Category Archives: The Rope

The way He saw Her

I take a deep breath and look around. S is crying. N is crying. Someone who’s name I don’t know is crying. I’m trying to wipe away the tears from my face. Everyone around me is looking slightly dazed, slightly confused. I breathe out, feeling as if there are too many people around me, join N outside as he is enjoying a cigarette. It feels almost as if we have played ourselves, or watched something so intense that it feels as if we have played. S is expressing how she felt that she was watching something private, something which she was not supposed to watch. I’m trying to find some kinds of words for it, and N is doing the same. We give up pretty quickly.

Sometimes, you see something which hits you right in your gut.  It is often unexpected and you need time to process it. Take time to find a way in which you can express what it was, because no words seem to make it justice. Not only are the words insufficient, but how can we even describe something which is so intrinsically tactile? I know photographers makes attempts, and some makes darn good ones. But it is still not the same. That is why it has taken this long to write this.

I had only seen a couple of videos with Naka Akira. Plenty of photos. But for me, none of then had really captured me, they were not luring me into the shadows of what he does so brilliantly. Beautiful rope that is for sure, but it had not left me with a lingering sensation. It had felt distanced.
That is why, when Naka and Iroha sat down on stage, I was not prepared. I was not prepared for the way in which he sat, not behind her as we usually see, but slightly off center in front of her, carefully seeking her gaze, meeting it and boom. A chill down my spine. I know that kind of look. It is one where my partner is not focussed on what I’m wearing, or what tie they will use or the next transition. It is one in which they see me, who I am. My desires, my longings, my weaknesses and my strengths. I wish I could explain this in any other way than this projecting my own feelings and experiences, but it is rather hard. That moment when he caught her eyes, she met his and looked away slightly before looking back, that is also when they caught me as an audience. This is a conversation that happens through the gaze, through the eyes and staying aware of what they express.

As he tied her into his signature highhanded gote, there was a calmness to it all. A stillness, placing her where he wants her to be and there is a different kind of objectification that usually does not appeal to me. I guess I am quite oversaturated with objectification of female bodies, how ever beautiful they are. What was not seen in many of the photos as well as being hard to detect in the few videos, is that Naka Akira’s gaze is so strong you can feel it in the audience, even if his complete focus is on Iroha. Raising her to standing up, he ties her legs tightly together and she could technically stand up (there is enough space) but she is leaning her whole body into the ropes. Iroha-style. Every single moment can be a photography of Norio, but this is different, because it is live and she meets his gaze everyonce in a while, before looking away again. As he continues to tie more and more ropes he is slowly revealing her. This is not the classical ‘slowly sliding the kimono over the shoulders’ move at the beginning of the performance that we have gotten so used to, it is much more methodical, not calculated but slower. Portions of vulnerability dished out and I can’t stop watching, while still feeling more and more like an invader.

He gagged her, slowly, with cloth, several of them, three in fact. When the last cloth went over her mouth, there was no way she could do anything but whimper.

As the performance went on, he tied her into a twisted facedown suspension, legs high, her beauty and strength exposed. He sits, looks at her again, she is breathing and processing. Hair getting tied. A flogger comes out and he hits her. The louder she gets, the more he push through the hit of the flogger. Harder and harder as you heard him breathing out every time the flogger hit down upon her.. She starts sobbing, and when she does, he is right next to her, holding her face in his hands, and suddenly, it does not feel like its about them anymore. Naka san had mentioned his mentor, Nureki, who has passed away just a couple of weeks earlier. This was him and Iroha paying homage to him, a farewell.

During the Q&A that followed it became quite clear how fond he is of what we would call a Showa period style of rope. Akira Naka does not work with carabiners or rings, he uses rope and bamboo as points of suspension as he feels the clash of metal and rope is not compatible. In an interview that followed, he was himself left wondering of why we see his style as ‘old’ or ‘historical’, it would not be a category he would use, he just feels that he ties rope and that is it. The ties are all harder on the partners’ body than even the most difficult ones showed by many other Japanese Masters. The focus is on the model, exposing her (it is almost always a her) and they are about creating angles, exposing and pulling the suffering out to be seen. Not flashy and fast, but slow and steady, a gradual build up that becomes meditative, a different type of flow and fluidity that does not seek speed at all. He is not always overtly close to his model, but always there, always present. Naka has the ability to sit back and watch, just watch, and seeing his partners inner experience unravelling. If there is something I learned from this, it was to take even more time, to dare to take a couple of steps back.
When Iroha later was asked how it was for her to show that kind of emotion on stage she answered that the audience does not matter. “You can see us but we cannot see you” , that their world is just their own. That is what we were witnessing, the world they created through the rope and through the eyes, and it was what made me cry. The way they saw each other, and the way the paid homage to someone who had just passed away.

Thank you Naka-san and Iroha-san. I will always be grateful for those moments that you share.


LFARJB 2011- Saturday

Ooopsie daisy. I found this the other day. 2012’s festival is soon coming up. I’m not sure I have anything from the Sunday or Monday written down anywhere, but I think it will have to be a ‘perhaps, maybe’ kind of thing.

On the Saturday, 2nd day of the festival, our little group of rope lovers all fell asleep on the train in the morning when going to Resistance Gallery. We got there a bit late (again) and by then, the schedule for the day had already been subjected to a reshuffle. The Japanese team were jet lagged and needed some rest, so others stepped in and did their classes or classes on other topics. I must admit I was terribly bad at keeping check on what went on during the day time, as it flew by so very quickly. Wykd Dave did his class on tension while Esinem held a beginners class upstairs, which went on during the day. I found myself walking around, looking at what was happening as well as relaxing. My two friends, one who has just only recently started to explore rope, went in very enthusiastically with all of his energy to learn as much as possible, and for others I offered myself up to be a demo-bottom. After a couple of intense weeks previously to the festival, with a lot of tying, I was quite happy to just kick back and relax. The mezzanine got very warm very quickly. That weekend was  sunny and very warm, and while we were  inside with ropes, the sun heated the building. A fan will probably be appropriate for next year, as people who walked down the stairs from the mezzanine were sweating like they had just been in a sauna. Rope can indeed get you flustered.

As a side-note, for the organizers, during the Saturday, the information was better displayed then on Sunday. Although the chalk-board worked as well as it could, those who arrived later during the day found it a bit confusing to find all the information. All in all, the festival was busier than ever, with more amazing rope going on, but for next year, the challenge will be to develop the organisation of the festival itself and focus on the small things which makes it even better for the visitors. One lecture which was very engaging and I would say vital, was Esinem’s talk on nerve injury. He was joined doing this by Wykd Dave. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard this talk, and yet, I make sure I always try to listen as if it was the first time hearing it. Give the document a read if you yet have not done so, do this regardless if you bottom or top with rope, that is my advice. To no surprise, the Q&A section of this talk was buzzing, and had to continue even if Esinem had to leave to continue doing the beginners classes upstairs. Due to different reasons, I did not have time to stop and sit down to listen to talk and demo on Hojojutsu by Strange Love. During the day, Esinem performed with Ika. Previous to the show, he had written:

Whilst most have been busy practising their shows, I have been busy not practising.  In part this is due to logistics, as my model does not arrive till Friday, but it is also a case of attempting to practice what I preach. In other words, I believe passion wins over emotionless precision every time.  Anyway, if I properly get into a rope scene, I become lost in it and there is no way I would ever manage to follow a rehearsed set. So, I have decided to “let The Force be with me” and rely on the connection with Ika to guide me.  It remains to see whether I can make the grade as a rope Jedi or will crash and burn …either way, I plan to keep it real!

A

And keeping it real he did. While I missed the beginning of the performance, a friend of mine did a recap. Esinem started with a floorbased  ichi-nawa session, very distinct to his style. You can see it here. Up close, fully embracing Ika, playing with balance  moving her back and forth, off balance, utilising all of the small nuances that are so important to kinbaku. Ika was then tied into a TK and a futo momo, partially suspended sideways and had wax dripped over her body. It was at this point I came into the room, and to my surprise, the soundtrack was one from the operas,  and

other classical pieces. An interesting contrast to the music that you usually hear in rope performances. What followed, I saw Esinem demonstrate how it is possible to make the untying seamless from the tying, and in the end, Ika was rather wobbly legged and had to be helped off stage.

The evenings’ performances started off with something really special. Yui Namiko . I first met this shy firecracker in Berlin a week earlier, where she was Kinoko’s model. During that week I slept at Schwelle7 and got to see her both in practice as a bottom, as well as on her own, + a performance for the crowd at the playparty in Berlin. All left me rather….flustered, as her presence and passion is somewhat out of the ordinary. Tiny, smiley and though as nails, determined as no other. In London, Yui entered the stage with dimmed lights carrying a large candle, dressed in a kimono with several layers of sheer fabrics and cotton ropes tied around her body as decorations. Her performance cannot be described in any other way but as a demonstration of her love of ropes. First, it evoked a sense of loss, sorrow and mourning within me and I thought that the candle represented someone close who was with her anymore, but after thinking more about this, I decided to revise this notion and instead focus on the story she told us with her body, without having some kind of  imagined ghost from the past lingering in my imagination. If there was any loss, it was her loosing herself completely into the ropes, with acrobatics and movement very rarely seen. She peeled layers of layers of clothing off her body, and the striptease aspect was heavily ingrained with the way in which she stripped herself raw, revealing layers of herself through the ropes. Every movement was deliberate, as an illustration of specific feeling; a story written and told with the body, all for art.  To say it was a night of wax-candles it not to exaggerate. Yui herself lit candles that were tied into a bundle of and traced it over her body,and there was no way of escaping this, no way to stop watching (not that you wanted). She drew all of us in, as she poured the wax over herself whilst still being suspended.  The candles burned close to her body, the drips  of wax falling into her face, into her hair. Yui held us in a tight grip from start to finish and afterwards, when she left the stage on shaky legs, she had the whole crowd in the palm of her hand, standing and cheering her name. When she peaked out from the balcony back stage area she was meet with even more cheers. If it wasn’t that she had given us all, we would probably would have asked for an encore.

The next performance was from one of the Peer Rope London crew, Will Hunt, who tied the wonderful Rabbitbunnie and Zahara. This was something completely else. Will Hunt was the guy dressed in black who had caught an innocent lady, Rabbitbunnie, who was prim and proper in a pussy bow blouse and a pencil skirt. Hunt is not someone who hesitate to pull a punch, and the tempo went from 0 to 100 in less than 30 seconds.

With somewhat of a new take on the damsel in distress, set to music by She Wants Revenge, Hunt was rather terrifying and Rabbitbunnee played the damsel so very convincing, demonstrating a growing panic, but also screaming her lungs out, resisting, trying to get away from the brutal Hunt.  He tied her into a TK while tossing her around, and if Esinem previously had played with balance with Ika, the way in which Hunt had Rabbittbunnie like a rag doll was a much more  extreme example of this. While it looked rough and aggressive, it was also controlled. This kind of physicality also came through when he started to ripping the blouse open, tearing her skirt up, flipping her forwards across his knee to tie her leg. Rather than him moving,he kept her moving around him, like a cat playing with a mouse; catch and release.

As his frenetic aggression started to make her submit physically, we suddenly were all surprised as he brought out Zahara, covered up by a trench coat. As he uncovered her, he showed her off. She was already tied into a tight 3 rope Takate Kote, he smiled, and giggle rippled through the audience.I laughed, because it made me feel a bit like the classic cooking show; “Here is the one I made earlier!” but with a much darker undertone obviously. This damsel was completely different to Rabbitbunnes’, as she had surrendered completely to his will, completely letting go into the ropes, showing no sign of struggle.  They all looked at each other for a moment, him grinning, Zahara completely calm and centred, Rabbitbunne on the ground, struggling to breathe slowly after her ordeal.

He quickly the attached a suspension line to the TK, and suspends her face down, in a very sharp angle so that she is almost diving down, before it is evened out.  The only points of suspension at this point is the TK and one ankle and this is how the suspension remains; yes, Zahara is a tough one. Securing the points, Will then took out wax candles, and a lighter run by gas.

He lit it with another huge grin and for the second time made the audience giggle. Zahara turned into a chandelier, watching down upon her co-prisoner. As Zahara came down, he positioned them next to each other and started untying. During this time, Rabbitbunnie sought to get the attention from her, to wake her up, to make her realise what situation she was in. But Zahara were lost, in the ropes, perhaps the Stockholm syndrome. A favourite moment of mine during this show were these still seconds, captured so beautifully in this photo.

These contrasts, with Rabbitbunnie’s desperation, wanting to escape his aggression and Zahara’s stillness, acceptance of her predicament, showed us a classic story about the damsels in distress, with signposts that were still rather wonderfully kitsch in its portrayal of the bad guy; add then also excellent rope work, showmanship, control and technical skills. Speaking of technical skills, the untying of the two damsels were done in a tandem, right hand working on untying one of the TK’s, left hand on the other, never relinquishing his control over the situation. support, or attention from Zahara, who was completely still.

The next performer was  Pedro & Karina.  Tying with no music what so ever, only a history being told by a voice in a microphone, we heard of Karina, who had disgraced her family and thus had to be punished by being exhibited, tied up on public display. The story, narrated by the excellent Mac added much of the feel.  Pedro, dressed in black with the classical black glasses embodied a type of kinbakushi we rarely see in this day of  age; the distant shadow. All the focus here was on her exposed body that made us into the ultimate voyeurs, the exposure and the intention of the humiliation of being on display, tied up. We did not get the flashy, fast rope, nor explosive transitions, but instead a slow build up of a situation, a scene, also illustrated by the changing of the setting of the light which marked the passing of yet another day. We get very used of seeing a specific type of rope here, and have often quite rigid ideas about what it should be like, that it gets easy to forget where it comes from and different expressions of it. It has not always been the kind of ‘connected’ experience that we like to push it, there are other factors there, playing with shame, but furthermore, also playing with a total kind of objectification, in which the object is the female body being tied up for display, and the subject of the rope artist is the person enabling this. If looking at rope and forgetting about the history, the background, and much of its present use, and denying these specific pornographies which are still very much alive and kicking, if we remove this, we would commit some serious cultural appropriation. Pornography or not, rope is multifacetted, and through Pedro’s historical reminder which was also very beautiful and technically excellent and innovative.

Next up on stage were Wykd Dave and Clover. The calm of the previous performance was gone, this was a performance with a lot of sadism, adrenaline and insanely beautiful bottoming. The way in which Clover totally surrenders into the ropes is rather extraordinary. Suited up, Dave cut the dress off Clover, and started tying her into a sidesuspension, , moving into a futo momo, using a lot of wax as well as a couple of cane strokes. Clover always look remarkable in rope, and my friend noted how Dave controlled each and every part of the performance, even when they bowed to the audience. You can find a video of the performance here.

Max and Tina came on stage next. This is a couple who have tied only with each other for more than 10 years. He does not tie anyone else and she is not tied by anyone else. Seeing them work together thus become very personal, intimate. The first thing you note is the focus of Max. His eyes, firmly fixed on Tina sent chills down my spine, in a good way one might add, and probably down Tina’s as well.

 The drums pushed this performance very much.  Tina was tied into a beautiful, slick face down suspension with both of her legs in futo momo’s which more or less had become the new black of this festival, a tie which featured a lot both in private play as well as on stage. But still, the way in which it featured in this performance made it really beautiful and unique.
Attaching clamps with bells on that then were slapped off with the help of a towel, Max followed the tradition of the evening, which was really about a lot of sadomasochism. There was a different pace here though, slow, controlled, almost settled way of moving, with outbursts of energy. Tina herself looking very strong and beautiful in the ropes, working not against, but with the ropes. Tied into a tough guyaku ebi (face down suspension) with both of the legs in futo momo’s it was a performance which was truly memorable.

And I’m sorry dear readers. But this is as much as I will write about the festival 2012.  The post is more than one year old now, and it is time to let it go. Time for new adventures. But this has really been nostalgic.

See you on the flipside.


Rope Practice Diary-New Objectives

Still catching up with backlog. 

A couple of months ago I wrote down a couple of objectives for the ropes; what I wanted to focus on in order to develop my ropework. I guess it is time to evaluate and develop new objectives as the time goes on. (see previous post)
The objectives then were:

Muscle memory to solidify foundational elements
Visualisation-  why I do what I do and think constructively about the ties.
Connection- was a questionmark then.

The main objectives on the foundations, especially in regards to the TK and Kinoko hip harness was to tie this with a focus on getting it right, tensions, placement and consistency. I’m most pleased with how the development of learning the Kinoko harness has worked out, both in my hands and in my mind. I understand why I want to do what I do with the harness, tying it goes smoother and smoother and more often than not, placement and tensions work out on the person I’m tying it on, which to be fair, is the most important bit. Every once in a while I tie it slowly, slowly, in order to keep track of myself and not getting into any bad habits. Slowly does it also for the TK. Back then I thought I was going to focus on the three rope TK, but in reality, it is the 2 rope TK that has been getting most of the attention, and it has really improved. But in the same time I’ve noticed tying the ‘third rope’ is still somewhat hesitant and not at all as smooth and efficient as it can be. Thus; the third rope will get much more attention now, especially in regards to muscle memory and efficiency of movement. I want to be able to use it if I need to, as well as exploring a couple of other versions of it, but for now, focus will be placed on the third rope. Same thing here, tying slowly but with effiency. After a couple of good pointers from Peter Slemrian, I think I’m going to head in the right direction when it comes to this, especially in regards to a couple of tiny movements of the fingers which will improve the flow.

Speaking of Peter Slemrian and his advice; I have finally a game plan for smoother sailing on my suspension lines. For some time I’ve felt like I have fumbled too much, had far too messy lines and felt line handling being somewhat laborous when it should not. The last couple of weeks I’ve been extra attentive when it has come to this; avoiding or cleaning up the mess and still being secure, but it wasn’t until the past weekend when Peter saw me tie and then pointed out how I was actually working against myself and making it more difficult than it really is that I had some practical tips that I can move forward with. Now there is something I can do on my own, and that is to practice handling my suspensionline. In this I will utilise the technique he demonstrated and made me test, over and over again. Extra attention towards not pulling the rope through the half hitch towards me, but pass me, like it is driving by. Also, being precise and a bit more thorough with the second half hitch will make me feel more comfortable, rather than stressing around.

After the workshops with Kazami Ranki, I have tried to really remember what he told me, which was essentially that I needed to relax a bit more. “Quick hands, slow heart”. This is the next thing to focus on, but not speed for speeds sake,but to rest into what ever it is that I, to mentally focus and trust that which is in front of me. Have a long road to travel on this one, and it will probably be a part of the overall objective for all the rope work. But it is a good one to hang on to.

A challenge just received from when I went across the Atlantic is to start to dare to move away a bit more. Cannon and I was discussing rigging styles and asked each other in what ways our rigging would improve. He asked me to try to step back a bit, to not always be right up close and I think there is something there. As much as closeness is important, I need to remember that it is not about vincinity but intimacy. If I work properly, the rope is the link, not my direct body. Indirectly he reminded me of that, hope the rope is the link, or the conduit; let it do it’s work. Rest into it, take a step away; create some space around the bottom, or even hesitation. Did exactly this in a session last weekend, actually as a start of a tie, standing and waiting behind the rope bottom almost in the other end of the room. Rest assured I will continue having this in mind as it produced very interesting results.

Last but not least, I want to work on angles. For this, I will go back to the classic yoko zuri, the Osada Ryu style, rather than the Kinoko style. The one which has the hip harness is spectacular from so many perspectives, but I found myself becoming lazy and not thinking enough about levels and angles in suspensions. It is easy to do something quite random, but I need to develop a better eye if there is something special I wish to achieve with this. So I will play around with and see how different angles in the side suspension work on the bottom.
To sum up I shall focus on:
The third rope on the TK (efficiency and stability)
Better control on my suspensionlines
Quicker hands, a slow and focussed heart
Playing with connection that is not based on actual vincinity- daring to take a couple of steps back.
Yoko zuri- levels and angles bootcamp.

All with the same engagement in tying it slowly and really focus on intent and how come I do things. At this time, I’m just happy to be back on track :)


Rope practice Diary-Objectives I

So objectives change. This was my first one I wrote back in October perhaps. Things were not really good then on many levels, but tried to have something to focus on.

Dear Diary..,.

I try to keep myself a bit busy, try to keep going with that which is important. One of those things is to practice,practice,practice. Today Bambi Kiss and I have had our second practice session together and is keeping on top of our diaries in order to make them regular for the coming weeks as well, which feels good. It is so easy to get comfortable and sizzle out,
This diary is for me to keep track of what we go through, what we think about it and stuff for me to remember. I don’t know if it will always be published here as I still try to catch up with 10 blogposts but hey.

My general objective for 2011 (what is left of it) is to rope my ass off… D’oh. But on a more concrete level I wish to focus on:

*Muscle memory to continue to solidify the foundational elements, to put them further and deeper into my fingers and my spine. Slowing down and being thorough (speed for speeds sake is not that interesting anyway, technique and movement more so). Especially in regards to the 3rTK and hip harnesses (to begin with!), but also about the macro-elements of efficient movements and really push my fingers and body to utilise skills learned. Knowing is not enough, doing gets you further.

*Visualisation: Where do I want to go together with the person I am tying? Some people might add a ‘how would I do that?’ to that part, my I’m not sure at all that is included here, as the road we take quite often diverge into other paths less expected and it is not something I want to exclude.

*Concretizise: thoroughly think about the elements of ties, about what they consist of, and why they consist of this.

*Connection? This is a tricky one. Both me and Bambi know that practice is practice. We do have a good baseline and have done a connection based scene or two. Furthermore, it is easy to slip into elements of play while practising, no wonder. But I have also made it clear that my head space right now is one which is very untoppy, with an element of the dominant side of me being burned out due to outside circumstances. Just to think about a connection driven scene makes me shake and cry, miss his skin, the scent, the way in which he moves. I can’t and I wont go there unless the situation itself materialise as such. Not now. Not yet.

There, that’s about it.

 


The Doctor

 

In 2010 I sat on a panel speaking about BDSM 101 on Stockholm Pride.  It was an interesting experience, as it always is, because at that point, I had only recently started talking about kink in a public setting. Explaining what you do and why to people who perhaps have never heard of practices such as BDSM is a great thing to do, because it makes you understand it more for yourself as well as challenges you to pronounce things more clearly.
A year later at Pride 2011 there was a lot of focus on rope-bondage, mainly because I have managed to put all of my fingers in the pie. Esinem travelled from the UK to present and talk in different classes, and all were very well attended. During one of these classes I got to meet someone who I will call the Doctor.

He approached me during Esinem’s class on ‘Tying People Not Parcels’ to ask if we could work together. I have been walking around assisting Bruce for the most part of the evening but did not hesitate to jump in as he asked so nicely. In short: there was no tuition on how to actually tie something like a leg or a arm in this class it was all about the interaction.The Doctor said that he did not how to tie, and I just showed him how he could use a larks’ head around my chest, a couple of pointers on safety, and then just wrap the rope while remembering what Esinem had been speaking about. Now, there was something that really shook me when he was doing this, simply because he was god damn good at it, better than many experienced riggers. In the beginning I asked him if he wanted me to be quiet or give him feedback while he was doing this. He said specifically that he was interested in feedback, so I responded, both verbally but also physically while he was tying, letting him know what the effect of certain movements and things that he did made me feel like. Afterwards, he asked if I could tie him, and we sat down again. It was intense to tie him then and there, simply because it felt like he got it, the kind of rope-gospel I like to preach to people. When I caught one of his fingers with the rope and started to manipulate his body, there was such a big smile in his face I was almost floored. Except for the fact I was already sitting on the floor.
We met up again later that week, and ended up talking a whole afternoon and evening, with a lot of wine and sushi involved. Thirsty was there to.  It became clear that the Doctor had heard me speak in 2010 and had started to piece together what his interests were and then  had decided to come to the bondage workshop this year. We spoke about everything and anything, but mostly kink, and especially DS. Later Thirsty confessed that he had felt like armcandy and liked it. That night, we ended up sitting at cliffs overlooking the whole of Stockholm, as it was lit by night. The sea looked like black oil, we made out, abused Thristy, a group of 16 year old’s asked if we were having a threesome and we could not really answer anything else but yes. After having failed on finding ourselves a hotel room; first checking up hotels online and then calling them in the middle of the night was probably not a good way of trying… we said our goodbyes. Another night was already on the cards as all of us had the same town as base. So when I headed down for a quick visit to south of Sweden, me and the Doctor planned in another  night just the two of us. It started with Thai food, we picked up rope and toys and then headed to his place. There he corked up the champagne, and true to his specific brand of hedonism, strawberries. Talking, laughing and flirting was very soon followed by making out. The rope came out of the bag and the second time he ever tied someone,  he did it again so well that he spaced me out.  This is rather special, as it is very few people who have the ability to do this at all and most of the time, they are fairly experienced with rope. This is not so much about their technical capabilities, but rather about the joint notion of their desire, their way of tying and their confidence. In this case, with The Doctor, it was about the way he moved and his closeness and intensity that made us connect on a whole different level.

 

Another thing which was very interesting was to experience his exploration of dominance. As a bottom, he shines very strong, basking in the stimuli, and reacts to it very strongly, holding nothing back, a twitchy plaything that enjoys every second of what he is getting. But as a but as a dom, he is almost like a scientist: a special tone of voice, a distant, almost frightening presence. When he found my evil hitty schtick he did not use for pain, but to point and prod, to control my body, to place it in positions he deemed beautiful. As he studies the body his knowledge of it is very precise, and as one of those who get off on expertise, it has been rather remarkable to hear this man talking about the vulnerability of the skin. This has happened on several occasions, using Thirsty as an anatomical doll for example, writing with a sharpie, pointing and prodding, speaking about every little detail, those details that makes it so much more scary when pressing against the vulnerable skin. The man is certainly learning at the speed of light. And I’m looking forward to much more fun to be had. Especially since he is a bi switch, who loves rope and thinks every day should come with champagne.

 


LFAJRB 2012 proudly Presents: The Ichinawa-Kai

So, finally the weekend that I had been waiting for arrived.  The London Shibari Festival, or rather, the London festival of the art of Japanese Rope Bondage. Don’t try to say it too quick to many times, it will just twist your tongue. The opening night of the festival had an all Japanese line-up with the members of Ichinawa-kai, a rope-collective from Tokyo, lead by Kinoko himself. A description of this group in the program read:

You could say that Ichinawa-kai is similar in many respects to the peer-rope projects that are taking place all over Europe these days, where both devotee’s and aficionado’s from all back grounds and age groups can meet upon common ground. Hajime Kinoko likes to refer to the group as a ‘Comprehensive Kinbaku Entertainment Organisation’ which in Western terms might be better described as affiliation, collective or co-operative. In simple terms; the kindred spirit. Everyone involved takes Kinbaku seriously and dedicates a great deal of time and energy to continually develop their wider understanding of the art. However, it is not all serious! Within the group there is a sense of openness and fun…

In the months leading up to the festival, a lovely letter came from Kinoko and with that more information about the group itself. You can read more of that here. On the first night of the festival, the lineup for the shows consisted of the members of the Ichinawa-Kai, i.e. that is a completely Japanese line-up in Europe. It must have been a first. I had 4 people visiting for this occation, including the amazing Niki who was my bunny, or a bunny (rope-slut <3)  for the weekend, and two new found friends, and one person who recently discovered rope, the Doctor. We made our way to the venue after a delicious Indonesian meal, and got seated on front row. And boy were we in for a treat!

First performance was with a favourite female kinbakushi of mine, Yoi. Her performance at Toubakutouched me deeply, and she was now back with the same model. The concept this time was much more simple, there was less play and a very much traditional, straightforward rope-session, displaying the models body but also torturing it through difficult poses or through suuchi-nawa, shame and exposure. Yoi is a very special rigger who has an incredibly calm presence, and a no fuss way of doing rope. A friend of mine described her as a very stern madam. That very same friend then developed a huge crush on this only female kinbakushi in the collective. I could definitely understand why. Yoi could be the kind of teacher that would show up and a whole class room would get quiet simply through her presence. With her tiny model, (who is going to to remain un-named) I got a sense that this scene was about disciplinary measures, the model very petite, rather school-girl like.

Photo by Mooschief Images

The model entered the stage carrying a single red candle. As she sat down, Yoi reached over her shoulder and opened the underskirt, lit another large white candle, took the red candle away and pushed the white one into the mouth of the model, remarkably deep. As the candle wax slowly dropped, the model sat still, only ever shivering ever so slightly, waiting.
Yoi’s tying is functional, but with beautiful lines and maximum exposure of the model. She is one heck of a rigger and a sadist; applying plenty of crotch-rope, while looking completely nonplussed as her model squirmed from the tight ropes. Yoi did not make any large movements, but it was in her calm presence and the precarious situation of her model that we as a audience could rest in. The stern madam, controlling the room she was in. The purposeful but still understated way of tying played with both the shame and the shyness of the model, where the part where the exposed genitals was not framed as a big reveal, instead it just was a simple development of what was already there. The model was tied into a demanding yoko zuri- sideways suspension, and once more had the candle in her mouth. Once untied from the suspension, the previously mentioned crotch-rope came into action.  As a result, the model was finally carried off stage, a faint smile mixed with a blissed out look.

Shigure was next on stage. Him and his model was remarkably different, especially since she was not a very tiny one, even by Western standards. We get used to seeing the tiny models from photos and performances, but this was a very strong reminder of the wide spectra of people who love rope. Her body, although larger than usual was also strong and beautiful, and it was indeed liberating to see rope on this level with this kind of model. I must also say that this performance, although not extremely showy, was one of my favourites, because of their immensely strong connection, their relationship really shone through the ropes in an almost overpowering manner. There was a special way in how they interacted and how she was exposed to the audience, or rather, not as exposed as many of the other models. When she shifted position, he made sure her Juban was covering her, the way he looked at her and treated her made me as an onlooker almost ashamed of butting in on what seemed to be a very private session. But they still tied in front of an audience, and managed to merge that very special gap between creating something captivating and still staying true to themselves.  They both started out kneeling on stage, him closing his eyes and then opening them again, fixating them on a point just above her neck. Her eyes were closed, but it was possible to feel the focus of them both. As he started to tie, it became so clear that he tied so intensly with his whole heart, that he tied for both of their sake. It was the small things; the way in which he looked at her, the way in which he wiped the sweat of his forehead with a cloth, then he did the same thing for her. His hands were precise, seeing with them where the rope went rather than trying to look and she responded to every single touch, with a calm confidence. She was tied into another yoko zuri, but completely different from the previous one we saw with Yoi. When she was mid-air, Shigure took a tenugui and covered her face, to then pour water all over the cloth. Waterboarding mid suspension. Nothing forced or over theatrical, but still intense. After this she progressed beautifully into a guyaku ebi. There was a quiet moment here, when he took her face, held it with both of his hands and they looked into each others’ eyes. Both me and my friend the Doctor was deeply touched by this. He spoke about it later and said that it was a display of two people who were very happy together, and that they shared that happiness with us as an audience.It was a display of deep love and happiness. There was so many expressions of deep emotions and devotion to each other but it did not get sleazy, au contraire, it just was about their journey together. This intensity was palpable, and what made it more special was that they were one of the couples who wished to not have their performance recorded in any way. Instead it was a performance which they did for each other and chose to share it with the us, the audience. A truly unique experience.

Photo by Mooschief

Next on stage was Bingo, who got to represent a very interesting kind of sadism, the subtle sadism perhaps, if that is the correct word. Him and his model, the extraordinarily beautiful  Akane, came up on the stage together, her with purple rope wrapped around the neck.

He started by wrapping that rope up and showing how it was connected to the arms that werealready tied behind her back, then started to tie her into a takate kote.

Photo by Mooschief

This followed by tying her legs, then suspending her sideways, a sideways suspension which then progressed into an inverted suspension. It was beautiful to see the way in which he progressed in these, because it was not just about the shape, but also about the levels. It went from being a fairly low suspension to a higher one, as time went by. Incredibly dynamic. The way in which the sadism was ‘subdued’ then was that it was not the kind of sadism which utilise direct heavy force, but it was the little things, the small expressions of it, tugging slightly on a rope, the way in which the explosive parts came during the transitions and progressions of the suspension and the heavy handed smacks on Akane’s buttocks, which left huge marks, only after getting her arse hit two or three times. The best way I feel to describe this was through using the word graceful, there was so much grace and poise throughout the performance,subtle sadism and with a very strong soundtrack it was yet again a show which left me and my friends in a rather quiet and contemplative mood.

By Patrick Siboni

Next person up on stage was Ero Ouji and  his m’jo who was dressed in a white kimono with a red hairband, red which became a reoccurring colour during the performance. They started by her sitting right at the edge of the stage, him standing further back. Through the sound of his sandals slamming down into the stage, he marked his presence and she bowed for the audience (and him).

By Patrick Siboni

She bowed as deeply physically possible, remaining absolutely still, and the submission she displayed made the hairs in the neck stand right up. He walked closer, very slowly,while she remained in her deep bow. He took a hold of her very resolutely, tied a very strict 3TK, before starting to remove her kimono. She twitched, tensed up, then relaxed, before standing naked in front of the crowd. He removed the hairband, which was then transformed into a tightly tied fundoshi, savouring the moment of her squirming, forcing her to hold the front part of the fabric with her mouth. The way in which they interacted was electrical, the Doctor described it as if he ‘really, really wanted her’.

We then got to see how she was tied to a bamboo-pole that was suspended. All the transitions then took place through the pole, which acted as a mid-beam. When she was fully inverted he took out a large single tail which handle was encrusted with diamond-like stones and started whipping her. It looked amazingly impressive and was indeed a show, but I noticed somewhat of an interesting part which I would like to talk about a bit. When he started to tie the pole together with her, the focus shifted from being one which was about a very strong connection to one which was about the show, about the expressions and the technicalities of this very impressive rig. There is a balance there that all performers thread, and I really liked the showmanship together with the craft he displayed in this show. What we cannot forget was his wonderful rope-partner, expressive and incredibly strong.

Photo by Mooschief

By Patrick Siboni

The last performer of the evening was also one of the main performers, Kazami Ranki. Known as the ‘Atrocious Nawashi’ due to some very sadistic movies he has made. Seeing this man in action during the weekend actually wanted me to rename him as the ‘Smiling Nawashi’. Him and his model Gestalta had only met that very day, but this did not show at all in the performance. As it started, they flirted with each other in a very understated way, he smiled, their eyes met, he started tying, their eyes met again, he smiled even more. There was a great preciseness, no nonsense way in his style of tying, a preciseness that brought out so much of the elegant beauty of Gestalta, but moreover, how they moved together, how it was something they did together, and needed each other to do what they did. There was not much of the expected ‘atrociousness’, but instead we were treated to beautiful rope.At one point, Gestalta was suspended, he kneeled down, seemed to ask her is she was ok, she nodded and then he did a straight pull, pushing her into a single ankle inverted suspension. This, together with the insanely beautiful hair of Gestalta, which was revealed at this point, made it look like she was floating through the air, although she was in an intensely demanding position which very few people can pull off. This was indeed one of the main-acts, and it was wonderful to see him making the rope to be all about the one that he was tying, an understated way of introducing himself and what he loves to do. Later he wrote a letter which was published on Fetlife, explaining the way in which he tied and felt about it:

Dear everyone,

I truly appreciate that the organisers invited me and gave me such an opportunity.
Also thanks to all staff for looking after me very much.

This time, my Kinbaku performances were in the very simple form which does not include a whip nor a candle, unlike my ‘hard’ style which you have known.
It is because I thought that I would pull out M-jo gestalta’s beauty just by using only rope.
With her, detailed communication was taken through the interpreters.
Then my performance have become that form.
Although I am not sure how it was projected in your eyes,
I think that the view of the world of me and gestalta was able to be taken out.

It was honorable that I could teach rope bondage to non-Japanese students in the workshop in London.
At first I thought that bad things would be checked and corrected according to the method of your own style of Kinbaku.
However, when I heard that you wanted to learn Kazami’s own style, I really was moved and I appreciated it.
I hope there will be another opportunity which I can teach more Kazami’s Kinbaku style.

I would like to do my very best so that people in the world may further raise their passion and stronger love for Kinbaku.
I am looking forward to meeting everyone again.

Kazami Ranki

Thank you for reading this far. There are plenty of more posts in the pipeline, after all, this was only the beginning of the festival…


Performance

I’m behind on all posts. Again. It has been an intense summer, and I’m still finding myself having a very extensive hangover from the last month or so. This post will be about performing in front of a crowd and how it felt to do my first public show ever.

After a big event such as Shibaricon, or the Stockholm Pride there is a lot of things to write about. I usually brain-storm afterwards, trying to sort through the memories, the feelings, the important bits and to also consider that which is perhaps not important at all, as it can be exactly the opposite. Our minds are brilliant at hiding small details that then emerge with full force. One such detail is from the Tuesday party night, at Wish ( a womens’ only playparty), when D and I was preparing for the show. We had rehearsed the day before, she was still bearing the ropemarks. That very evening, before the door opened, I had set up the suspensionpoint, got help setting up the light, organised the playlist together with the brilliant DJ, then quitely sitting and preparing the coils of rope exactly to how I wanted them. The first rope of the TK in a slightly larger coil than the first, the tenugui folded properly, candles and lighter, the vicious antique Japanese scissors, a short hitty stick. But the other preparation took place minutes before we went on. She got dressed, we checked the kit, then sat down in the staff room in a quiet corner, leaning us against and feeling each other. Those precious moments, sitting quietly without speaking, while breathing, stroking each others hair, massaging her shoulders, helping her to warm up.

I have never ever done a ‘proper show’. I do play in public, but the set up is different in this case. D and I have played with rope before and know each other fairly well, the rehersal had gone well, and if we knew that if we just would focus on each other, we could probably get out on the other side without having looked like fools. Performances are interesting for many reasons. There are the purely theatrical, which can be good but also seem to be somewhat of a mime instead of showing something interesting (no, I don’t like mime, deal with it!). Then there are the ones with stories, the theatre which comes to life and make you live through that which is in front of you. And then there are those which you perhaps can’t judge if it is just something that is happening as a scheduled performance or intimate, private play. I am aware that a performance as such often has to give something extra, be faster and display the action, the model and the movement more clearly. Thus, in the back of my mind was also the way in which I as a rigger needed to position myself in order to not block the view too much, as well as how to best show how amazing D looks in rope. I was also seeking to actively attempt to show the audience a rope-session which would be about communication and interaction.

She was dressed in a very simple kimono, with rope as a belt  that would get undone if pulled. As she stood in the spotlight and the music started, I got closer to her with every beat of the music, pulling the kimono over her shoulders, stroking her skin, grabbing the rope-belt that started to get undone. I moved to the front, trying to be as invisible as possible, hunching on the floor as the rope came undone, falling off and with that, the kimono fell to the floor. She became exposed and as I uncoiled the first rope close to her skin, the music had already set the pace. Pushing shoulders back, making her arch her back (trick learned from a dirty old man) and my fingertips felt her shiver, my cheek close to her neck, feeling her pulse beating. The ropes came alive, and then all of a sudden the performance was over in no time. But before that I several things: what ever you think that you might do, it will be slightly different or very different; even if you checked that everything is working, you have forgotten something; the light is in all likelihood be even darker than you expected; when you think you are too fast, you are going slower and vice versa; the person you are tying are going to shine so bloody bright just because they are wonderful; it is essential that you keep on doing those things that make it ‘right’ from the beginning rather than trying to alter your style and finally: wearing latex is going to make you sweat like…eh. insert appropriate description here.

D was more than magnificent, she was shining so incredibly bright in the ropes and played together with me and the ropes in a way that can only be described as surreal to see. There is some kind of adrenaline so special to this kind of performance/public play, and yes, it was over far too soon.

Afterwards, someone who I deeply respect and admire came up and told us that she now understand Shibari as more than just pretty knots.  Then D smiled, sitting on the floor, drinking a glass of water. It was the only thing I needed to see.


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