Tag Archives: London Festival of the Art of Japanese Bondage

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.


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…


London Festival of the Art of Japanese Bondage- Part II

Dear reader; I am so sorry for the delay with the updates on this blog.  This summer has been amazing, but I was caught in a net of writer’s block and lazyness.

As the Sunday evening came, so did the main-party. Thanks to Clover and Dave I was provided with  an obi, holding together the kimono I wore.It was also Dave who kindly tied said obi It was indeed one of the most comfortable outfits I ever worn to a party, which just shows that it was not a real kimono… All in all, it was not a genuine kimono nor a ‘genuine’ look, but it was very comfortable to run around in that outfit.

By Echo Photograph

Bunny and I met, her looking gorgeous as always. We wanted to play during the evening, and as the first show started we were already up on the mezzanine, but when Dasniya Sommer went on stage, we took a break to stand and watch a mesmerizing dance between two people. Sommer’srope-partner was wrapped up in a piece of fur, creating beautiful contrast to Sommer, who was naked, if one disregard her amazing haircolour, which matched the color of her pubic hair (attention to details indeed.

The fur and the music made me think of Russia for some reason, but speaking to Sommer a bit later, she said that it was more alluding to animals at play. The double suspension, in which her partner was first suspended and then she joined in was magical and very different from many other shows seen before.  The shows throughout the evening had those unique qualities that made my both cry and laugh, never becoming bored. But as any party, there was a lot of socializing going on, making me miss a performance every now and then.

Shadow did one amazing show again, and with her signature of strong, playful session while still remaining in full control, maintaining the energy from the beginning to the end, using her body as well as the rope to shift the balance of her gorgeous rope-bunny.
It was indeed an evening that both showed the skills of the riggers but also of the rope-models.

The show by Mistress Amrita was one which took us to a interesting place where there was sea, and mermaids and nets, the performers enclosed in a big plastic bag, giving them a sphere where we could see them and they could see us but still a small layer of plastic was between the audience and the performers, giving it even more of a otherworldly feeling and maybe also pushing buttons on voyerism and exhibitionism. Who is actually being watched?

The mermaid was released from a net,suspended, taken down, transformed into a human, to then be pushed head first into water. This piece was so well thought out, with music, outfits, ropes and props taken in to account.

Boykitten,  did a dramatic and powerful selfsuspension in ballet-boots At one point he started to thrash around testing the ropes to the limit and pushing his own body and in the second after, complete control and stillness.  Very impressive and also one of the youngest (the youngest one?) on stage during the weekend.

The highlight was Kinoko’s performance. He had no music, and it was like you were watching private play between two persons. I’ve never been in a room with a couple of hundred people and it been so silent as it was during his performance. When he hit with tiny bamboorods on the top of her feet, you heard the audience draw their breath, and you heard every squeel from Arisa as she was placed in positions I did not know was possible. There was a complete trust, and I can really recommend to view the video. Sensual, emotional, painful, perfect.

Two other performances, both spellbinding and intense in their own right, was still working on very different levels.  Nawashi Murakawa drew us in to a world which felt like travelling through history, to the japanese country side, him walking with two gorgeous female prisoners with ropes around their necks.

Please press play for music similar to the one used in Nawashi Murakawa’s performance.
Hypnotic to say at least, and it really gave the audience something completely else.  The music, the rope-artistry, scenography, it all came together and made complete sense, creating a dream.

Contrasting that was Esinem and Electric Fairy, who did a school-themed suspension scene, with even the music fitting perfectly. (Queen and Pink Floyd to mention a few).E.F was the naughty girl caught perving over her teacher, who then discovers masses of rope in her bag, some sex toys and then an apple. Suitable punishment followed. Esinem always effects you as a viewer, I’ve never seen a show or play by him and not felt it. He and E.F oozes of chemistry and his ropework  is fast, precise and in his sadism there is so much care shining through that they both radiate.

When the shows were all over around 3 o’ clock in the morning the play and party still continued and I only had about 3 hours of sleep before heading back for a final day of related activity.  Let’s hope that post wont be taking as long for me to write as this one.


London Festival of the Art of Japanese Bondage- Part I

First, an apology:
This post has been long due, and I’m sorry about being so slow. It was due to personal reasons and other worldly things getting in the way of my typing paws.

At times this account of the event is going to be personal. I will do everything I can to not make it too private and uniteresting for you as a reader, but the weekend in itself became something very personal, making it hard to write about it in any other way.

When last year’s London Festival of the Art of Japanese Bondage (LFAJB) took place I had not started to tie yet. I was still enjoying restraints, but my knowledge about restraining someone with rope was limited to the cat’s paw and that was it. I was not in the country when the first annual LFAJB took place, but heard so much about it, and since my situation had changed quite drastically now it was an event I was really looking forward to.
It was easy to click home a full weekend pass, but I was more hesitant about booking a ticket with Kinoko Hajime’s masterclass, which would be the start of the festival on the Friday. I was hesitant because of many reasons. One is that I am a beginner. As a beginner I still fiddle with the basics, getting it not entirely right from time to time. Another thing is that I don’t think I do shibari at all. I do have an interest and a certain affection towards the aesthetics of Japanese culture , but when I tie I can’t call it shibari per se, because that is not yet what I have learned. Because of these things I was afraid to be a liability instead of someone who would be an active learner. In the end I decided it was too good of a chance and did my best to silence those weird voices telling me I would not be able to do it.

As I met my lovely ropebunny for the course  in the morning, we had a talk, drank some water and found our way to the Resistance Gallery,  and we had some time to relax inside while the prep work for a whole weekend with rope went on around us. A huge suspension-frame which needed about 6 people in order to get in place was placed on the scene on the ground floor.

The venue consists of a main ground floor with a stage and a mezzanine,both parts used for classes. With one suspension frame on each floor, one large one on the stage and one slightly smaller on the mezzanine, there was plenty of possibilities for flying. With mats provided for the floors, it was also possible to do a lot of floorwork, or just sit comfortable
.There was a lot of beautiful art on the walls, a stand that would sell really nice japanese food, including sushi that unlike

most part of London was not overpriced. The bar is always in-expensive at the gallery, providing not only alcohol but also tea and coffee for those in need. The whole space was decorated with rope and bamboo-rods, making it homely in a different manner, but homely nonetheless.

Food and drinks on the spot was much appreciated, making it possible to stay late during the whole weekend. Esinem sold his rope, so did www.ouchy.ne.

As the class started I realized I did not need to worry. Kinoko Hajime demonstrated two upper-body ties, both of which names I have forgot (those who were there, could anyone add their wisdom and tell me?) and we students followed him as he tied. It was a hands on, step by step class, and it was very healthy to get this kind of break-down of the components of the ties. The ties themselves were beautiful and demonstrated by our tutor very thoroughly, communicating partially through a translator and partially through  basic English. It became very clear early on how skilled he is, both in his craft and as a tutor, very humble and relaxed, taking a lot of time to make sure we got it right, walking around looking at all of the participants work, correcting here and there or just giving a compliment or constructive advice. All this made up a very relaxed atmosphere. The second tie was demonstrated a bit faster and I just could not keep up the pace, but thank heavens Kinoko handed out a step by step guide to this one, with 112 steps :)

I understood that the experience of the participants was split over the whole spectra, some people tied for the first time, while others followed him and then dared to developed the ties, but what caught my eye was how it was a moment to get an insight of the structure and thought behind a purely Japanese style tie, and how specific Kinoko was on this point.

Before I forget it I also want to say a massive thank you to the ropebunny, Electronic Doll, who was a big help if I lost track or was unsure of what I was doing. She was indeed quick to note small things, and I probably would not have been able to finish in a dignified manner without her help.

The two and a half hours ended all too soon, and we packed our bags, parted ways and left for a couple of hours rest before the opening night.

Returning to the opening party in the evening, there was people socializing and viewing the art, as well as tying every here and there. This was something that would continue throughout the weekend, people were not only tying during the classes, but used the space as much as they could, and in every manner possible, which is just one of the many proofs of how successful it was.
As the evening went on, the shows started, and due to illness I had to leave all too early, missing both Kinoko’s first performance, but also missing Maleficent Martini and some other amazing performances.  To read an account of what Electronic Doll saw and did during the Friday evening, click here.

What I did see was Shadows performance, together with Felix. Shadow is a major inspiration of mine, both as a performer and as a teacher. Watching her play with Felix, tying and suspending him touched something very deep within me, a feeling that I later discovered that I shared with many. There is so many strong connections between them, and they shared their experience with each other as well as inviting the audience in to a very visual, emotional and as well physically demanding performance. Felix is very much taller than Shadow but that was of no importance when she started to tie him up.  Their performance was about much more than the physical difference between them (although it is very impressive to see what can be done!)  and it felt like I’ve could have watched them for hours, as she played with him, using rope, antique scissors and knifes, a red cloth, her body and her mind to move her partner.

The classes during Saturday and Sunday

As Saturday came I was happy about not staying up too late and left fairly early together with the guests I had in the house for the weekend, Clover and Wykd Dave, to go to the gallery.
I met Bunny there who is someone who I have been tying with for some time, we had bought the couples ticket in order to get as much as possible out from the weekend together. The first one was a talk with aforementioned Shadow, who spoke about how to take care of rope. Now some people, like me, are lazy bastards. I love my rope and I like to be able to take care of it well. So far I’ve only bought treated rope and I’ve never been disappointed. But she made me a bit curious, and as the summer approaches I think there will be enough time for me to treat rope for the first time, thanks to a very thorough talk done by Shadow. One of the top tips she gave was the microfiber towels that are excellent for cleaning the ropes, something I’ve started doing.

Another talk was Esinem’s talk on bondage and safety. I attended this, because my general view is that even if you heard it one time before, or 10 times before you can always hear it one more time. One of the most important bits that he mentioned was nerve-damages, how they can occur, what a damage can be and above all, how different we all are. As he said, no one looks the same on the outside so why would we look the same on the inside? Esinem is very keen on getting in contact with anyone who has ever experienced nerve-damages, as a bottom or top, by the way.  Since there is not much information or even research being made on bondage-related nerve-injuries he want to rectify that. If you have something that you would consider sharing on the matter, I think he would not mind to get in contact with you.
Another thing in the rope and safety; I find it very handy to be aware as a bottom also, to know your body, and know how you might react to different things. Security is for everyone basically.

Me and Bunny did a chest tie class as well, together with Kinoko. This was a repetition of one of the ties from the masterclass, which was very handy to get another try with. Kinoko did several talks during the weekend, one of which was a demo about some of the differences from how shibari looked like 50-60 years ago. There was many details that were different, such as cinches on chest-harnesses, or wraps of rope around a limb, and although it might sounds like small differences, he emphasized the reason why shibari had changed since. To sum it up in one word; safety. The developed style is now much more safe, and it is only those who are very, very experienced who should try to emulate or play with that style. Another class with Kinoko, was one in which he went through how to actually make rope something more than wrapping a person up. He demonstrated different techniques, using everything he could from the rope, like sound and smell (tracing the rope close to the ear or face), to himself (different punctuation, varying speed,) and there was always, always much emphasis on balance and not only aesthetically but also the physical body.  One of the first things Kinoko did was emphasizing this, showing it how with his hands making sure that the rope-bunny is grounded and as a way of starting the scene it was also interesting to see how he made that into an element in which the scene started, and through different types of touch, for example making sure that a chest tie is leveled, he placed his hands on the rope-bunny, using them both practically and as a way of maintaining and harnessing the contact. This can be seen in the video’s that Esinem so kindly has posted from the weekend.

Two workshops were running in the same time, one on the mezzanine and one on the ground floor, with the mezzanine one often on a more introductory level.

Many of the classes were hands on, some of them talks, and some of them demo’s, due to practicalities. It is literally impossible to cover all of the topics that was dealt with during the Saturday and Sunday, and my memory is not the most well-functioning, but some other topics; self-suspensions, lower body ties (including a suspension harness by Kinoko that made the translator having to say ‘cunt’ on stage). Seeing Arisa (Kinoko’s partner) squirm from the tight crotch-rope and to the be suspended just centimeters of the ground was something else. Other topics were; connection with your rope-partner, partial suspensions, introductions to Shibari,introductions to suspensions, bondage photography, yoga with rope, suspension and transitions, and that is only a part of the selection.
Due to the large selection and a tight schedule delays occurred early, and when there was a small mishap with a introductory workshop being cancelled, Dasniya stepped in and held beginners classes by the side of the stage, creating a third possibility to learn more. What was great about all of this was that the organizers did not have any problems with letting each and every class take the time it was supposed to, and everyone who was a part of this really thought on their feet, adapting to what was happening. Even then during the breaks people continued tying, talking about rope etc. All this made the learning days into something wonderful.

So, that was the part which dealt with the classes, what more happened? The Saturday evening had movies on the schedule, one of which was the London premiere of Kinbaku, the art of Bondage (2009), which you can see here, but also order from Esinem if you want a copy of your own.

The movie itself was wonderful to see on a larger screen, and once again I’m amazed how Finns manage to turn everything so dark but still keep the passion. Is it the vodka or the sauna’s that create it? Maybe the reindeer meat, I don’t know.

After many movies and a lot of tying everywhere, many were venturing out to Subversion which had a Japanese theme for the evening. I was not one of them, I was still feeling rough in a bad way and wanted to last the whole weekend.
As a slight side note, but still important, was my sudden pang of ehhh…bravery when I started talking with Kinoko during the evening. I said how much I appreciated what he taught so far and was looking forward to the coming show the day after. And all of a sudden I hear myself, through the interpreter, asking Kinoko Hajime if he, at some point, maybe, could possibly want to tie me. I think I out of nervousness added a couple of words that I for now don’t remember, but suddenly I had said it and thought that the worst thing that could happen was me getting a no. I didn’t. Stunned, I saw him smile and nod, and saying something in Japanese that was translated into a ‘yes, maybe tomorrow?’.

Being tied by Kinoko Hajime

I guess that was when I started to blush and stutter a bit. But I decided later to skip the party and got some sleep. Or well I was mostly nervous, twisting and turning in my bed, trying to not think ‘what ifs’; ‘what if my body goes into sick mode and I will miss this’; ’what if my muscles decide to fail me in ways they have not failed before?’; ‘what if I don’t know my abilities and just asked for something stupid?’; ‘what if I can’t communicate with him when it’s time and I need to tell him something’. And so on.
On the Sunday, the classes started a bit later to give everyone who was out partying a chance to get a few hours of sleep. When me and my friends arrived, the classes had already started and we sat down in the sofas to listen in a bit on the class that went on at the mezzanine.

Kinoko sat also in one of these couches, we said good morning and then all of a sudden asking me if it was possible for me to be tied up  in the next break. I nodded and smiled (and probably blushed) and my nerves went off again.

He started with me sitting on the floor, tying my arms in front of my, like I was praying.From the beginning, he was paying attention to every little detail, correcting the ropes if they were not millimeter perfect. I found myself looking at the red ropes he was using, thinking that I had nothing to worry about. Being tied by Kinoko is something I will never, ever forget. First of all, all the worries I had about language, not being able to verbally communicate disappeared when he started to speak to me with rope and I had only to feel to give an answer. Second of all; I felt strong, despite being tied tighter and tighter my muscles responded and dealt with the different pressures. The way he tied me, made me feel strong, and I was allowed to feel his skills  trough the rope. When he attached the first rope to the suspension ring (kindly provided by Wykd Dave in the last minute) everyone and everything around me disappeared, except for what he was doing and it became harder and harder for people to invade the bubble that was the rope, him and me. The cloth used as a blindfold soaked up a few tears I shed. Strangely, I really recall that feeling, of tears drying off, disappearing, rather than slowly dripping. I was suspended in a sitting position, and the minutes flying like seconds. It was like every cell of my body could feel the red rope and I truly hope that he felt that I felt just that.
The untying was as dynamic as the tying, as Kinoko utilized the rope, its sensations, sounds and movement. When the blindfold came off I suddenly saw everyone, became aware of people watching and I just wanted them to look away, while in the same time feeling proud and somewhere deep inside, the exhibitionist started to giggle. We moved aside a bit to do the last untying, but it was not until the final rope was gone that the bubble was almost gone. My legs were shaking, we thanked each other and my legs were still shaking. They continued to do so for a large part of the day which meant that I missed a lot of the classes, at least as my brain refused to function properly.

That day went by quite quickly, and then it was time for the main-party. Which will be in a separate post.


A second loveletter; or ‘Of course I’m bloody nervous!’

Here is the first loveletter
Tomorrow, or today, I’m doing a class with Kinoko Hajime, a shibari/kinbaku star, who is visiting London for the London Festival of the art of Japanese Bondage.

Amongst workshops, shows and art, this movie is going to be shown, a movie well worth watching, at least for me who does not have much insight in to the japanese ropeculture.

And yes, I am really nervous, on many levels. First of all, I don’t think I do shibari nor kinbaku. I rope people up and while I sometimes get roped in a style that can be described as shibari or kinbaku, I am not even close to that, even if I might like myself to be just that. I can’t say that I have a style, only intentions and a love for everything that happens when rope is close. And it kind of feels alright, because in the same time I want to learn. So tomorrow is going to be about learning, soaking up as much as I can, and NOT hammering myself for being in-experienced.
If I can get rid of this cold, and my own silly thoughts about my inferiority, this amazing weekend ahead, should be everything I want it to be.

As a good student, I’ve been trying to see who Hajime is and what’s his thoughts about what he does is. I found this at the SM-detective and some movies here. And there is something about his style that is just plainly *kapaow*. But it is not only about style, it is about content, context and heart. Now, I don’t use chopsticks, but I so know what he means when he says this:

“Objects that are touched daily develop a soul (tamashi). I touch my rope as much as I touch my chopsticks–every day. It is as if my senses and nerves run through the rope and I can feel as if the rope is an extension of my own senses. As I tie the model I can feel her heartbeat. I can feel what she is thinking. I can feel her sweat via the rope. If my model is struggling with something, or had suffered something bad I can feel that. Many times she ends up feeling very well afterwards, but I have to throw up.”
Kinoko Hajime

It is there that I want to be.to arrive at that point and continually travelling. And it is is more, it is like an alphabet. An extension of my hands and my body A tactile, almost wordless alphabet I almost can’t do without, or want to do without. It is a conversation, a room, a space, a time, a language and more or one will.

It drives me to do more, to feel, to know the ropes, to trace ropemaps over my body or someone else’s body.
It is the jute in a neat coil before, and in a messy pile afterwards. It is the sweat, the loud silence and the thing that silence my thoughts and overloaded mind. It is the fuzz that can be seen on black fabric.
It is about sleeping with the head on the pillow and the jute next to me, feel the smell and wake up with the feeling of them next to me.

Shortly, it is everything I want  to be and it is so much that I long for.

Here’s for an amazing weekend ahead!


Great things ahead

New week, new horizons, a good feeling. I spent the weekend with friends, drinking to much alcohol, sleeping not very much, queuing 5 o’clock in the morning,   getting to know new, beautiful people, being flogged and then tied up in a rope-suspension. Will write a bit more about that later.

Now, first of all, if you are based in London or reasonable vincinity, or even far away and would not mind travelling for something special, you might want to check this out:

The event is the so called ‘illegitimate lovechild’, stemming from the San Francisco version with the same name, and I have a feeling it will be frigging awesome.
As fetish-clubs in London are awesome, a new club certainly must have something else and I think it is here that Kinky Salon will succeed. Not strictly a fetish club, but rather a playful, hedonist, sexy, queer space that encourages outrageous behaviour and creativity that is not directly associated with the usual dresscode of fetish-clubs, this might be exactly what you need.
The next party is on March 13, 2010, from 9 pm-4 pm and this is what they say about what is awaiting you who decide to go:

“Prepare yourself to have your inner child corrupted at the Toybox for Misfit Toys!

In honour of our first Kinky Salon endeavour, and the playful environment we hope to create, we’d like to corrupt your inner child at the Toybox for Misfit Toys!

“Come, naughty children, go fetch your warm gingerbread
and into the Dark Woods of Bed Time Stories, shall we tread…
Past pubescent candy bushes and gooey gumdrop vales,
Down moist, heaving slopes and past slippery, wet dales!
Where Beautiful Princesses dream in deep slumber
of being lavished upon by not one, but three Princes, in number!

Where Little Miss Muffet, that cheeky young tart
stuck a thumb up Jack Horner and gave him a start!
(and BTW- what the f*ck is a Tuffet?)

And yes, it’s quite true, (but long ago from the books since cut)
that the Mad Hatter had a thing for Alice’s perky, round butt-
He spanked her so firmly with his small, gloved hand,
it did wake the Jabberwocky from Slythy Tove Land!
And Snow White, that prude who just LOVED to sing
got herself tied up and lashed good, with a dragonfly wing
(by  Evil Witch & Puss-In-Boots …a Faux Queen and Faux King)

How about poor Rapunzel, pestered by that weird, pervert Gnome- all hairy?
Or, all the positions possible with 3 Bears and a girl ?
(Ponder that, yeah, it’s just scary…)

And of course all our favorite, the one with the Wolf
who had his head lopped off,  a-Trisket a-trasket
by Miss Thang with a huge knife she kept hid in her basket!
‘..all the better to chop your frickin head off, Mr. BEEEYOTCH!’”

I’m so going.
Another event you don’t want to miss is the London Festival of the Art of Japanese Bondage (don’t try to say that fast and many times!). This is an event during easter (2-5 april, 2010) and with loads of workshops and shows, by those who are amongst the rope-savviest people in the world.
Will bump these events more in future as well.


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