope to exchange emotions with another.” – Yukimura Haruki

Hokijiri in Technique

Having gotten to play with the hokijiri a bit now I’ve certainly been impressed and surprised by it’s performance.

Hokijiri Design

Illustration from the famous Ito Seiu, illustrating muchiuchi (flogging with the hokijiri) in corporal punishment.

Firstly, it’s very design is rather remarkable. The fact that it’s bamboo, thus filled with sections of hollow air pockets, means that it is inherently quite light. And then the bamboo is split, which assists in absorbing and shock from impact and reducing bounce, thus improving energy transfer for each strike. the layer of tightly bound jute burlap of course provides a certain layer of cushioning (seemingly for the bamboo, not so much for the recipient). Finally, the string binding the entire length of the hokijiri balances it and gives the whole length a certain tension that makes it feel quite elegant in the hand. Over all it is a deceptively light implement that delivers a considerable impact to varying degrees.

Hokijiri Technique

I managed to devise three particular techniques for striking with the hokijiri:

Sharp Strike

This is a sharp, whipping strike delivered largely with the wrist with a sort of snap feeling. Results in a sharp stinging pain and welts. Somewhat similar to the impacts commonly found in kali and escrima.

Weighted Strike

This is allowing the weight of the hokijiri to carry the impact; holding it loosely in your hand, simply drop your arm and allow the balanced weight of the implement to strike the body. This produces more of a “hollow shockwave” feeling upon impact and produces minimal welts or bruising.

Stick and Push Strike

This is a little bit like the follow-through strike with a kendo shinai. Upon striking, don’t let the hokijiri bounce, but instead immediately apply pressure with the strike, “stick” with it and “push-through”. This appears to leave less welting and more bruising, and has a sense of being a very “holistic” pain.

So over about 45 minutes I was able to devise three different strikes with this implement, try to see what else you can do!

Hokijiri in Material Discussion

hokijiri-detail
Closeup of the braiding detail on the Hokijiri.

There was question of binding the hokijiri with hemp or just instead of cotton (currently used) or paper string. What follows is my observations, considerations, and response to the inquiry:

Traditionally the hokijiri was bound in paper string, which added weight and solidity to the implement which was by its nature hollow. The way of binding with hitches all the way up the spine gave it a very elegant balance. I used cotton simply because paper string is expensive in fairly small quantities, while I can get large rolls of cotton string at the dollar store for $1-5 each. I will be implementing paper string binding at a later time and have it as an option on the shop.

For the hemp twine, I’ve been thinking of doing that myself just to see how it turns out. The first thing on my mind is that the hemp and jute are both heavier than either paper or cotton, and in my experience the exquisiteness of the hokijiri comes largely from the deception of it’s weight (light and elegant as a feather, but hits like a horse). The other thing is that depending on the diameter of the twine, it may make it wider, which of course changes the experience as well.

In the near future, I will be offering selective options for variations and design of the hokijiri, but for now it’s on a case by case selection via email or messaging.

If you want to experience the exquisite excellence of this cane, place your order on our Etsy Shop!

 

 

The Grand Finally Morpheus Bondage Extravaganza (MBE)!

Morpheus-Bondage-Extravaganza-10th-year-MBE

After some ups, downs, and other crazy noise (which also led to some needed slowing down and reflection), I have been accepted into the final Morpheus Bondage Extravaganza (MBE) on October 1st!

Though teaching and performing bondage wasn’t the reason why I had gotten into shibari or suspensions. But after being approached about pairing up, I began my interest in suspensions and performing. So MBE soon became a bucket list item. However, for 2015 I was rejected, but then accepted for the 2016 Montreal MBE, which although awesome I had too much crap in my personal life that was detracting from my ability to perform.

So this is my last chance to mark off this bucket-list item, and naw that I have discovered my inspiration again, I’m confident that I can properly compensate for my Montreal performances!

My MBE performances for the night are:

And as I’m a little ridiculous like this, if anyone wishes to meet up for rope and/or general hangouts, before or after MBE, please don’t hesitate to contact me!

MBE Specials

There are two specials going on for MBE:

  1. We are down to the last 5 bundles of Osaka Jute Rope! Prices are currently:
    – 1 for $35
    – 3 for $100
    or MBE Special:
    – All five for $150!
  2. Special MBE 2016 – Toronto pricing between September 30th – October 2nd! 1 hour private class fro $30/hour, anything you want to learn! Contact us to schedule it in!

 

With HeatHawk13, AlexChance13, and CutieTie. Photos by iambic9 at @mbextravaganza

A photo posted by Shibari Dōjō (@shibaridojo) on Oct 6, 2016 at 8:52am PDT

 

Honor: Nawashi and Dorei

honor-nawashi-dorei

In a practice of Kinbaku and Shibari, it can be considered a matter of honor that the rigger will observe the model through their reactions and the expressions awakened by the rope. The rigger is perceived as deserving of those proposals through their demonstration of their ability to achieve balance between immobility, the lightness of the suspension, and the beauty of the whole, through expressions of the bottom. That is why an experienced rigger focuses on maintaining a constant visual and energetic contact with his rope, allowing the embrace of the strings flow naturally. An approach that is strong in this is Yukimura haruki’s approach to Shibari.

In a certain respect of skill in regards to the rigger, is considered a matter of honor to include the third rope in a takatekote (高手小手). It expresses an honor to the bound, the the rigger, his Sensei and spectators (in addition to providing more support surface, more comfort and safety).

At a certain point the skill of the rigger could be identified or judged for his skill if excess rope is left lose and left hanging in the front; breaking aesthetic singularity and leaving clutter in the presentation.

Simple single-point suspensions may be presented, but they do not tend to be spectacular and give off the impression of simple-mindedness if that is the only proposed presentation. All that is shown in these cases, is the high level of tolerance for pain for the tied model. One could say that there is no glory for the rigger if all they are attempting to present is how much pain they can inflict, or how their model endures.

Futomomo-honor-photoshoot

The extreme positions and single-point suspensions should be achieved progressively, so as to go gradually leading to tied through an ordered set of consecutive presentations, to finally achieve the ultimate ideal.

A lot of presentations in Kinbaku and Shibari ties in hundreds of years of history since antiquity as some important parts of this practice does borrow from the presentation of prisoners in the feudal era, and also in considering how much it borrows from Japanese aesthetics, some of which  date back over a thousand years. That is why these tying patterns (kata; 形) are known for their historic charm and beauty for its distinctive oriental flavor, expressing what a great honor it is to be the rigger, as well as for the model.

Some of the borrowed Hojojutsu ties include:
hishi or Hishigata” (diamond)
“Kikkou” or “Nyugarame” (tortoise shell), recognizable by its hexagonal shape
ebi” tying the “shrimp” or” shrimp” in which the subject is sitting cross-legged (Indian style) and torso is strapped around the ankles in a submissively bent position.
tsuri” or “tsurizeme”: one of the classic torture techniques of Tokugawa Japan has become one of the mainstays of current Kinbaku and Shibari.

Other presented ties include the mushi imo (caterpillar tie; 芋虫), Kaikyaku kani (廻客蟹)) and teppo (rifle; 鉄砲) are much more recent and come from a time when it was intended that featured riggers such as Itoh Seiyu and Minomura Kou, baptized their bonds in the same way in which artists baptize their paintings or sculptures. These proposals, while not with as old a historical burden, are also of great honor because both Itoh Seiyu as Kou Minomura are considered the creators of what is now called Kinbaku and Shibari.