Honor: Nawashi and Dorei

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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.

A Lesson on Humility for a Rope Top

There have been a few incidences that I have happened across recently that have, to me, express a sense of overconfident youth.

There is, in many cases, tendency for the rope top to try to put of a sense of confidence that is there to affirm a sense of security for the bottom. However, there is several things that should be looked at to fulfil such a security and safety in the bottoms mind.

In the kink community, it is very much not uncommon to be tying someone who has a history that could rise up and change the circumstance drastically and suddenly. What happens when memories of a forced restraint bubbles up under even a simple wrist tie? Under a situation of manic frustration and depression, even a simple double column tie can be a struggle to remove.

Something that can greatly reduce things like anxiety and unknown psychological issues is simply reviewing with the bottom your safety protocols; make sure that not only you know where your EMT shears might be, but also make it clear that your partner is also comforted in knowing that you can reach them easily.

A more subtle detail, that most are oblivious to and I learned from my background in both Japanese martial arts and medicine, is to avoid annoying the nervous system. In the context of ground ties, if you need to navigate around your partner, try to avoid stepping around the head or face. If you stand up to walk around or step over the model, avoid walking over the upper torso and head. The body strives to protect this area of the body, and thus the nervous system reacts and responds to this intensively. An example of this is when you drop the rope to the ground, notice how your partner’s face and/or eyes flinch, sometimes drastically.

It is a sign of youth to strive to express one’s confidence without attempting to build it in others.

 

The new addition to the Dōjō family! #Kitsune #foxspirit

A photo posted by Atemi (@luke.crocker) on Jan 14, 2016 at 10:10am PST

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Shibari versus Kinbaku

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CutieTie in the “Plea” formation with a gag.

One of the first controversies that I happened onto when I was first introduced to shibari was that of the semantics between the terms “shibari” and “kinbaku”. It was fortunate that I had come across Osada Steve’s article on the very subject that differentiated the two items based on an understanding of his own. In essence it was that shibari (縛り) was the Japanese verb “to tie” (shibaru; 縛る), which could be used to refer to tying such things as parcels, objects, etc. While kinbaku (tying tightly; 緊縛) tends to be used to describe a practice where connection between the nawashi (rope artist; 繩氏) and dorei (slave, rope bottom; 奴隷) are important. For this reason I often translate kinbaku as “tying deeply” as opposed to tightly.

Though it doesn’t take long before one starts to wonder if these divided semantics are needless and a waste of time. Is it really necessary to devise these different ways of describing the same thing? In my opinion, I think it’s not necessary, however, I will do it regardless simply because when you tie someone in private, the approach, feeling, and intensity is different then on a public stage.

I frequently have different dorei, or rope bottoms over at my studio simply for practice. The majority of the time this practice is quite clinical and dry; they enjoy being tied, and I get my technical practice in. I love it when they approach me with ideas of ties that they want to try. It is rarely something that one would call a scene or play. I would call this shibari – it is a technical practice in tying with rope, an opportunity to experiment.

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“Tonbo Shibari” (Dragonfly tie; 蜻蛉).

On the other hand, there is when you are with a lover, you strive to tantalize and tease, to get inside their head and open yourself to their exploration. You create a connection (Nawa no Kankaku; 縄の感覚) between hearts with rope as the medium. I commonly describe kinbaku as tantric rope bondage.

There’s of course other forms of rope bondage for various means including hojojutsu (science of arresting with rope; 捕縄術), Semenawa (torture rope; 責縄), and so on. But the big division seems to be around shibari and kinbaku.

So how does the greater community feel about this division in semantics?

Shibari Dojo Introductions

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This is the official launching of the Shibari Dojo, located in Barrie Ontario, and home to Luke Crocker (Atemi).

Though I began my shibari journey in October 2012, when I was commissioned to translate a short document on hojojutsu, it wasn’t until October 2014 when I really took the art seriously. Since then my practice had quite literally saved my life while going through a very dark time. It was because if this that I was able to commit deeply to realizing and understanding the art, and now I can never wait to have a length of jute or hemp back in my hands again!

Having a long time background in education and a great passion for academia, I decided to begin doing what I love for my profession, and in June 2015 I opened up shop!

I first began by selling rope for the purpose of hojojutsu, and soon after found people asking about classes and workshops. Though I was quite unsure about whether I was up to the task of teaching something that I felt to be completely amateurish in, it seems that not only did the students enjoy the workshops, but they enthusiastically practiced what I gave them. Accordingly, I have begun teaching private classes with considerable success!