Tag Archives: learning

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 City

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Sunday and Monday classes- Shibaricon 2011

So, after a couple of days at the convention, I was taking it a bit slower, only attending a couple of more classes. One of these were Wykd Dave‘s class on tension. It was a pleasure to attend this class, in which the core concept boiled down to ‘Do not loose the tension’. Or more over, do not let go of the rope. If there is something that you can see with all great riggers is that the rope continuously flow through their hands, almost seemless in its movement , one hand follows the other, constantly holding and controlling but also following the rope; a mix between control, tension and movement.
The element of tension is probably often forgotten when a pattern of a tie is learned, because the focus is so much on where the rope should go, instead of how it which should go there. That essentially means that if you let go of the rope, the tie itself quite often looses its integrity. So all those nice things that you perhaps build, you loose when the rope loose contact with your hand (unless you need to/have to/intend to). Dave also pointed out how different types of tension gives different kinds of sensations and impressions of the experience of the rope. So it is not just about the practicality of the tie, but if you let go of the rope, you essentially let go of the person you are tying.

One of the things Dave demonstrated which I found was very interesting was the baseline of his way of tying, a beat making it fluid and consistent, but never boring. It made so much sense to see how he had almost a beat in the pace he was tying. If you remember the Saturday cabaret, Daves tying made jaws drop towards the floor, and his system of flows, tensions and the connection he has to his wonderful partner, Clover is truly worth to study. Clover is also an extremely talented photographer who work together with Dave as a rigger.

The last class on Sunday was Lochai’s Speed Bondage. Again a class which was really well presented, clear and focussed. I especially liked it because of  my poor spatial skills, something which I need to work on. Lochai pointed how the speed is not about how you tie, but the preparations that one makes, both in terms of one self, the rope, the environment around you and how to keep aware of these and what it means to keep these factors in mind.

Play followed on the Sunday evening, such as the experience of an inverted one ankle suspension, but also much more. I think Monday was one of those almost unreal days, as it by then had been so many days of rope. It was almost like there was no outside world, like this was a world we could live in, and continue to live in. Sadly, it was also the last day of the con, and it felt like my body had gone through a marathon. Aches and tensions, but those that you get from really good play, rather than the disconcerting kind. Needless to say, I wanted to be a responsible adult (hrm) and take a class which could probably benefit my knowledge as a member of the Peer Rope London crew. That was why I attended Graydancers, RACK roleplay class in the morning. This was really, really good, both on a personal and ‘professional’ level. I don’t know if this is the case in the U.S because you seem to have so many classes and talks and a general discourse which constantly seems to be centrered around communication skills, but in the U.K and Sweden we talk a lot about the importance of communication and action, but not really how. And dear god, we need it.

Graydancer had set up a couple of different scenarios that was to be played out. The scenarious would challenge those involved with the scene to think about safety, communication, outside factors, all of those things that can jeopardize the safety of a scene. Suddenly, I’m about to be a rigger that has to stay in control of an over-zealous dungeon monitor, a grumpy and slightly unruly sub and a scene that is, well, hardly allowed to start. The unruly sub was the wonderful Naiia, and the DM was a man who kept asking me questions about everything from the rope to the hardpoint. Lets just say it is easier to shut a sub up, than steering off a DM who is (in the roleplay) not knowledgeable about rope. The brain was really going full out to deal with it all. At one point, when the DM came up and I responded to him, I placed myself automatically between him and Naiia, as if I was the physical barrier between them. This was pointed out afterwards by someone, and I kind of had not realised I was doing that, but it felt good such a move is so ingrained into my spine.  It could be because of the nature of some of the clubs that I go to, such as TG, in which one really has to be hyperaware of wandering hands, and actively guard your play-partner. In the end, I have the responsibility to  make who ever I play with feel safe and if that means stearing off wandering hands, or automaticallyput myself between the sub and an intruder (who ever they are) I will.

As Gray broke the role-play, we got feedback and constructive criticism. And this is something which is really unusual on the scene, to get a review of the good and the bad things. Some of them, like my potentially poor spatial awareness, I had already noted, but other stuff was fairly new to me. One of the interesting things that was said, was how it was pointed out that  I did not react stronger when the ‘DM’ picked up the rope. And it really struck me how slack I’ve gone with that, and how silly it is to not mark that it is not ok for any non-consensual touch what so ever. I’ve often found myself getting slightly annoyed with having my stuff rumaged through (like the odd “what kind of rope do you use?” and the person pick up a coil without asking) but not knowing why. And it became clear that these ropes and the stuff I use are under my control, they are that which is so important to what I do, but also what they are. I need to know that the ropes are in the same condition as when I left them, need to know where everything is, and for god’s sake, it is my bloody stuff!

The other role-plays were one about negotiation for a scene and then seeing how much a playspace would get out of control before a rope-bottom would call it a day.
The negotiation was interesting, as it did not focus that much on ‘I want to do A, B and C’ but rather on ‘Who are you and how are you feeling?’. The general interest in a suspension was established, and who would be doing what, but then it became more about the relationships DNGG was in, such as other partners attending the same event. Who else but her would one have to consider? What kind of closeness and intimacy is ok? Any sexual contact? Any medical history? Et cetera et cetera. All of this was so bloody good to hear, and to pick the bones carefully, it also made the feedback afterwards really good, as it showed that it is quite good to be specific and clear in both questions and answers while ‘negotiating’ (hate that word sometimes!). So if the question is about sexual contact, make sure what you both understand as being ‘sexual contact’, what does that entail? Also, specific questions in regards to health and safety are good. Instead of a general; “Do you have any medical problems?” ask specifically about arms, legs, diabetes, history of fainting/nausea, back problems, or even about the last time they were in the hospital. Old injuries, or not even that old are easily forgotten, and it is when prompted to think about that part of your body that it might trigger a memory. And note, these are questions to ask both the top and the bottom!

The last roleplay was one in which a rope-bottom that was to be suspended suddenly had everything from puppies, people speaking loudly and commenting upon the scene to a group of littles sitting and loudly singing. Suffice to say, it was hard to not laugh and while really admiring the lovely rope-bottom who just took it in with such serenity. Following the scen came a discussion that was about trust, limits and safety, mainly in relation to when a bottom/submissive feel they are not safe or in a situation which could go out of control. Here my mental notes actually are completely blurred, so if anyone remember what we spoke about more specifically, please feel free to comment and I can update this section.

As a final part of this class we sat down, divided into one group for tops/dominants, one for submissives/bottoms and one for the switches. We were asked to note down a scenario which could stand for a problem that we, as switch, dom or sub could encounter, and that could be role-played. These scenarios were then the last discussions in a class which I would have loved to have more time to engage with, as it was a really good work-shop. Apparently it was also the first time Gray had given the class, and I’m seriously considering bringing it to the U.K as it raised so many good questions, answers and scenarios to work with.

The last class of Shibaricon 2011 was one with Midori. But this turned rather special and I think it has to be written in a separate post. Stay tuned!

Osada Steve in Copenhagen-a very personal journey

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

Here is Sauvage’s report:

Day 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shattered, going to sleep now.

Day 2

Fingers bleeding.

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

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

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

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

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

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

…Except when chasing Osada Steve around the dojo.

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

Day 3,4,5

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

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

The Classes

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

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

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

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

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

The Copenhagen Shibari Dojo

It’s the people that make a place.

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

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

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

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

The Club Night

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

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

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

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

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

Rope in Copenhagen

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.

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!