Merihari – Cadence in Shibari

cadence-marihari-shibari

 

Merihari, is the expression of timing, cadence, speed, and the very flavor of the tie itself. One may tie their partner hard and fast to express a dominance over them, or slow and sensual to manifest an intimate and sensual atmosphere. Alternatively, this can be changed up in which one ties slow and hard to employ sadism into the scene, or soft and fast to express urgency.

The word itself

There are a few common words that describe this particular principle, each with slightly different connotation, but all of which touch on the core idea. There is Kankyū, which explicitly denotes tempo. Merihari which means to “shorten and lengthen”. Finally, there is Hyōshi (拍子), meaning something of cadence, though it’s not an easy translation.

Kankyū

This term is made up of two Chinese characters (緩急). The first can be read as “kan”, “yuru”, “yuruyaka”, and so on, and means to “slacken”, “Loosen”, “relax”, or “ease up on”; the act of going from tense to relaxed. The second character can be read as “Kyū”, isogu”, and so on, and means to “hurry”, something “urgent”, the etymology of which (feelings 心 being pressed upon 及) describes a sense of pressure to do an action.

So, in this context, Kankyū describes the action of changing tempo; from slow to fast, or fast to slow. So, this word describes the tempo and speed of the tie in question, it doesn’t quite catch the whole experience of what we are looking for here.

Merihari

Again, made up of two characters (減張): the first, read as “Gen”, “heru”, or “herasu”, describes something that reduces [in speed, volume, etc], like reducing the pressure of water form a tap. While the second character, read as “chou”, ” haru”, “hari”, etc., refers to the opposite; to lengthen, draw out, stretch, or enforce, encourage tension.

So here again it is a term that describes the involvement of two opposites: to reduce and expand. In this case, meaning to reduce and then intensify the action, and versa-vice. Another facet for the aspect of this principle, but not all encompassing. So, we need another element to define the experience…

Hyōshi

Hyōshi is most commonly found in the classical martial arts, referring to cadence. In the famous “book of five rings”, Miyamoto Musashi describes it as three timings: before, during, and after an activity in relation to the enemy’s attack.

For the sake of having some idea of where the word is coming from, it can be broken down to “haku” or “hyō” (拍), referring to a clap or beat in a musical rhythm, and “shi” or “ko” (子) which literally refers to a child, but infers the interval [between generations].

As described by independent researcher Kenji Tokitsu (and I have cherry picked his details for the sake of relevancy here), hyōshi can refer to the rhythm, cadence, or momentum in things or in musical expression. (Tokitsu 342); the momentum or cadence with which things evolve or advance; the texture or sensation felt in doing something.

“The relation between two combatants brings into play the whole set of cadences manifested by each of them: movements, facial expressions, breathing, the ebb and flow of muscular tension, mental state […]

[…]The Japanese notion of hyoshi refers to the sequence of spaciotemporal, rhythmic intervals produced by the reciprocal relations of two combatants, and at the same time, to the cadence proper to each of them, which is closely related to breathing and mental state.” (Tokitsu 343)

Application

So, what is all this rambling about words and rhythm? Why not just refer to the speed of the process of tying and call it a day? Well, the main reason for such painstaking dissection is that this is one of the major aspects of kinbaku technique that can change everything about a scene is indeed the rhythm, tempo, and cadence.

It would not suffice to simply describe some examples of how merihari influences things and the reader to simply understand, a considerable amount of practice is needed to grasp both the implications of how this influences things, and one’s own technique needs to be at a satisfactory level where they are able to perform all their ties firmly, softly, quickly, and slowly, all interchangeably on a whim. The process to get there is to understand not only the theory of merihari, but to also have ample technique, skill, and improvisational capacity for the changing circumstances.

Within this concept, one may tie their partner hard and fast to express a dominance over them, or slow and sensual to manifest an intimate and sensual atmosphere. Alternatively, this can be changed up in which one ties slow and hard to employ sadism into the scene, or soft and fast to express urgency.

These combinations make for four primary categories, though it is extremely important to not simplify it as such and leave it as it:

  • Tie slowly and lightly to manifest a sensual scene.
  • Tie slowly and firmly to manifest a sadomasochistic scene.
  • Tie fast and firmly to manifest a D/s scene.
  • Tie fast and lightly to manifest a sense of urgency.

It is also through these changes and approaches, with which one can reach the “flow state” (ryūshin; 流心), as described in psychology. A flow state can be entered while performing any activity, although it is most likely to occur when one is wholeheartedly performing a task or activity for intrinsic purposes. While the activities that induce flow may vary and be multifaceted, Csikszentmihályi asserts that the experience of flow is similar despite the activity. (Csikszentmihályi, Happiness, flow, and economic equality 1163-4)

Flow theory postulates three conditions that must be met to achieve a flow state:

  1. One must be involved in an activity with a clear set of goals and progress. This adds direction and structure to the task. (Csikszentmihályi, Flow 598-698)
  2. The task at hand must have clear and immediate feedback. This helps the person negotiate any changing demands and allows them to adjust their performance to maintain the flow state.
  3. One must have a good balance between the perceived challenges of the task at hand and their own perceived skills. One must have confidence in one’s ability to complete the task at hand.

Fortunately, the practice of kinbaku at an at least moderate level of performance, allows for this psychological state. In fact, for myself, this provided an approach of self-therapy during some very hard times of my life.

It is through the use of marihari that the state of ryūshin can be achieved. That being said, it is through any of the above four approaches of cadence that ryūshin can be achieved and maintained. Indeed, it is common for the individual bakushi to maintain only one cadence through their entire approach or style. The following video shares a great range of different cadences from many different bakushi.

References

Csikszentmihályi, Mihaly. “Flow.” Handbook of Competence and Motivation (2005): 598-698. Academic Journal.

—. “Happiness, flow, and economic equality.” American Psychologist 55 (2000): 1163-1164. Academic Journal.

Mosafir, Boris. Shibari Festival RopeFest 2012 Russia St Petersburg Daria Mihailova. 11th September 2012. Online Video. <https://vimeo.com/49232351&gt;.

Tokitsu, Kenji. Miyamoto Musashi: His Life and Writings. Trans. Sherab Chodzin Kohn. Tokyo, 2000. Book. <http://www.shambhala.com/miyamoto-musashi-999.html&gt;.

 

Tenchijin in Shibari

Ten-chi-jin-sansai

Tenchijin History

moribana-chokutai
Upright (chokutai) Moribana.

“Ikebana developed from an inherent appreciation of nature, fundamental to the Buddhist tendencies which had reached Japan around 500-600 BC and the art form grew slowly from the appreciation of plant life, evolving into a subtle art of manipulation, geometry and performance. The evolution of Ikebana saw a cultural practice emerge that specific arrangements of stems and leaves performed a symbolic representation of the universe, by providing a visual balance between heaven, earth and man (Tenchijin) to reflect the harmony of the environment embedded in eastern philosophy.” (Mortimer)

Those with an eye for it, will quickly recognize that this particular aesthetic arrangement is very similar in intention to the application of the golden ratio. Operating on a variation of the rule of thirds, in this case, the thirds are referred to as the Sansai (the three powers; 三才), categorized as “heaven, earth, and man” (天地人). Though the explicit reference to the Sansai seems to have developed in the early 1600s, the usage and application of this aesthetic principle in Ikebana wasn’t established until around 1801 by Shosei Teishosai Yoneichiba.

Dry history aside, this concept managed to form a sort of blue print for a certain measure of pleasing composition; that is to say, the structure of the flower arrangement looks nice. This was measured rather precisely by the proportions of each stem (usually three stems or plants), the longest stem represents heaven, the shortest represents the earth, and the stem of mid-length represents man.

Application of Tenchijin in Shibari

The specific proportions vary slightly between different traditions of ikebana, they are all roughly within the same general comparison, and as such, when I teach the application of this concept in shibari, I emphasize recognizing the three stems or points of reference, and positioning them in a similar fashion to that of the ikebana concept of tenchijin to attempt to create a three dimensional scene that is interesting and pleasing to the eyes.

kinbaku-seme-iroha-shizuki-naka-akira
Iroha Shizuki tied by Akira Naka, in the production “Nawa Etsu Vol-1”.

One such rope artist that appears to have developed in this direction (knowingly or otherwise), is Akira Naka, a rather well known practitioner of kinbaku who always seems to create masterful and exceptionally beautiful scenes in his performances. Though his style is more centered on very challenging and strenuous ties that encourage sadomasochism to be put on display, even those not drawn to the beauty of suffering can see the form and composition of his art and appreciate it as such.

To reiterate the composition here: the top stem (usually the models head), is the highest point; heaven. While the lowest point is often times a leg or foot, or even a prop to draw the attention down; this is earth. Man exists between heaven and earth, and as such is in between the two points. However, it would be a dry composition if the middle point were right in the middle, thus it is either slightly closer to the highest point, or the lowest.

Viewing the ratios discussed thus far, it is noticed that the ratios of “ten”, “jin” : “ten” and “chi” : “jin” resemble each other. It has been found that this ratio resembles the “golden section” (1:1.618 = 0.618:1), which defines the formal beauty of the architecture of ancient Greece and Egypt and also that of the contemporary art design.

Ikebana-densho-tenchijin
From “ikebana buntai zushiki” in hte mid Edo period.

The reason why the roles of heaven, earth and man were assigned to these basic stems derives from Buddhism. It originates from a way of expressing the universe using two basic stems like “the sum of things arises between
heaven and earth” which is a doctrine from the Buddhist Mandela. The stem representing man placed between those of heaven and earth also derives from the thought of Buddhism, viz., that “man is precious only because he
is a part of all creation existing between heaven and earth.” Many schools bend the stems and branches with special techniques to deform them to make them more suited to their roles. (Saito and Furuya)

 

References:

Primary Sources:

  • Ikebana buntai zushiki. Unknown date and author.
  • Sansai Zue. compiled by Wang Qi (Chinese: 王圻) and his son Wang Siyi (Chinese: 王思义) completed in 1607 and published in 1609.

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!

 

 

Hokijiri 箒尻 – The Punishment Cane

The hokijiri (箒尻) is a Edo-period (1603-1868) punishment implement used for disciplining criminals. It was either used alone on the criminal who was bound and either lain prone or on his knees, or it was used in conjunction to other torture and punishment methods such as pressing and suspension.

From the Ueda City Digital Archive website the following description of the hokijiri can be found:

手前の箒尻は、江戸時代に敲(たたき)や拷問に用いた棒。割竹2本を麻糸で包み、その上を観世紙繕(かんぜこより)で巻いている。

From it’s appearance, the hokijiri is a bar used for beating (tataki; 敲) and torture in the Edo era. Two wrapped bamboo lengths are rolled over in paper string (kanzekoyori; 観世紙繕).

The kanji that are used to describe the hokijiri actually link to it’s history.

‘Houki’ (箒), literally means “bamboo broom”, as it is made up of the components for ‘broom’ (帚) and ‘bamboo’ (竹), making the kanji for “bamboo broom.” The second kanji requires a bit more of an inference: read as ‘shiri’ (尻), it is made up of the number ‘nine’ (九), of which the form implies impacting something in a verbal sense. While the second radical, ‘shikabane’, or ‘katashiro’ (尸) refers to a “corpse” in a modern sense, but in the edo period referred to the sacrum or buttocks area of the body. Thus the noun ‘hokijiri’ can be understood to be referring to “a bamboo broom that was wrapped for the purpose of striking the body.”

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

At some later time, the bamboo broom appears to have been substituted with a bamboo cane, and thus the softer fabric at the end sticks out as opposed to the bristly end of a bamboo broom. I cannot say for sure why this was substituted, possibly due to making the item particularly for this purpose instead of being an adapted item. The information on this is rather scarce.

In Edo-period punishment and torture, the process of discipline had four stages, of them the first was to have the criminal bound and flogged in a practice called Muchiuchi (Flogging; 笞打ち). This hokijiri was used to beat the suspect on his shoulders or back until the blood flowed, at which point an assistant would rub sand into the wound to stop the bleeding. Then the beating would be continued at another spot on the back, lower down. The other three torture practices will be written about at a later time. (Cleaver 1999)

There were other arrangements of punishment, but they are either situational, varied, or poorly documented.

Nowadays, one of the only places that one may see the hokijiri in use, would be in a certain kind of Japanese rope bondage (Kinbaku; 緊縛) derived from these punishment and torture methods called semewaza (torment skills; 責技) as practiced by contemporaries such as Akira Naka. Though this is an exceedingly rare practice, and even within that, it is rare to see this sort of performance.

Place your order while they are still in stock on our Etsy Shop!

 

Sources:

Cleaver, Richard. In The Good (?) Old Days. (1999)

Shingyoso in Shibari

Shingyoso 真行草

In Japanese culture, the term Shingyōsō (真行草) has it’s roots in many sources; This is a concept that can be found in everything from Toshi Keikaku (City, urban, and town planning; 都市計画), to the categorization of utensils found in Sadō (Tea Ceremony; 茶道), it is however most known for its use in Shodō (Calligraphy; 書道). In general this system can be thought of as a measure of formality:

  • Shin 真 represents the most formal or symmetrically structured. For city planning this would refer to the cities that have a rectangular perimeters and orthogonal axes, and are regarded as formal cities. [1] In tea ceremony, when offering tea to a noble, or at a shrine or temple, a matched set of bronze utensils from China is used with a specific utensil stand. These are really (formal) utensils.[2] In the case of calligraphy, this would be recognized for being quite crisp and font-like, often times with sharp serif while other times without any such flourishes. This would be used for more clerical situations such as temple administrative documentation.
  • Gyō 行 represents a semi-formal presentation of the art in question. for traditional urban settlements in Japan, gyō would be the castle town. These towns usually have a combination of the other two styles and may be called ‘Gyō‘ cities. The center area in castle towns usually follows the curve of the castle moat, while the perimeter may be more rigid or relaxed. [1] For Tea ceremony, this would represent utensils between Japanese ceramics and bamboo and that of Chinese steel wear, and as such, is semi-formal. [2] lastly, for calligraphy, this would be the equivalent to general handwriting found in English, commonly used for daily communication, note-taking, and illustrates a bit of character from the author. [3]
  • Sō 草 is completely informal, and though may not be welcome in many high-etiquette venues, is none the less appreciated for its Wabi-sabi qualities and character. The cities located further inland were developed along the water routes, and respond to the curves found in the rivers and waterways. These cities therefore are
    shin-gyo-so
    The character of “mu” (nothingness; 無) written in the three levels of formality.

    planned in ‘Sō’ style. [1] In contrast to these Chinese utensils there are ceramics made in Japan that have an earthy flavor and simple utensils made of bamboo and wood that bring out the quality of their materials just as they are. These are ‘‘ (informal) utensils. [2] Lastly, Cursive script. Also called Grass script. Flowing style, with slender lines, and composed with rapid fluid strokes. This is the type most often used in formal Japanese calligraphy.

Now that we have established the nature of the concept Shingyōsō, we get to the question of “what does this have to do with shibari?”

Hojojutsu 捕縄術

Well, as one may have been made aware of, many of the ties used in shibari, and many more that are still in development, were inspired, borrowed, or derived from Hojōjutsu, the martial art of rope arresting.

Interestingly, the practices of arresting the opponent with rope presents one of the most clear examples of Shingyōsō available in the martial arts. There are a few ryūha (traditions) in particular that made use of Shingyōsō quite explicitly, such as Ichiden-ryū, Taishō-ryū, Kentoku-ryū, Sasai-ryū, and Hōen-ryū, where many of the ties have variations that increased in complexity as they were considered more formal. Each stage expresses the progression from informal to formal via placement and complexity of the rope on the captive.

shingyoso-ichiden-ryu-honnawa
“Shingyōsō no Honnawa Funyū-ban” (真行草之本縄不入番) of Ichiden-ryū (一傳流).

Alternatively, for some traditions, the ties were divided up in measure of expected longevity, where was for temporary ties for use with the short rope in immediate capture situations, while Shin was the category for the more permanent ties performed using the longer rope, and of course the Gyō ties were for anything in between that.

Shibari 縛り

In the matters of shibari, it’s a bit more of an aesthetic of “completeness” or “unfinishedness”. Many times in class I’ll be showing a tie, and stop to state, “this is the tie”, and then continue either with the rest of the rope in hand, or with adding more rope. This pause is “sō”, it has done it’s job, but it gives the feeling of being incomplete. This can manifest in the examples from Ipponnawa, or from examples of Kuzushi (untidy, unbalanced; 崩し). The rope covers little and is often times asymmetrical.

shingyoso-nawa-shibari-so
An example of “so” (草) in shingyoso. A single length of rope expressing simplicity.

Though simple and for some dis-interesting, this level of informality requires the least amount of nit-picking (finite knot tying), as it is oftentimes covering the most space with the least complexity. This allows for greater flourish, flow, and a focus on other things (such as play).

Shin, by contrast, it a sort of complete, well structured, and solid seeming architecture of tying. Here, things are usually pretty symmetrical, and it is usually at this point that some would consider a box tie (for example) to be suspension worthy, though such may not always be the case.

tonbo-shibari-shingyoso
“Tonbo Shibari” (Dragonfly tie; 蜻蛉), here is illustrating “gyo” of Shingyoso (真行草).

Finally, Gyō is in-between, it is neither highly structured, nor is it loose and relaxed like sō. This sort of level is often suitable for partial-suspensions. Interestingly, one could almost measure shingyōsō by how much rope is used: one rope is , two is gyō, and three is Shin, though it would be very shallow to say that this is the case, it almost equates here.

But to delve down that rabbit hole would be to digress. Shingyōsō in shibari is a matter of recognizing a certain degree of formality in the ties and the qualities that are made available thereof. More on the matter can be gleamed from the workshop on this very subject:

Footnotes:

[1] Shintaro HanazawaYukio NishimuraTakeru KitazawaNaota NakajimaShin, Gyo, So: The Traditional Concepts of Spatial Design in Japan. (2004)
[2]  Omotesenke Fushin’an Foundation. Shin-gyo-so (formal semi-formal, informal) ranking of utensils. (2005)
[3] Schumacher, Mark. Shodou – Japanese Calligraphy, Literally “The Way of Writing”. (2013).
[4] Seiko, Fujita. Zukai Hojojutsu. (1986).

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

 

ShibariChallenge – Practice on your own

shibari-challenge
In the Beginning, there was rope, and it was good

Waaaay back in January 2015, I thought up an idea where I would make it a point to tie something different every day, and it was to be called the ShibariChallenge. At that time, I didn’t have a proper partner, so it was mostly objects or myself. This forced me to be more creative with how I tied things, as flesh behaves very different from coffee cups.

Then (s)he created…

So everyday I made an attempt to tie something, anything, then I would post it online with the hashtag #ShibariChallenge, sharing it to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. This is largely done to encourage others that were in my position (not having a partner) to practice; showing that there was a way as long as they had the will. Thus, I found my own practice improved over that month by quite a bit. After all the only way to proficiency is consistency.

shibari-challenge-chair
An example of using inanimate objects as practice tools.

After the first month however, I stopped this approach as all that work was the publicity that I needed for people to start asking me to tie them (wasn’t by design, people just got curious). Thus I began to have volunteer partners! From then on my focus shifted from practicing every day, to standardizing my ties and techniques.

Now more than a year later, I decided to start it again as it was quite fun and forced me out of the monotonous and the norm. Getting some new rope that I needed to break in might have contributed to it too.

And then it was good, very good…

So now I’ve been making it a bigger thing now and pushing it harder, and the response, though not overwhelming, has been inspiring! I’ve seen a lot of self ties, lots of chair suspensions, and stuffies get their rope fix in!

I generally use Instagram to propagate the ShibariChallenge as it lets you post from it to Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr all at once, retaining the hashtag as well! So if you feel like giving it a shot, go ahead! it doesn’t have to be kinky or NSFR to contribute to the ShibariChallenge, jsut has to be rope and practice!

kukan-shibari-rope-bondage-space
An example of using Space to express kinbaku.

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.

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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