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!
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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

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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

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 Demonstration at M4!

So last Tuesday, after a wonderful trip to Niagara, Ontario, HeGiWa and I randomly decided to shoot down to Club M4 to check out their Fetish Night (Turns out it’s also the transsexual and cross dressing evening, but that’s not really a problem). I had the craving for some rope exhibitionism (the only exhibitionism that I’m really into), and upon a quick search, found that Club M4’s price was right for us.

flying-mermiad-singe-CLubM4
Performing the “flying mermaid” at Singe, a performance at Club M4 in Etobicoke, Ontario. Model: HeGiWa.

Upon arrival, I was asked if we were doing a demo, in which case, as an educator by nature, I was more than happy to oblige!

We cruised through a couple of suspension transitions, and HeGiWa seemed to be in great shape that night regardless of the fact that we cruised from Barrie to Niagara, back to Barrie, and then down to Etobicoke all in the same day. The audience was great, even with a heckler, and asked some good pertinent questions throughout. The music was decent, though not very loud as it is a classy swingers club; not a dance club.

Apparently everyone enjoyed themselves and in the end we were asked to come back!

So this upcoming Tuesday were coming back! Around 11PM or so HeGiWa and I will hit the stage again and do a demo for the world. If any one has any questions there, they are more then welcome to ask us that night! And if you ask really nicely, I may be willing to tie you too!

Here’s the relevant links to the event pages:

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