I spent last Sunday in terrific company. Not only did I finally get to see Korrosion again but I also got to meet members of the Danish Group SMIL, or more specifically, the bondage-enthusiasts of this organization. Initially, there was a plan to attend a workshop with Arisue Go and Kogure, but due to unforeseen circumstances (ashcloud) their visit to Copenhagen was cancelled. SMIL swiftly decided to give two workshops instead. After a lot of ifs and buts, and general planning mayhem from my part (don’t ask me to organize my life when I’m mid-revision, I can’t even ask that of myself) I found a ticket that allowed me to have one more amazing afternoon with the Ladies Who.. This post will be about he experience I had together with Danish bondage-enthusiasts.
I had to wake up all to early to leave for The Worst Airport in London, landing in Copenhagen one hour before the workshop would start and meeting up with Korrosion.
Outside the venue, one of the organizers had kindly placed themselves outside so we would find our way. Inside, it was cosy, and lo and behold, people were smoking inside! I had forgot there is places like that still left in the world, and while I’m an ex-smoker now gone allergic, it gave some kind of nice homely touch to a very nice place that is the venue of SMIL. Clean, spacious and with many themed rooms I decided immediately that I would return at some other point to experience one of their parties.
As I came straight from the airport I was so stressed I could hardly do a double column tie, with hands shaking. It is one of my big things, I put a lot of pressure on my self, and often find myself judging me on my performance in relation to the situation at hand. It is one of those things that often put me in difficult positions, because no matter how well you do, there is always something to improve, to fix. And while that is important, especially when it comes to learning, it also can put some obstacles in the way for one self. I constantly find myself not doing as well as I could because of my stress, and this was indeed true in the beginning of the class.
With over 6 people helping out amongst the students, there was a lot of help at hand. It was a good thing, especially when being able to do something that was not entirely correct, and then be able to get a grip of it through one of these people. I found myself being instructed to do a chest-harness where the upper and lower wraps around the forearms were closer to eachother than I’ve previously done. My gut instinct was to be doubtful, we all heard of the nerves over and over, and my general take on it has been to stay away further than necessary, disrupting what might be seen as the Japanese pattern of a genuine takate kote. So the first TK I did, was apparently more of an American box-tie. It was not until I undid that, that I thought I might as well keep an open mind in the same time as staying safe and in the end I decided to get do the upper and lower wrap closer to each other. It did change quite a lot of the tie in general, not only the aesthetic but also the back of the tie, bringing it all together in a much more neater and sufficient manner. Again, that thing about keeping an open mind. Small tweaks of technique in placement of the ropes was also necessary in order for me to remember those small but important details that makes or breaks neat rope-work. It is funny how you can hear things over and over and over again, but still only get them at a certain point. This time, there were those details I could focus on a whole lot more, due to be more or less secure on the overall pattern of the takate kote. My muscle-memory does indeed need time and repetition is the mother of all learning when it comes to me personally. While others only need to see the pattern once, I am one of those who need the practice, practice and practice. Other factors that are also needed are ones which are physical, touch and senses.
But in this class, there was no formulas spitted out, but instead hands on with the expertise in the room offering their knowledge. I was told repeatedly by one of them that I needed to relax and take my time. That is very true and while it is a bit sad that it is so hard for me to slow down but above all, make my brain go quiet and just listen.
There were too many ties that were demonstrated for me to go through, but many of them were those that I’ve struggled with. To be honest, I have not done ‘shibari’ as such (and still don’t know if I do) and is pretty much selftaught up until October/November. I’ve pretty much ‘winged it’ frankly, keeping it safe but not adhering to a certain style. Imitations, and bad such of course, but my start on this came slowly last year, and picked up speed the last couple of months, especially after the festival. The patterns, the functions and the aesthetics are new to me, and this means that every learning opportunity I get, I stuff as much as possible in my brain and hope that practice and passion will be one of the elements helping it to maintain and flourish.
I did my second suspension, a sideways one, and again, the repetition of the basics of it all was so helpful. This part is going to be the hard one to write. It is never easy to write about your ‘failures’ but I don’t want to pretend this class was all like a smooth ride. I am learning, in the beginning of my journey and find suspension being fun but very daunting. A month ago I did not even consider doing one because of my inexperience. Due to being surrounded by those more knowledgeable than myself I’ve been able to take steps I did not think I would.
But anyhow: Korrosion had to come down quite soon due to some uncomfortable elements of the tie and when taken down she had to take a break. We talked through each and every part of the tie and we found some elements of it being hard on her upper body. It is never fun when rope has a negative effect on your partner, and I was grateful for being around professionals who helped me. From that section of the class I learned more, not so much about specific rope-technique, but above all, about the human body. It is a difficult thing, understanding anatomy, different ways of the effect of the ropes and how differently people can react. Different bodies react differently, and while I can say that over and over again, it is when you see them react that it becomes true..
As the evening continued and we explored more and more ties, I also felt that I was given tools to explore, tools which are all based upon the love of the experiences one can have with rope and people.
A heartfelt and huge ‘thank you’ to the Nawa group in Copenhagen for being so welcoming and knowledgeable. I will be back 😉 And hopefully not as tired or stressed.