Tag Archives: Osada Steve

Tokyo Day 3

Disclaimer: Due to the fast pace of this journey, and jetlag, massive sensory overload and general crazy rope-time, these accounts are not always as detailed as I would like them to be. Furthermore, if there is anything factually incorrect, please tell me and I will do my best to amend this. I also sadly did not have time to see all the performances nor write down as much as I’ve would have like to. Also, please, if you know the name of the various model’s that the rope-artists worked with, please post. They deserve to be named and get as much credit as the riggers themselves, as they truly shined throughout the event.

After not much sleep during the Saturday evening, we managed to get out of bed and out on the streets of Tokyo. I was a bit in a mode of soaking up as much as I could of Tokyo, since I could not stay for that long. Every hour counted.
By accident, we found a couple of sex shops, one which was completely  geared towards BDSM gear. Found some bits and pieces which I will treasure and I promise you, use:)

After then again returning back to the venue of the festival, the first artist we got to see was Yoi. And what a start it was. Entering the room, the light dimmed and just a very faint spotlight and candle lit the whole performance,giving it an air of us sitting in and watching this show taking place in moonlight. Both the model and the rigger used masks, the model wore a fox one and the colour scheme was deliberately white, red and some black.
Slow undressing followed, revealing a model with the face painted in the same fox-pattern as that on the mask, and together with the atmospheric soundscape that shifted between traditional Japanese music such as the shamisen, then Japanese children singing, and then to just the sound of rain, a different world opened up, a world that Yoi and her fox invited us to see. A fox which was about to be caught in carefully placed, beautifully crafted rope. The focus here was not speed or flashy, instant rope, but instead slow, deliberate tying, in which the fox followed, albeit with that slight hesitation and curiosity and in the same time, with delicious submission. There was so many things in this performance that has made me continue to think about it constantly since returning.
Tie ties themselves flowed, starting off with a TK. She was then suspended face down, very low and very close to the floor, which felt really perfect for this kind of fox. The feral creature which was the model moved incredibly gracefully, responding and communicating through her whole body. It was one of those performances that you did not want it to end.

After the  performance of Yoi’s there was a  talkshow with question time, and for the sake of easier reading you can find that post here.

After the Q&A it was time for Kinoko‘s second show, the neo-kinbaku. We made our way downstairs to find a spot, and it was filling up quickly. When the music started there was a creature entering the stage, dressed in a shiny zentai-suit. The creature moved slowly over the floor, with supple, feline movements, smooth but cautious. The music was fastpaced, light dimmed.
Kinoko entered the stage, grabbed the creature, pushing her fast over his knee, backwards, holding his hands around her neck. This was the start of a very visual performance, with a pumping electronic music.
He starts to tie her, with a fluorescent green rope. The tying itself is smooth, slick and fast. Because of the colour of the rope and the way he moves it around the model, it almost looks like he is using strands of flowing oil instead of rope to tie the zentai-creature. Every touch is precise, every movement controlled but extending through to the audience, moving with the music, but only in a very subtle way.

He ties her into a 3 rope TK and a hip harness, first moving her into a upright suspension. When he starts spinning her and leaving the stage, a laser and lightshow comes on, creating incredible visuals. Throughout the show, this is what happens when he has done a transition. Kinoko moves on to tie a gyaku-ebi, to a fully inverted sakasa, with only the ankles supporting the model. He then shifts the support into the hipharness, bringing down the legs, futomomo style. Between every one of these transitions, another lightshow comes on, and it creates a very futuristic feel. The last transitions is when he flips the model over, so she hangs from the hipharness, like a D lying on its back. With the rope, he then ties it around the legs and face of the model. This last shape, he pulls her higher than the others, staging a powerful crescendo. As she is in this position he starts to throw heaps of fluorescent rope on her, furthering the entanglement with the rope, that which connects them and their audience, then and there.

Shigonawa Bingo is a performer who also a part of the Ichinawa-Kai. Him and his very muscular self started the performance by halfdressed,  lying down to rest, only dressed in the the traditional loin-cloth fundoshi, After a couple of moments, a woman walks out on stage, sees him resting, strokes his cheek, drapes her juban over him and stroke his face yet again.  Bingo moves away, turns over and tries to go back to sleep.  As this is unsuccessful, he sits up,  looking at her and then put on the juban. These few minutes before the tying started really set another special tone for a performance. The props used, how they related to each other, etc., all made it feel like a scene between a husband and wife, or at least between two loved ones who knew each other very well.

There was a special caring touch in the way that he rested her hands upon his knee when tying her wrists, the way in which he used his whole body to move her, with or with out the rope. The ties he used varied slightly form the  regular TK that could be seen during the weekend. As I returned from Tokyo, I tried to tie it from memory and found it was both easy, steady and very good support, and according to the bunny, very comfortable.  The chest harness made it possible for  the hands and the arms of the model can be tied separately. There was a lot of small details that caught your eye in this performance; from how the tenugui, which is usually used as a blindfold, gag or tool to inflict pain (when it is wet, it hurts!), but here it is first introduced as a washcloth covered in water, which he squeezes over her body. A small move, but with a big response, it made her whole body tremble and the skin react immediately.  In one of the final moments, a hand came out from the side of the screen, pushed the button on a bottle, and provided the couple with snow, trickling down over them… Different and touching indeed, but the hand coming out from no where made both me and my friend giggle, as random as it was.

The next performance I managed to catch (oh, I assure you that I succeeded in missing a lot of shows, running between the different floors all the time) was that of Esinem‘s. This was a man who said that he felt like he was going to bring coal to Newcastle by going to Japan to do a show.
This show first of all, felt ‘whole’. There was a fluidity and ease to it, in terms of how it moved on stage, in the interaction between him and the model Yuki as well as how it really drew the audience in.  With music from Requiem for a dream, V for Vendetta and The Matrix, there was again a quite specific soundscape. Rather than drawing on the exact beat of ever track, he moved within the pace and mood it set.

The show started with him leading Yuki in, who had a rope around her neck, much like a collar and a lead. All of this was removed with a slight tug on the rope, revealing the kind of ‘dragon rope’ or ‘disappearing’ rope. It was here that it became clear how important every movement was in this performance, when not even this little starting point was neglected. The tying it self, the show, started with a rope being untied. I don’t know about you, but for me it shows how the hole experience is of importance, that every rope matters, and untying is as powerful as the tying itself.  As they sat down on the floor, a long newaza-session followed, and it did not take a long time before they both were lost in a world they had created. Afterwards, Esinem himself said that he did not even hear all the music, as he was so lost in what he was doing. This performance was special, the newaza took the time it needed to take, where the pain and pleasure truly went hand in hand.   You could really see how they moved together, with Esinem as always, being very close to Yuki, both physically and mentally, her self surrendering the whole of her being into the ropes and the moment.
The crescendo came in a gyaku-ebi suspension, attaching lilies to theropes, flowers which he then whipped off with a snakewhip, raining over the stage and those in the audience sitting on the first row. Once again, a performance ended leaving me with a heavy beating heart.

Midori is someone whom I’ve heard so much about, but never have been able to see. I admire her writing, love the visual and emotional take she has on her way of relating to kink and so it felt like a great time during Toubaku to have the Midori-experience.
The stage was dark as we waited for the show to start. It was possible to see some kind of preparations being made, including someone hanging from the ceiling…

Mozart’s Piano Concerto’s No. 21 and  No.27 accompanied this performance, here is one of the two that you can listen to while reading:
Two men came out on the stage, dressed in only fundoshi’s and robes. They sat down for a sake picnic. As they are cheering, clinking their sake-cups and talking, they became more and more touchy. And then more and more, they got closer and closer, started fondling, started kissing each other. Now, these was two very hot men, fondling and kissing, on stage, right in front of the audience. Do you know, first of all, how uncommon this is on the fetish scene? Just think of it. How common is it not with a public display of female,sexualized bodies, preferably two or more? While the gay fetish-scene keep sticking to themselves, there is an assumption of how the female body should be presented. No men on club-flyers, hardly any men on stage, unless they are fully dressed and can act as a MC, presenter or something else. Anyhow, back to she show.
They kept on kissing, drinking, fondling, smiling, while in the other corner of the stage, a creature, dressed in a black zentai-suit was hanging up side down from a suspension-point, completely still.
The couple gets more and more drunk, continuously kissing and smiling, but then one of them, the more muscular one, needs to go off into the bushes for what I assume a piss. He leaved his partner, stumbling around and then all of a sudden, the creature grabs him, he was caught in its arms and then, also the creatures rope. By now, we have basically understood the creature is Midori herself. And Midori is actually starting to tie this man, WHILE hanging from the suspension point, upside down. The drunk man tried to resist, but his confusion enabled her to take control.
So, while hanging upside down, she tied him into a chest-harness, secured to the hard point, then a legtie, pulling one of this legs up. One leg in the air, another on the ground, a slight nod to the partial suspension you can see on the cover of her book.
Meanwhile, every now and then, as tying, still hanging from a rope, she traced tickling fingers over the muscular body of this man, who was stringed up with the face and his body fully exposed towards the audience. This was not just about her ability to tie upside down, this was about exposing flesh that so rarely gets exposed, so rarely gets admired and objectified through the hands of others.
Sure, it is easy to find the undressed man on a billboard, but they are in control, they are always in control and you can see it in the eyes of Beckham on the billboard. The giant sock in his boxers and the giant paycheck, together with the privilege of his position.
But this muscular man, tied up, while working as a model, and I assume getting payed for his time, he had surrendered that kind of agency, albeit temporarily, for the sake of him being tied up and exposed for our viewing pleasure. She manipulated and played with him, and he was enjoying it, an enjoyment that was shared by us who got to see it. The way in which he was tied emphasized  his broad shoulders, strong legs and expressive eyes. Yes, his eyes was tantalizing.
And her hands moved over his body, teasing, exploring, tickling.
This creature, while still being lighthearted had somewhat of an underlying threat, reminding me of a mythological creature, interrupting a sakè bacchanalia of some sorts. My reference frames comes obviously from the Western mythology, so say Loki, from the nordic mythology, who was fond of the mischief side of things.
The other man, slightly leaner and thinner in stature, started to wonder where his lover had gone. So, slightly stumbling through the forest, he trippes over the Midori-Loki creature. At this point, she had come down from the ropes and instead attacked him from behind, leaving him with a slightly dazed and confused expression. She moved freely over the floor as she was tying this guy, and he was tied up with the other man, tied to the leg that was still standing of this guy, making it look like he was leaning on him. She then brought out a bunch of roses, started to decorating the two of them with these, all over, including one which was made to protrude from the standing guy’s crotch. And this made me smile even more. It was done with so much love and humor and and warmth.
As a finale, she cut all the ropes that kept the standing guy standing, and as he fall to the ground, he literally fell next to his lover, making it look like he fell into an embrace. An embrace 0f rope and roses.
And this just. Hard to describe. Just this immensly positive feeling. This was not exploitation or an appropriation, this was not about ‘laughing at some ditzy men who are getting pissed and making out’.  This was about an honest and loving homoeroticism. As I later learned from Midori herself, the japanese work for rose- Barazoku- is an underground codeword for ‘gay’ or men fucking/loving men. And, apparently, there is another flower for the lesbians/dykes/women fucking/loving women- the lily or Yuri. Another inspiration cited by Midori, was the work of Yukio Mishima, a Japanese queer writer who’s work  I’m looking forward to explore when I can actually read fiction again without feeling bad about not doing work for uni.

After the ropes were cut, the whole house broke out in applauds, and it was impossible to wipe out the smile of my face. The next performance was by Osada Steve, and as a show it was completely different. Set to the soundtrack of Anthony and The Johnsons, he and his model created a very still space, although there was something with their interaction that made it impossible to look away, and still painful to watch.  I can’t recall much sadly, as I took no notes. I remember a sidesuspension, vulnerability and submission. Strong submission that echoed throughout the room, through the ropes, and towards him, as he tied her into a sidesuspension.

To fluctuate between these two extremes was very intense, and as the last performance of the weekend started, I found myself having a hard time to concentrate. Naka Akira came on stage, and I could hardly focus at all. But as I sometimes sat down, and then walked around a bit, with my eyes on the stage, it really became apparent how good of a finishing performance it was. I could really not process everything, but there was certainly very interesting elements of his performance. What caught me the most was the focus, a focus which was completely on the model who was being tied up. Her struggle. Her pain. Her exposed flesh and the stillness of suffering in rope. His tying was indeed very still, not in still as in unmoveable, but with a piercing focus. He reminded me of what a friend of mine told me when she spoke of martial arts.
She said that there is always a certain amount of a response to an action and she likened it to a stone being thrown into water. The stone cause a splash, dependent on how big the stone is and the amount of water, depth, etc. What happens after the splash are the rings on the water, smaller, growing bigger, and then finally ebbing out into stillness, leaving the surface of the water again looking untouched. This is probably the best way to try to relate to you the feeling of this show. A movement from within that can cause a tidal wave or flooding, or just a splash and rings on the water. Akira was working like this, very focused and specific, only doing exactly that which was needed, nothing superfluous, and just riding the waves of the reactions of the model. She was indeed on display, in which the positions, tough as they were, were held, him moving out from sight slightly, letting her dwell in the exposure of our gaze.

Shin later told me how Akira apparently had performed to music that he had used in his first performance ever, as well as keeping the tying very traditional. One small example of this was how he in his suspensions did not use carabiners.  I’m afraid the rest of these remarks slipped my mind…

As an end to the Sunday shows at Toubaku and to the Toubaku festival, it was indeed grand.

Although this is not the last post from the Tokyo adventures, it was the last post that covered the Toubaku festival. I would like to take the time to thank the whole crew who made it happen, including the initiator and creator Hajime Kinoko, as well as Mack and Reina whom I know worked so hard to promote and working on this event happen. I don’t know all the people who worked so hard backstage and in the door, and at the bar, etc. but you are all so awesome. Thank you, for the bottom of my heart, as you truly reminded me of the possibilities and endless horizons that rope pose as medium for anything you wish to express.

Domo arigato

 

 





Tokyo- Day I

Disclaimer: Due to the fast pace of this journey, and jetlag, massive sensory overload and general crazy rope-time, these accounts are not always as detailed as I would like them to be. Furthermore, if there is anything factually incorrect, please tell me and I will do my best to amend this.
This was a  journey that I decided to do just two weeks prior to departure, but I could never really imagine or think how and what actually would happen. The journey was mainly about attending Toubaku, a rope-festival organized by Hajime Kinoko, but it really turned into something more, something very special.  The fact that I have never been to Japan enhanced the excitement prior to departure. Before boarding the plane,flying from Heathrow with a short layover in Italy, my mind was mainly spinning with tiredness, but also trying to focus it on a special mode; the ‘I know nothing’ mode. Coming to Japan and remain in the safe bubble of that which you know, felt like a sorry place to be in. So instead; try to look at all the rope from the angle of ‘First time seeing rope ever’ was the approach I tried to take as the plane lifted.
Arriving, meeting up with travelbuddy and ropemodel extraordinaire J was not as tricky as finding our way to the apartment, clearly an adventure on its own, but was made easier by good directions given by our hosts and a very friendly face (albeit a tad bit tired) that met us at the airport on Friday morning.

After installing ourselves, we headed out to look at the town and get a snack to eat before meeting up with Osada Steve and two friends of mine who I first met at Copenhagen Shibari Dojo.
I must admit there was an element of nervousness in meeting Steve, as well as meeting the other master of rope, the master who would be teaching the evenings class. We headed towards a studio, in which Miura Takumi would give a class to Steve, the Danes called Max and Tina, and a friend of Steve’s, NdT.   At this point, I was even more happy about the lovely Danish couple being around, as they gently guided me through points of etiquette.  They had already been in Tokyo for a couple of weeks, and would stay there for six weeks, studying and living in the Studio Six, following the disciple/sensei tradition. Seeing them doing this was wonderful, working hard and diligently and with such a sincere will to understand and develop their art,  in the same time as they were not afraid of the occasional beer (they are Danes you know..Danes and Beer…).

Upon arrival, we removed the shoes and entered the studio. It was a spacious and calm room, one section for seating and socializing and another for rope-practice. As Takumi arrive, we were  all introduced, bowed  and then class starts by him speaking of different historical backgrounds of rope in the Japanese culture and religion,  before moving on to the tying.

The first minutes I really tried to rationalize, recognize and organize the input into patterns that would fit my own knowledge. It is so easy to do this, everyday we are encouraged to know, to be able to grasp what we see according to our frameworks, to the taxonomies of what we already understand. But as the time passed, it really came back to me, that sense of a need to not do all of this. To just take it in, see it right there and then and not trying to organise, not trying to place think so much of where it all ‘fits’. It is certainly not a simple task, can’t say that I did succeed all the time, but it was much more rewarding to be aware of my own position rather than assuming it and trying to adapt the world according to it. And above all, it highlighted how little I know or understand.

Now, I was asked to not describe the actual ties here on the blog, and after seeing them I certainly can understand why. By really going back to the historical hojojutsu patterns, the ties where effective as well as not for everyone to play with. At this point, NdT joined us, who is someone who have lived for many years in Tokyo.  As it where, yours truly was going to be the ropemodel of  NdT during this class. After a day of travelling, throwing oneself in to such a place as Tokyo, it was certainly a treat to be tied and by skillfull hands as well.
At one point, I was asked to “pretend like you are a little girl running around in the Japanese countryside” and what else to do but to obey? Usually, fighting back and running around like a mad hatter is not a problem for me (as anyone who has ever met me can vouch for) but with the many hours of travelling+ being nervous, I just turned giggly and silly and thusly, ended up on the floor in a matter of seconds. Which was, indeed, a very good place to be.
Another tie, which was immensly enjoyable  was one in which Takumi described as the one in which he uses the largest amount of rope. It felt like gradually being encased in a cocoon of jute, and was also very comfortable as a suspension. This suspension made everything quiet, the world was right there and then and nothing more, nothing less. Slow breathing, exact breathing, a tug of rope here, a limited movement there.

How do you feel about the amount of rope that you use? Some prefer as little as possible, others like using more. Myself, I think I’m in the camp of ‘what ever amount is enough is the right amount’. So one length or 6 or even 10, what works works. Although, being tied myself, I often fall into the ‘a lot of rope is good rope’, but, on the other hand, I have been proven to be wrong on that on more than one occation. The challenge to turn one rope into all that you need is very fun, and to be on the receiving end of such an experience is intense to say at least. In a later blogpost, this experience will be explored.

After the class, NdT asked me and the travelfriend if we wanted to go and experience a mistress-bar, and how could we say no to this offer? Or actually, poor travelbuddy wanted to sleep, but mad skills of persuasion and the very kind offer from NdT’s part, convinced her as well. But this, dear readers, is a story which will have to wait until later.

Thank you for reading these posts, any kind of feedback, thoughts or questions are always welcome. Questions I can’t answer will of course be redirected  to those more knowledgeable individuals and fellow kinbaku lovers.


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.


Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

 

Tomorrow, I am making use of the American so called Black Friday. I’m going to get two dresses from House of Bias and some other lovely thing, and since the dollar is so weak + the sale is on, it’s going to feel so good. And I’ve got something very blasphemous ordered yesterday.

Essays are getting written and I don’t really have the attention span to write on two blogs in the same time.
But I would like to make a quick note of a couple of awesome experiences that I’ve had lately:

A very rewarding beginners bondage workshop with London’s own Esinem. A full day of ropetalk and tying. What not to like is there, really?!
Esinem works from the codex of ‘tie people, not parcels’. That means that it is the interaction with the involved that matters, actions and reactions. Tying people, not on armlenghts distance but being close. Expressing, with rope, the connection. Not talking about Two Knotty Boys here, but the oh so wonderful ways of connecting with ropebunny.

So, while he was learning us single and double column ties, he also spoke and showed us ways to keep the connection, keep it flowing and basically, keeping it hot and exciting. There was tricks there that suddenly fell into place, but at some points I also fell flat. Because suddenly a two column tie seemed like the toughest thing in the whole world. I react in the same way when going to a dance class. I concentrate so much on following the steps that I can’t do it at all. Very frustrating.
But as the day went on and more and more jute fluff flew around in the room I relaxed. A very nice relaxed lunch was topped with some videos with the work of Osada Steve, but also some of the work that Esinem himself has done. Here is an example of what I see is a very strong performance, using bondage in a provocative,political, thoughtful, creative and downright amazing way.

Anyhow, after some well deserved lunch we continued, and in the end of the day there was even some time to try out a chest-harness. Before that I decided to do some self-bondage and it became something really nice that I know enjoy a lot as an activity. In regards to the chest-harness I must admit that I only came halfway, but that halfway through a chestharness gave me more thoughts and insights that any other has done so far.
I can recommend the course, and if you feel that a beginners course is a bit to simple for you ( I would love to do the same again so I could frame everything better and practice with more supervision!) there is alos a intermediate course and a advanced.  It’s well worth the money, Esinem teaches very well, give you tips, insights, inspiration, and you will have a lot of fun.

A couple of days later I attended a peer-rope workshop. Which was also amazing. A sunday afternoon and evening and the hours flew by all to fast. Watched some wonderful ropework being done, including a lot of suspensions.  Did again some self-bondage, got some help with that, then had a really beautiful spiderharness done, and in the end having very fun with an amazing woman. We hid a bit, found a calm space with dimmed lightning and sat down on the floor. And this is where I keep coming back to. Those 20, 30 minutes with her. Because afterwards, my legs were shaking, I was giggly and calm in the same time. And I had been the one doing the tying. Not since this summer I had felt anything like it (yes, I miss Korrosion) and it made me love the event even more. So, if you are in London, like rope, not busy on a sunday,  check if the peer-rope is happening and go.

Last, but certainly not least. A new shining star on the club sky in London. Crimson is so fucking good. With a focus on the playspace, they must be the most well-equiped playclub in th U.K with at least two suspensionframes, numerous crosses, spankingbenches, a spitroast, bondagebed, medical play area, etc, etc. There is always space to play, but still very easy to be social and feel relaxed. All in all, it feels like a very, very big houseparty that is so kinky that it would make your jaw drop. Next one will be in february and I will be there.

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V