Category Archives: Introspective hotness/coolness

The City

It is windy. Very windy. At my left I can see the harbor and the lights from the The City. At my right, the open waters. Right in front of me, I see the Golden Gate Bridge. It is the last evening of a whirlwhind 48 hour short visit to San Francisco, where I travelled after Shibaricon. It feels like I could stand at this spot for the rest of my life. The air, the wind, the sea, the breathing that is possible to do, how every breath fills the lungs with such intense life. It is strangely grounding, a moment in time where everything else stops, except for time itself, as it keeps on getting darker and darker and colder and colder. My trip in the US is coming to an end, and it is here that I’m reminded of the experiences I’ve been lucky enough to have, they move through my mind like flashing images, or a brief reminder of a sensory experience; skin twitching or a muscle aching slightly, remembering the sound of a creaking rope or leather gloves, slowly closing over my mouth.  Not even 2 weeks in the US and it feels like I know who I am again. Like the skin is fits around the body and the mind can distribute itself over the thoughts in an even fashion.

The 48 hours in The City were made possible by two people whom I am honored to have met and eternally grateful for their hospitality; Bus Driver and Pink.  They happened to be two of the first people I met at Shibaricon on the first day, and Bus Driver also helped at one point to spot during a demanding suspension. They, together with other awesome and wonderful people, made the con even better.
In the end of  Shibaricon I was looking for somewhere to go as I would have a couple of extra days before the flight back to Europe, and had thus put up a note on a notice board saying something like Busty Swedish Blonde seeking Bedspace. With a limited budget, crashing at someones’ couch seemed like the best option. Not before long, I was suddenly invited to stay at Bus and Pink, an offer which was impossible to refuse. Said and done, ticket bought and bag packed, leaving O’Hare landing in San Francisco. Slightly dazed and rather confused due to tiredness from Shibaricon but  in the same time on a strange adrenaline high  I made my way through the airport and was met (after getting lost…) by my hosts, and their adorable Peanut.

When visiting people who generously open up their home to a Busty Swedish Blonde they have only met a couple of days earlier, I was hoping intensely for not being one of those annoying guests and pointed out I could be fairly self-sufficient so they would not have to interrupt their day to day life due to the Busty Swedish Blonde. Lets just say that I had no idea they would have none of it, as the following two days I was so well taken care, showed all the sites, taken to the kink-shops, parties, et cetera et cetera. After meeting the housemates, having a good night sleep and taking it slow in the morning, Pink showed all the kink-shops, including  MR S and a visit to Good Vibrations, which was fairly awesome to say at least. During lunch time, we spoke about the kink scene and leather and her and her partners involvement in the community. It is organised on such a different level that would make London look pretty much like a bunch of party obsessed perverts. Which we kind of are, but that is beside the point :). Pink  also showed me the SF Citadel, a great permanent BDSM space which was really huge and well equipped.
I the end I visited Wicked Grounds  more than 3(?) times in less two days, had one great lunch, a huge milkshake and just hanging out. After a quick change of clothes, I was dropped off at Wicked Grounds one more time, waiting for Bus who took me to Bondage a Go-Go (BaGG). Now, if there is something that is awesome, it is to experience different kinds of scenes different parties. I become like a horny sociologist, trying to take in as much as possible. BaGG had a great feeling to it, although I must admit that we spent most of the time in the play area so did not see much of the rest of the club. What I did gather though, was that BaGG managed to fuse a couple of things together which another club in London has tried but not succeeded  in doing: fusing the industrial/goth scene with kink. This was mainly done through the awesome music (as an industrial chick, it was heaven to get to play to so many great tracks). In either case, it was a really great place, with a small albeit very well managed play area.

As I had expressed an interest in Bus’ flogging skills (with Pink  politely pointed out that he is a sadist..) I felt slightly nervous, but also strangely centered as we entered the play area. Was strapped to the cross, and not before long the falls of the floggers started to rain over my back. This was one of those floggings which takes you so far away you are in lala-land. A warm up which was exactly that, not just a short interlude before the ‘real’ thing, but  carefully tempered and ministered. And it was the tempo and the sensations that got me;  florentine flogging at its best, moving with the music, but also creating music on its own; syncopations, emphasised beats, the sounds coming out from my mouth all of a sudden. It is like letting bodies do the talking, instead of the vocal chords it is the warm skin, the muscles, the un-planned guttural sounds, goose-bumps, the breathing, the pulse, skin involuntarily twitching, the back arching, moving away from but still drawn towards the pain. You simply don’t want it to end, but it always does. Something which was very special during many of the experiences in the US was that it felt ok taking time. Taking time sitting down and talk properly for a starter, but also, when in that state of bliss after play, it could take the time it took. Not always, but sometimes, it feels like I has to get myself together in a orderly fashion not too long after the play has finished, especially at parties (not on the private parties, but regular ones). But here I was, in lala land but also sitting at the floor, with Bus assuring me there was all the time in the world. Everything was like it was wrapped up in cotton, even the music was muted. And sitting there, at the floor, was like the most natural place to be in. It became a reminder to the self; to stay present in the moment. Around us, there were others playing, and the passion and skill people showed made my warm body feel even warmer.

A while later, when having landed, there was this little itch; I needed to tie someone. Was introduced to a lovely lass and we spoke a bit. She felt like playing, and I was borrowed a suspension ring. We set up, first rope is out of the bag, heart pounding already. People are busy chatting, standing next to the playspace with drinks, dancing. The suddenly, there is a stronger light and a voice announcing that a guest from abroad is here to demonstrate some of her rigging skills; and obviously people turn immediately around. For a brief moment I think something like: “SHITFUCKITYOHDEARGODSAVEME”, while pretending like I’m tying something really important behind the lovely girls’ back in order to hide what is probably written all over my face. Then one of those VNV Nation tracks comes on; a steady beat and a baseline,  a deep breath and then go. The adrenaline hits, the light makes it harder to see who is watching, and her body become the only thing that matters. With the adrenaline and the pace of the tying, it is almost like trying to scratch into her, dig deeply, removing layer after layer. It is not really pretty the rope, off centre and unbalanced, but god damn, it is so fun. Encasing her in a cocoon of rope and then just physical rope and bodies in motion; toying with her mind, moving in like an attack, forcing her off balance; a fistful of hair, her neck exposed. As the wham bam adrenaline wears off, I want to continue with the rope but with a less barrage of the senses, so the untying takes place on the floor, while sitting down, the rope is warm and so is her body, resting my cheek against her shoulder, controlling every movement, pushing her with my chest, adding tension rather than removing it even if the ropes are coming off. The last wrap around her wrists comes off; we have both forgot everything about the crowd. The evening continues, with more awesomeness, and when we walk back to the car, it feels like being wrapped up in cotton.

On the second day, I get showed around a very special and interesting place; my jaw dropping for each and every door that was opened. Suffice to say, I did not think about anything else than what horrible acts could be committed or was being committed. Those really abject, filthy, degrading, sadistic…..see, it is even hard to type anything about it!
Pink then fetched me and showed the touristy things, including Lombard street. We also found some sushi, and dear me, that sushi was basically perfect. Also walked on the Castro, which felt strangely touching. All this queer history and activism, the significance really struck, especially when visiting a LGBT-history museum. I am so grateful for those who paved the way, who fought back and stood their ground.

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That evening then finished with a visit to view the scenery described in the beginning of this post but also biting someone very cute in a dark parking lot.

I would like to thank Pink and Bus Driver who made the visit so unforgettable with your generosity and kindness. There is probably not words enough to express this gratitude, so I’ll just stop waffling.

 


Angelus Novus- The Renaissance

Angelus Novus by Paul Klee

The last couple of weeks, I’ve written more than I probably have ever done in this blog. After catching up with all the posts from Shibaricon, it was easy to continue writing, because it felt right. One thing which I have not touched upon at all are the recent changes in my personal life, probably because it has been too painful. This is still very much so. Went out dancing the other night, a man looked like him so much I had to go out for some fresh air.  This will be a very introspective ‘memememememe’ post, so if you are not up for some egotistical soul-searching, click on another post or just scroll down to read something else. You have been warned.

I don’t think there has been a more difficult time in my life, ever. At some point this Spring, while juggling university, there was a shift, an emotional and rational shift in how I felt about my relationship with J. I had been with him for almost 3 years at this point but was not prepared at all when it started to dawn on me that although I care about him greatly, and am extremely grateful and lucky about the amazing time we had together, I did not feel that I could continue the relationship. It was for me, at least, about being honest, both to myself and to him. During the time this took to realise, it felt like my whole body and mind was in pain. How could I even consider hurting someone like him by ending our relationship? But somehow, I came to the conclusion that it was the only thing I could do, unless there would have been more sadness and more frustration rather than mutual affection, trust and love. I’m not used to this, not used to listen to emotion but I’ll rather rationalise and ‘think things through’. It is probably my one and largest difficulty; to listen and to trust my emotions while still reasoning. But somewhere, through the stress and the pressure of finishing my university degree, there were so many cracks that the emotional reasoning became so loud I could not ignore it. There was something there that needed to come out, to be listened too. Almost like an internal scratching, that did not stop until it was listened too.

I guess it is typical for all things to come crashing down in the same time. There is never a right moment,  but somehow, my situation just became the perfect storm; an emotional crisis; finishing my dissertation and three other essays; relationship breakdown; hurting someone whom I cared about greatly; a decision having to be taken in regards to remaining in London; giving up my apartment back home in Sweden, revising for exams; preparing for the presentation at Shibaricon and my first trip ever to the States. And so on and so forth. I guess it became too much in the end, and had it not been for my friends I would probably not have made it through the final weeks in May. I remember being so scared of exactly everything; of myself, of others, of being alone, of being amongst people, of eating, of sleeping (nightmares), of staying awake. It took a phonecall to a friend in Sweden who said to me I had to reach out to someone nearby that made me realise I could not stay sane on my own. Another phonecall later and in no time, two very special people wrapped me up in their care. No bullshitting, no morale speeches, just them reaching out and offering a safe haven. As I stayed with them, the days became bareable; as they gave support, but also space and time. We worked together, ate together, I was reminded of how to relax, could speak to them if there was a need. I was fed copious amounts of meat, watched TV, helped with proof-reading. Dreamt about what we would do when it was finally all over. Went jogging in the morning, cuddled with a dog. Was prodded into writing by being promised to be tied up after 2500 word more. Before moving on to the next chapter, I would like to repeat this; there is no way I would have made it through without you, B & L. Also, Thot who proof-read, cuddled, pep-talked and supported in every single way, with so much patience.

And the deadlines came, and the exams were done, and suddenly, I was boarding the flight to Chicago. There was a strange feeling, arriving to the massive conference hotel on a continent I’ve never visited before, a Lost in Translation moment, when just sitting in my hotel-room on my own. A hotel room is a strange space and as Electronic Doll describes it, also perfect for BDSM. But right now, except for having rope and latex hanging around everywhere, it was not about BDSM, but it was about spending time with myself. The room was big and airy, a strangely silent space, filled with past encounters and guests but still empty.  Strangely, I did not panic about being alone, I decided to take some time and spend it with myself, as that was something I had not done for such a long time. That afternoon, night, following morning and day spent in the room became like an existence separate from what ever it was that frightened me so. Spending time with myself and taking the time do so. Eating, relaxing, taking one shower after the other, working on the presentation, unpack, listen to music, iron (!) the clothes, un-coiling and re-coiling the ropes, thinking about classes and the program, where to go next after Chicago. Defeaning silence with music, or turning off the Ipod to look through the huge windows at the rain  that came crashing down from a grey sky.

And then: the convention started. Pushed out from the bubble of the room, into something else, something completely different. And loving so much of it. Not only was I first forced to spend time with myself, but after that I had to push myself to the limit socially, I could not hide myself, there was nothing to hide behing because rope does not conceal the self, it reveals every millimeter of your skin, strips you raw. At times it became difficult, especially after I’ve tied so much and felt like I was draining myself. But after a couple of scenes with remarkable riggers the balance was back. And during the week, I started to believe in DS again, on a personal level. It was all the amazing DS, the loving, sadistic, twisted DS that was everywhere. And here something started to dawn upon me. What kind of DS I seek, who I am and a re-start of what kink means in this life that I live.

I am a switch. But it is through the role as a bottom/sub that resonates the strongest. It is not until now that I’ve actually started to understand this. I am a submissive, and I switch; indeed I do, but it is the submission, the focus of my mind and my body that I wish to emphasise, it is through those mindsets I really understand myself, a continous becoming rather than solid being. As I have said before;

This is not about a ‘gift’ of submission, given away to be unwrapped/discovered/fostered and placed on a mantelpiece; but an active, ongoing relational action and reaction of dominance and submission, an act of submission in which the only thing that exist is that focus of knowing the self enough to just let go, knowing the self so well that the self is forgotten except for the action/behavior which is required.

And I stand by those words, except that I very much can understand elements of ‘training’ and a fostering of a DS relationship. And then there is the whole switch-malarkey  or switchcraft and how I allow myself to speak of what roles I take. I love the play I do, otherwise I would not do it, and there is certainly a sadist and dominant that is a part of what I do. But fact remains, that if I top/dom more than bottom/submitting a feeling of unbalance and anxiety starts to mount. This is not the case the other way around strangely. So here it is, I am a submissive who switch, a bloody sadomasochist that cannot get enough. There is nothing I regret about this, it is more about me being able to navigate and acknowledge parts of myself that has long been neglected.  Furthermore, kink is a central element in my life. It is a large part of how I know and feel myself and others. I don’t want to be a one trick pony or one dimensional obsessive, but it is so integral to my day to day life; thus pretty much non-negotiable. When I started this, all of this kinky shit, I knew what it meant to me. I knew it was a practice that I did, how it affected me, and who I was in relation to it: I am not my practices; I am not submissive, I practice submission. Now, this has been the backbone of my personal politics in relation to kink. But I’m not sure about this anymore, I’m not sure about who I am and that identity in relation to kink. What I do know is that the practices are a part of me, in that they make me find a ground where I feel like I know myself better.

There has also been a resistance from me in identification, because I feel like it comes with assumptions and labels which are not mine. Just the practical thing about putting ‘submissive’ down on a website or internet community such as Fetlife , it is a simple action, but immediately, I feel like I claim something which is not mine, nor ideas and assumptions which does not fit the person whom I am. This resistance is double, in that it is both about me, but also, how often how fucked other people’s appreciation of submission in relationship to dominance is. These are strange politics that are going on both in my own head, but also in the real world of public kink, both off and online. I know, I know, I think too much, newsflash…

The thing is, that there are safe spaces, such as much of the social group I’m lucky enough to be a part of. They know who I am and respect me. So tonight, I’ll be going to a party and stay within the mindset of bottom/submissive. Last time I did this it did not really work out, but that was mainly because I did not plan it or spill it out as well. Today, I know that emails have been sent, people have been spoken to, ‘negotiations’ been made and we are on the same page.

Tattoo with the quote from Walter Benjamin's 9th Thesis on History

This post has been extremely difficult to write, but thank you for reading. Now, it is time to prep for the evening.


Crickets:Tying with Naiia- Shibaricon 2011

We have been tying for quite some time by now. The class with Midori is about speed and flow drills, and she is indeed drilling us. We are told to pick a tie we know, but not too well, something which we can challenge ourselves with. 7 minutes for each exercise, which include tying with the dominant hand tied behind your back and vice versa. This is something which forces the rope-tops to think about how to move, how to use their body and mind , and I’m not the only one who has heureka moments, as it is possible to hear a ‘aha!’ or ‘ ohhh, I get it!’ during the class. When the 7 minutes are up, Midori’s phone lets out the sounds of crickets and you are asked to start to untie. Hence, this sound now become known as ‘the crickets of undo’.

It is indeed a drill like class, and tying with the lovely Naiia is getting my heart pumping, concentrating and focussing how to move, not only me but her, thinking about effiency of movement, something Zamil teaches but that I’ve so far sadly has missed, but also about the effect of said effieciency on Naiia. She seems to settle into the physicality, and it is indeed wonderful to to tie with this kind of bunny, that responds and gives feedback, both verbal and also physical. This is actually the third time we played with each other at Shibaricon. First time had been in a corset-lacing scene one of the earlier days. Lacing a corset can be done in many different ways; she was tied with her hands above her head, un-laced roughly and then relaced even rougher, again and again, pressing different parts of the corset together, undoing it again, pushing and pressing her ribs against that wonderful garment that is a corset. Gasps and giggles are following, and it is so great to relax into a scene like this, with a focus on one simple act that can be done in so many different ways. It is not an elaborate or complicated scene, but one in which we can just relax into it; I’ve laced corsets before tying any ropes what so ever and she is experiencing for the first time. The second time we play is in Graydancer’s RACK role-play class, where I play the dominant who is pestered both by an over-zealous dungeon monitor as well as having a very bratty sub, played by Naiia. Although this is role-play and she played a role which she usually would not, it was interesting to interact with her in that role. And now, while being drilled by Midori, we say that we definetly need to find some time to play properly, preferably before the weekend is over. It is Monday already, and it seems like we don’t have much time. But then Midori annouces the final drill; to tie the tie with both your rope-bottom and yourself blindfolded. My heart beats a bit extra, because I was asked to do the same once in another class, to close my eyes and to focus on the movement and feeling the tie instead of watching what I was doing.  It produced really good results, and I start to think that perhaps this might be our moment.

We are sitting down already, my hand is stroking her neck and her shoulders falls lower. A exercise like this can be anything from a drill to a very intense scene or all of that in the same time. Ropes are being prepared, coiled in the tight coils that are recognizable, laid out in the right direction. Midori starts some kind of music from her I-pod. The sheet that we are sitting is evened out, moving disruptive stuff out of the way, including any stress or thoughts reminiscent from a completely exhausting and incredible weekend.But what ever there has been earlier, I let it slip away, as  one blindfold first is draped across her eyes, then looking one final time at the back of her neck as I blind myself. We are both blind now, her eyes as unseeing as mine. Left hand on her shoulder, right reaching for rope. Her shoulder; fitting perfectly in my hand, my hand; fitting perfectly around the coil of rope. A slight shudder from her part as the coils unravels, the distinct sound of rope falling to the floor, and no hands need to search from now on, the hands knows where to go and why. The first wrap of the TK feels like a starting point, a take off, in the second wrap, we start to melt into each other. Securing those two wraps become a paced dance, a slight interlude,hand on her shoulder to even out the pressure, then the cinches, locking it, she is breathing, moving, the ropes just fall into place. The two following ones are caressing, but not slow, they move in a pace of their own, and suddenly I breath out loudly, a stain of sweat in my forehead. It is like she is everywhere, in every strand and fibre of the rope, like the ropes has made us become so entangled with each other that there is no telling of who is who and what is what.  Uncoil the second rope with my teeth, even more fluff in the mouth. There is a deliberate pace in all of this, not perfect, probably syncopations rather than a steady beat. The locking of the second wrap a full stop, a semi-colon when evening out the wraps, pushing her into a break, pushing her into feeling the tightness of the rope around her. Hearing her breathing, a small gasp, warm skin, stroking the back of her neck again, tracing a strand over rope over her cheek, not knowing how it looks like, but feeling the effect.

We continue tying until we hear the crickets of undone. Then we continue. Then, at one point, we are asked to start finishing, to untie. For some reason, I think it is because the stress of the voice of those who need to prep the space for the closing ceremonies, I take off my blindfold. But I am still within that feeling, that entanglement that we have, a rush and buzzing in my knees. Naiia is quite far away as well, but know she needs to get back to her duties as a volunteer at some point. It is strange when the real world catches up with you. I start to untie, first slightly mechanically, but it is not possible to stay like that. The ropes continue to live, even as they are coming off. And now I can see it as well as feel it, her face, as the rope strokes the side of her cheek, how her mouth opens and closes as she gasps when one of the chestwraps is first taken off very slowly, then reapplied with more pressure. I have shifted my position now, sit straddled over her, and when leaning over to reach better over the back, the pulse in hear neck is hitting the side of my neck, steadily but quite hard.

As the last ropes are disappearing, the people working really wants us to start moving. We are not saying anything for some time, and we can’t move, we just sit. I find a glass of water for Naiia, do it on very shaky legs, then try to gather ourstuff, but it becomes almost impossible as my knees are so buzzing. In the end, we just shove everything into the sheet and carry it along, walking slowly down the corridor. We giggle, say a couple of words, drinking some more water,  just breathing, still just feeling.


So…What do you get out of it?

So…What do you get out of it?

I’m standing in a kitchen after a nice BBQ with fellow perverts. We are in a typical Swedish home, in a typical Swedish town. After the food had been eaten and digested, I had tied a friend up and then ministered some self-loving, otherwise known as self-suspension. It had been an interesting session, as I’m getting closer and closer to getting the Kinoko hip harness right, albeit still not succeeding in placing it correctly on my hip. But I went up, both once, twice and a third time, and somehow, my body decided that it should place it self up side down, me hanging in an unintentional inverted suspension. This is of course amazing and awesome, and afterwards, I was a giggling heap on the floor, high and happy as a kite, body warm and fuzzy and a pounding heart to go with it.

When we were packing up, a friend of the host comes up to me and almost confrontational asks me very bluntly “So.. what do you get out of it?”. I ask what she means, as I’m not really sure about how to answer this question, what does it actually entails?

“Like, the rope I saw you doing, what do you get out of it? Is it orgasmic?”

I probably laugh a bit inside, because the after effect of a good session can make you feel post-orgasmic in that lovely fuzzy, slightly lazy hazy way. I explain to her that it is not always sexual, but that the sensations of being tied can often be enough. She looks perplexed as if I’m saying something in a different language. I try to explain my practice as a way of communicating with someone else or myself, and that does not necessarily entail proper, wholesome penis in vagina intercourse. And I kind of feel like a sex-negative snob, but rope for me is not only the tool that will hold down my body or someone else so I can fuck them. Now, there is nothing wrong with that, it is something I take great enjoyment in doing (because it is bloody hot in every single way!).

But is about so much more; like muscles and movement, gasps, breathlessness and a cruel embrace. It is the look of a partners face as they become encased in so much rope they are only nominally human,  or the look of shame as one single strand of rope cause more embarressment and vulnerability than anything else. It is wandering, knowing hands, bodies moving together, or clashing against each other. It is about sounds, that creaking or rattling sounds of the rope, about sweating and working together with someone else or yourself.  It is about knowing yourself so well that it becomes easier to know others. It is knowing that nothing matters except for this exact moment in time. It is about the care of an organic and ageing  material that you hold dear; ropes that carries memories or sweet forgetfulness. Rope is about learning,not just patterns, not just repeating the same endless pattern over and over again, but learning about the pieces and the elements of each and every tie and what they do, how they act, what they become in your hands or on your body. It is not like regurgitating knowledge, it is about the knowledge becoming the second nature ; the trust in your self and what you can do. What your body can do.

It is the surprise of a fastpaced take-down, the focus of a strict hog tie, the movements of a dynamic suspension, or the sensuality of a long floor-session. It is the endless feeling of strength and vulnerability, openness and acceptance.

I did not really have time to say all of this, but tried to vocalise a condensed version, in which I focussed on the physicality of the practice and the intimacy that is possible through a rope-encounter. And in the end, the only response I got was  “Well, I like cock”, in which the understatement was so clearly about me making things too difficult. I like cock too, just that I like mine with rope .Simple as that.


Gravity- Shibaricon 2011

This is the first of a number of posts covering the shared adventures at Shibaricon 2011. Please be patient as there is so much to go through. Shibaricon was catharsic to say at least, and processing it all will take quite some time.  

We are defined by gravity, and yet, somehow I am defying it. I’m moving through the air, and it feels like there is nothing that I would not be able to do, despite the fact that I am tied. The ropes around my ankle, foot and leg are straining the muscles while still supporting them, holding me up, enabling this upside down adventure.  I’m not a sack of potatoes, this is not a comfortable hammock, this is a strong body in action, and the man who has facilitated this is Dommy Darko. We have both flown over the very big pond to visit Shibaricon 2011, and strangely enough, it took a trip to the US for us to finally meet, even though he is based in Ireland and I’m in the UK. The previous evening, he had approached me for play, and we had tons and tons of fun  him beating and pinching and hurting me while I was partially suspended by the leg. We made an attempt to suspend from it then, but decided to give it a go the day after, with some slight modifications.

The day after we sat and pondered on the the ankle tie, it became so much part of it to figure out what was needed to be done. Two ropegeeks in action, both driven by intense curiousity and a will to make things work, in some way or another.  we discussed some more, prodded around, he tied, some more modifications with carabiners and the suspension point, a first attempt, going ok, but again, it needed some modifications.  I had early on a feeling that this might turn into something perfect, but as I know my body is somewhat fickle sometimes, I ask Dommy we could have a spotter, just for the sake for both of us. Bus Driver kindly agrees to help out with this, and with all of this prep and four capable hands around me it becomes easy to focus on the task at hand, which is the intense experience unfolding. I become more and more acutely aware of  every part of my body, as the pressure increases,  feeling muscles, movement, and it is an experience which demands this awareness. I’m lying down on the floor, face up, under the suspension-ring, then I feel Dommy pull, then another pull and I’m moving upwards, foot first. Core muscles, not tensing, just working. And then I’m up, above the ground, only supported by rope. There is a simple purity in this, no other limbs tied, no other mod cons to ‘help’. Just rope, incredibly capable hands and trust. And will. I am in an inverted single ankle suspension. Hanging up side down, from one ankle only. The thrill is immense. It is not charachterised by a sense of helplessness,but just sheer and utter strength.

While up, I start moving. My arms, my leg, my back, slowly first, testing what can be done, where I can go, how I can go there. And it is here that my body is different, it is here that I am not limited, there is movement here that feels so natural, so full of life & joy. Dommy keeps on working, I keep on moving, trying to not be in his way, but I just want to try every angle, every single little thing that can be done or cannot be done. The time is limited, and as mentioned: it is not a comfortable hammock suspension (nothing wrong with those!); but one in which I want to make the most out of the time I have.  And both of us keep on working, working hard.

If you are new to rope, depending on what you want to do, you need to know that you might have to think like an athlete. Now, that might sound a bit rich, coming from me, since I am not the best person on taking care of myself. My muscles and general physical state is not in the best of shapes, and god knows I have a lot of work to do after sitting on my ass for three years finishing my degree. But, to be honest, a year ago was the first time I could properly get myself tied into a box-tie, and other parts of my body is finally starting to agree with me. Furthermore; I finally want to be nice to myself. Do you have any idea of how hard it is to stop guilt-tripping yourself? Hating yourself for what it feels like you are instead of celebrating what you are on your way on becoming? Rope helps me with this, sooths and strengthens, pushes and forces me to feel, to acknowledge this body which I so often tries to disconnect from. And this inverted single ankle suspension did exactly this.

Back to hanging up side down. A couple of minutes pass, can’t really tell how many, just that it gets clearer to me that body is getting more and more tired. I am running a marathon I have never run before, and sooner or later, I will have to call it a day. Signalling to Dommy and Bus that I will need support and come down in a all to close future. My body is tired now, but in that way which releases tons of endorphins and adrenaline. When Bus allows me to rest in his arms while Dommy is slowly lowering me to the floor, I feel strangely giggly, smiley, sweating, safe. Warm strong arms, bonds of trust, bodies; defined by gravity. Defiance; born out of necessity.


Osada Steve in Copenhagen-a very personal journey

This is a guestblog by a fellow rope-maniac who was fortunate enough to bank a couple of days training with Osada Steve in the Copenhagen Shibari Dojo.

Here is Sauvage’s report:

Day 1

You know it’s going to be a heavy week when you start with one hour’s sleep. Early flight, up at 4am. Blue_entropy, bunny extrordinaire, is insane and worked until 3am but shows no hint of tiredness. She finds that last sentence amusing. And that one after.

We’re staying in a B&B apartment in a suburbian utopia in Copenhagen. People don’t close their gates, kids play in their front gardens, cycle lanes are divided from the main roads. It’s nice here.

After stocking up with food and having a couple of hours shut-eye, we decided to head down to the shibari dojo a little early so that we could make friends and soak up the atmosphere before starting.

Everyone is so extremely personable and modest. The atmosphere is one of a family. I mentioned Ve, who has visited the dojo twice from what I understand, and everyone clearly has fond memories of her charm and enthusiasm.

We bumped into Osada Steve walking into the venue. Personable, he and everyone else put me at ease. I’m not sure people knew exactly what to make of me and Blue_entropy, because everyone else was a member of the club there already, was Danish, they all knew each other, and Osada Steve commented on how young we were: “it’s good to have new young blood learning”.

The standard of the dojo members is extremely high, and their modesty equally impressive. Imagine a room full of nawa_konekos. Ehrm, and me flailing about.

Today the dojo members wanted to check I met minimum standards for Osada Steve to teach us. One member in particular, Attila, kindly spent most of the day with me. Given that they wanted to check I knew the two-rope Takate-Kote, and single limb and double limb ties, I wasn’t too worried.

But oh my god is there an infinite amount of detail involved in tying all the possible elements of the Takate-Kote correctly. I’ve tied it probably at least a hundred times in play and previous tuition combined so I thought I would be ok, but every fine detail of tension, distance between ropes, how to keep control of a struggling partner while tying it, etc. was covered.

To not touch ropes for a couple of months, get one hour sleep, feel a bit like the baby odd one out and to be the only one who wasn’t already a qualified known in the school, and tie with Osada Steve sensei’s exacting eye on every move was, well, a challenge. But what’s life for if you don’t rise to these occasions?

It was a challenge and a taste of how high-calibre the week to come will be. I amjust (just) passable enough in rope skills to not completely drown in these lessons. I hope. And the roughness and great tension in the tying would be a big deal for any bunny – I was surprised at how tight the ties were supposed to be done.

Shattered, going to sleep now.

Day 2

Fingers bleeding.

In theory it would be technically accurate to say that I tied Osada Steve today. However, this would be missing out crucial detail: he was teaching us how to ‘capture’ struggling partners, how to stand in a way that protects our balls from getting kicked, how to shift them off-balance.

So after we practised the technique for a while, he singled me out and told me to try to capture him. Ah.

He’s 6-foot something and trained to an advanced level in aikido. Ah.

Well, I started trying to wrap around his wrist with the first move, doing what he taught me, as he danced around the room making sure I couldn’t approach him from the angle I wanted.

There was a moment where we were both just grinning at each other as we acknowledged that he wasn’t going to make this easy for me. I finally managed something passable when he eased up a little, after a few simulated elbows to my face to highlight my lapses. Remind me not to try to tie large world-renowned senseis trained in martial arts in the near future though.

Today was on the whole much easier than yesterday, sleep and practice probably helped. I’ve worn the skin off my right index finger, which will make the remaining three days interesting. My existing knowledge is benefiting from the extra details that make it all more fluid and efficient, and today’s material overlapped enough with what I was already familiar with to feel comfortable most of the time…

…Except when chasing Osada Steve around the dojo.

Tomorrow we’ll start some suspension, although today already covered some vertical technique. Looking forward.

Day 3,4,5

Eye-opening. Mind-blowing. Life-changing?

So many thoughts, so much to spill onto a page…

The Classes

Friday, Day 3, marked the arrival of the second rope bunny, who for the purposes of this blog I will refer to as Little Miss Awesome, and the bruised Blue_Entropy took a much-deserved chill-out day.

With one hour of sleep, Little Miss Awesome was indeed awesome as we did a fair amount of side suspension amongst other things. Far less nervous than at the beginning, I began to appreciate that I was of a comparable skill level to the other students and no one was judging me. Sometimes I fiddled with details of forms that were new to me, and this occasionally led to bunny boredom which led to wriggling free, which (temporarily) confirmed Osada Steve’s perception that all English girls struggle and wriggle. By the end of Day 3 I’d cemented many of the details I’d learnt earlier this year, I was pleased to learn Osada Steve’s 3rd rope to the Takate-Kote, and we were moving into unfamiliar territory.

Day 4 (Saturday) was a free practice day with much messing about, and I managed the yokozuri side suspension with more success. I’ll still need to practice with heights, tension and speed. Little Miss Awesome read me like a book and did her best to get me to focus on her and not the ropes. I still have the scratch-marks. A theme that persistently came out of this was that the tying is 90% about your partner and 10% about the rope. The more fluid and automatic the technical details become, the more you can express yourself and connect. Driving a car becomes more fun once you can change the gear without thinking about it. Although tied up, Little Miss Awesome was as important a teacher to me as Osada Steve in conveying feelings and energy. For all her vices, she reads people, and this is so important. I feel so impaired in this at the moment, jittery, hopefully just a temporary phase as the PhD thesis closes.

Day 5 was the most enjoyable… especially after the change in spirit from the night before (more below). One of the hojo-jutsu ties was elegant while laced with meaning in Japanese culture of a guilty prisoner in a judicial trial. Osada Steve gave me a lot of time and attention as he saw my eyes light up with the options presented by a series of rather simple ankle/foot ties. It can be used to just keep your partner’s leg up in the air as she lies on the ground, presenting a humiliating position, and presents options to play with the rope and her shape as a toy, but it can also be used for inverted suspension, and even presents a lot of opportunities for progressions in suspension. I can imagine using these related ties a lot, in play and even in performance if I ever move on to that. Little Miss Awesome is lean, strong and acrobatic, so we moved on to inverted suspensions. For one of the ties, she started relatively flat, and in one sweeping tug she was propelled with her feet close to the ceiling, just suspended by her feet. It’s fucking satisfying to tug the suspension ropes until you’re lying flat on the ground, and provide the kind of dynamic ‘top gear’ moment of rapid change that Hajime Kinoko was saying adds variation and interest to his sessions and performances. Then we swung her around to much “weeee!” It entered the world of fast dynamic fluid progression, and confident stimulation and experience to the partner, that I want to explore further.

Osada Steve insisted that I stay in touch with Little Miss Awesome as she is actually quite talented and would make a good performer. And the words of praise and attention that Steve had for me were encouraging; he said a number of times that he feels people like me are the future.

The Copenhagen Shibari Dojo

It’s the people that make a place.

And that’s why the Copenhagen Shibari Dojo is one of the best places in the world. The level of talent is extremely high, yet there is no competition between members, no egos, no showing off, just pure love, passion, respect, enjoyment and support. People enjoy their own individual journeys. People talk themselves down, not up. The Dojo leadership stems from a pure sincere passion for shibari and kinbaku, not from wanting to be highly visible in order to pick up more girls. There is no hint of people undermining each other, and people share with each other if they want to, but again there is no hint of compulsive slutting.

And considering that the population of Copenhagen is less than a million and the total population of Denmark is less than 6 million, it’s incredible that there is such a concentration of talent and cooperation that we haven’t seen in London or the UK, as far as I’m aware. They are like a family, and we were welcomed within it.

The Dojo is linked to a club around the corner, which is similarly brilliant.

London and probably the UK has a lot to learn from Copenhagen. While I left the Dojo inspired, I also felt disappointed that I don’t think such a replicated effort could survive the politics of London. It’s the people that make a place.

The Club Night

For me, this was the biggest turning point of the journey. It’s a small private members club, with one main central room, and several smaller side-rooms, including one with an interesting array of historically authentic East German Stasi interrogation equipment.

After four simultaneous warm-up acts, Osada Steve gave his own performance. MaxTina gave a really original flowing performance that highlighted the deep connection they had together. Dspar – another great guy, who had been a superb host over the week – did something similar to what I’d seen Hajime Kinoko do with Ve, like a prayer on the floor which is then suspended into the air. I hope to learn this form one day. Ardour gave her performance with a model example of the Gyaku-ebi-zuri in action.

Osada Steve was suitably brilliant. He did some tough ties on his partner Mari, which included a form of minimalist face-down suspension used as torture (which he then taught us the next day in the last day of workshops?!)

Then came magic. The eye-opener. The most passionate and intimate thing I’ve seen in my life. Which left me speechless and even had Osada Steve saying he’d never seen anything like that before (oh, and that maybe English girls can enjoy rope without struggling after all). I don’t want to give any further details but everything started to make sense after that. The connection, passion and energy exchange between partners, not the focus on the ropes per se. Magic. And I want it. And I can make it if I persevere. I’ll have a lot of fun even if I don’t make it there. And the ties always have usage in the Western bondage sense of “she’s tied up now let’s do something cruel to her” so an important thing will still be to read partners regardless of what mode of play you conjure.

As much as Little Miss Awesome and I acknowledge that we will one day kill each other, I’m aware that I’ve seen sides to her that people who knew her for years never saw, and I value that. I’m grateful to her, Blue_Entropy, Osada Steve and the Dojo members for the huge experience this week has been.


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