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Shibari Rope Bondage 101

If you are interested in Shibari or Japanese rope bondage, you know it’s an art form: it takes a lot of time to learn, as well as dedication. As it is a separate entity from bondage, a quite specialized one in fact, there are many instructors that teach this beautiful and interesting form of bondage. There are numerous workshops where one can learn the ancient techniques and the necessary measures to take in order to perform it safely. Shall we have a look to the general levels you will find if you desire to pursue this interest? (and you totally should!):

Beginner

  • Introduction to Shibari

This is the first step towards Shibari. Usually these classes do not require any previous rope experience, so that is good news for newbies out there wink*. At this level, you will probably explore the reasons why you want to be tied up or want to tie people up, how to choose the right ropes and lengths and the safety factors involved. In addition to this, an obligatory course in the history is Shibari will probably take place. You will start to learn the ropes and see how artistic and erotic bondage can be.

  • The relationship between intimacy and bondage

Usually in these courses you will learn how to build a mental and emotional connection through rope play. This is based on the notion Kokoro, which means to just go with the flow, letting the rope flow through your heart. The idea is for you to learn that should not get fixated on the complicated patterns and forms, Shibari should be practiced with intuition, enjoying without pressure everything that comes in your way. The good thing at this stage, no previous rope is needed.

  • The next step

When you are ready to move on, you will learn how to bind limbs (specially arms and legs). And you will learn how to do this in a symmetrical and asymmetrical way. Since you will be doing ties, previous or basic rope experience will be necessary. The good news, if you have some experience, you can begin here.

  • Weaves and cinches

Again, previous rope knowledge will be required in this. At this stage you will learn how to let the rope move freely; besides, the right techniques and the right tension you will need to apply as you tie the limbs. Basically, how to cinch the rope in an artistic way.  

Intermediate

The box tie-chest harness is one if the basic ties used in Shibari. That is why is so important to learn how to do them properly. Given that it goes around the chest it can be somewhat dangerous, so in classes that teach it you will learn how to reduce the risk of injury for the best results. These techniques are a bit more advanced, so you will definitely need some experience with rope before signing up for a workshop.

Some places even offer a second chest harness class, in which you will master those box ties. They usually teach how to add a third rope and demonstrate several variations that will help you create more complicated floor ties. You will also learn the finishing techniques in order for your box tie to be secure enough to lay the ground to suspension bondage.

  • Rope flow

The usual next step after you have mastered all of the above will be to focus on the control and flow of the ropes. Body memory will be used in order to learn this; the idea is you get the best possible results in the quality and speed of your ties. Given the more advanced level of these techniques, you will need how to tie those chest harness/box ties I mentioned earlier.

Advanced

  • Japanese Rope Suspension (Tsuri)

Japanese rope suspension looks incredibly beautiful. In the classes that focus on it, they teach the basics of static suspension (you will learn about anatomy and safety), floor based suspension and how to successfully perform static full suspension under a number of challenging circumstances. Clearly, in order to learn this, you will need to have advanced rope experience; including how to tie a chest harness and how to sustain proper tension in the ropes. In short, you will learn how to successfully hang someone from the ceiling, he he wink*.

  • Advanced tips and transitions

If you have already mastered the Japanese suspension bondage, you might be interested in learning new things. There are several classes that focus on these more advanced students; they teach how to tie a hip harness for suspension, how to do a futomomo (bent leg tie) and how to properly tie the ropes to get the best out of Japanese bondage. This means you will refine your method to make those transitions smoother and your flow and gracefulness will improve.

  • Semenewa (Predicament bondage)

There are some workshops that focus on the concept of Senewa. It entails going beyond restraining your partner; the rope will be used to create several different sensations. These sensations go from ecstasy to agony and anything in between.   Hair bondage, non-verbal communication through rope and leg/foot ties are learned. Now, this concept does not focus specifically in suspension or floor work, it’s all about the concept I mentioned above; but this idea is framed on the Japanese bondage aesthetic and symmetry, so visually it looks stunning (besides feeling stunning as well, *wink)