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4 January 2015
Znawcą tematu nie jestem. Ale zauważyłam pewne nieraz błędne rozumienie sztuki Shibari oraz pominięcie tego tematu w polskim internecie (choć może się mylę i są to tylko moje odczucia). W każdym razie chciałam przytoczyć kilka fragmentów wyjaśniających czym jest Shibari/Kinbaku, jaka jest historia tej sztuki oraz jej miejsce w kulturze Japonii.
Teksty w oryginale z lenistwa i coby nie zgubić sensu w tłumaczeniu.

In Japanese, "Shibari" simply means "to tie". The contemporary meaning of Shibari describes an ancient Japanese artistic form of rope bondage.

The origin of Shibari comes from Hojo-jutsu, the martial art of restraining captives. In Japan from 1400 to 1700, while the local police and Samurai used Hojo-jutsu as a form of imprisonment and torture, the honor of these ancient Samurai warriors required them to treat their prisoners well. So, they used different techniques to tie their prisoners, showing the honor and status of their captured prisoner.

In the late 1800′s and early 1900′s a new form of erotic Hojo-justu evolved, called Kinbaku, the art of erotic bondage. Today, particularly in the west, the art of erotic bondage is typically called Shibari, which is an art of erotic spirituality, not a martial art.

Shibari style rigging creates geometric patterns and shapes with rope that contrast beautifully with the human body’s natural curves. The ropes and their texture provide contrast to smooth skin and curves. In Shibari, the model is the canvas, the rope is the paint and brush, and the rigger is the rope artist.

The aesthetic arrangement of ropes and knots on the model’s body in Shibari rigging emphasizes characteristics like sensuality, vulnerability, and also strength. The positioning of knots in appropriate places stimulates pressure points on the body, very similarly to acupuncture techniques and Shiatsu, a form of Japanese massage. Some believe a Shibari experience also stimulates Ki energy flow and transfer.

In addition to creating beautiful patterns, with rope, body and limb placements, Shibari rigging induces physiological conditions known as "sub space" and "top space", which are similar to the "runners high" experienced by athletes. A Shibari experience results in an increased level of endorphins and other hormones, creating a trance-like experience for the bottom/model and an adrenaline rush for the Top/rigger. When a Shibari scene is performed with appropriate ambience, these effects are actually visible in the face of the model. The term "rope drunk" is sometimes affectionately used to describe the euphoric condition of the model after a Shibari experience.

For most practitioners of Shibari, the use of rope bondage does not include an unwilling victim like the "Damsels in Distress" images popular in Detective type magazines. Instead, there is a collaboration between the Shibari artist (the rigger/Top) and the Shibari canvas (the model/bottom) to create a combination of effects including visual beauty, power exchange, helplessness, relaxation, and sub space and top space physiological experiences.

Contemporary practitioners of Shibari enjoy creating beautiful still images, live and recorded performance art. Shibari can also be used as a component in BDSM play and an enhancement in sexual activities.



Shibari, more correctly known as Kinbaku is an ancient Japanese artistic form of rope bondage that has many styles and uses. It is related in style to other traditional Japanese arts such as Ikebana, Sumi-e (black ink painting) and Chanoyu (the tea ceremony). Among the many uses of Shibari are dynamic living sculpture, shared meditative practice, deep relaxation for flexibility of mind and body, expression of power exchange, and intimate erotic restraint.

In Shibari (the action of tying someone up) the Nawashi (rope artist) creates almost geometric patterns and shapes that contrast wonderfully with the female body's natural curves and recesses. Visually, the tight ropes and their texture provide a counterpoint to smooth skin and curves. The hard edges of the rope reinforce the softness of the body's graceful shape: the model is like a canvas, and the rope is paint and brush.

From antiquity to today, religious ceremonies in Japan involve ropes and ties to symbolize connections among people and the divine, as well as to delineate sacred spaces and times.
Everyday’s life was somehow tied together, just think of the Kimono, which has neither buttons nor hooks, but is closed by ritually tying long strips of fabric around the body. Military armor was made of lacquered wooden panels, elegantly tied together. Gifts were intricately wrapped and elaborately tied, and these custom holds true even today. Goods are prettily and functionally wrapped in the Furoshiki (square cloth), and packages are adorned with Mizuhiki (intricate cord tyings) so as to be pleasing to the eye.

The art of Japanese bondage has a long tradition and has been perfected over many centuries. It serves not only as binding but also as body adornment, and the pressure made by cords can employ Shiatsu techniques.

Shibari is built up of many ropes, each one doing its job, each one contributing to the total effect. Every knot has its historic significance and all of them have to do with the roots of Shibari in Hojo-jutsu (the martial art of restraining captives). There is even a form of bondage for noble captives where actual knots were not used at all and the prisoner was on his honor not to escape.

Originally Shibari started out as a form of incarceration in Japan from 1400 to 1700. At that time, the local police and Samurai used it as a form of imprisonment. The rope was multi-functional and was used not only for binding prisoners or hanging up the armor, but also for securing a saddle or tethering a horse.

There were no jails in Japan and very few metal resources. But they had lots of hemp and jute rope. So rope was what they used to immobilize prisoners. This is the origin of the martial art called Hojo-justu and other martial arts. Even today, police in Japan carry a bundle of hemp rope in the trunks of police cars in case they need it.

According to the earliest tradition of the Edo (1600-1868) period, there was a well-establisehd association between four colors (blue, red, white and black), the seasons, directions, and the four Chinese guards of the four directions (the dragon, the phoenix, the tiger and the tortoise). The color of the rope changed with the season, and the prisoner was restrained facing the direction appropriate to the color and season. By the end of the Edo period, the colors had been reduced to two, white and indigo.

Hemp was used for the real ropes while silk was used for practice upon straw dummies.

The honor of ancient Samurai warriors was rated on how well they took charge of their prisoners, and the technique used to tie the prisoner showed the honor and status of that Samurai. There were four rules of Hojo-jutsu:

1. Not to allow the prisoner to slip his bonds.
2. Not to cause any physical or mental injury.
3. Not to allow others to see the techniques.
4. To make the result beautiful to look at.

In the late 1800's and early 1900's a new form of erotic Hojo-justu evolved. This was called Kinbaku (the art of erotic bondage).

Finishing raw hemp rope is a process that takes a fair amount of time to do correctly. First, the hemp is boiled and carefully dried, then the stray strands are singed. Finally, mink oil is worked into the fibres. After completing the process you have a piece of rope that feels very similar to a sensual, although scratchy, Shetland wool sweater when it rubs across the skin. 

Finished hemp rope has the perfect balance of textures, being both rough and soft, with a  pleasant, grassy aroma. Hemp rope doesn't stretch like braided nylon or polypropylene and it holds a knot remarkably well. It also has a lower tendency to produce "rope burn" than synthetic ropes.

8mm and 6mm rope is great for general bodywork such as torso harnesses, pelvic harnesses, breast bondage, and ankle or wrist cuffs. Good working standard lengths are the 25 feet for torso/pelvic work and 12.5 ft lengths for wrist or ankle cuffs. The standard lengths had to be modified according to the model.

Hemp appeared in Japan during the Neolithic Jomon period (10,000 to 300 BC). The term Jomon itself means "pattern of ropes" which were certainly made of hemp. As time went on, hemp had successfully adapted to the Japanese climate and spread throughout the archipelago. Even on the northern island of Hokkaido, the indigenous Ainu made their colourful costumes from the fibre during the Yayoi period (around the 3rd century AD).

During the feudal era, hemp cultivation was encouraged by the Daimyo (feudal lords). Hemp (along with silk for the wealthy Samurai class) was the primary source of clothing fibre until the 17th century when cotton was introduced.

It continued to be used for a variety of specialized purposes, including the straps of Geta (high wooden sandals) and ropes.
The meditative, Taoist-influenced branch of Buddhism called Zen was also influenced by hemp. Samurai and scholars who followed ots tenets express hemp's inspiration in arts like Haiku (short poems), Aikido (a martial art), Kyudo (archery) and Chanoyu (tea ceremony).

During an elaborate pre-bout ceremony called Dohyo-iri, in Sumo, the reigning Yokuzuma (grand champion) carries a giant hemp rope around his ample girth to purify the ring and exorcise the evil spirits.
The use of bamboo is culturally natural to the Japanese. Bamboo has played an indispensable role in Japanese society since early times; strong, light and flexible, it has been put to a wide range of uses. Aside from its basic purposes, it is also used in more elaborate bondage.

Bamboo combs and baskets have been unearthed at Jomon Period archaeological sites in both Honshu and Kyushu. These finds prove that bamboo groves grew over a wide area of Japan and that bamboo had been in use since earliest times. It is thought that people began to eat bamboo shoots in this period. Sites from the Nara Period (710-794) show that bamboo was used to make holders for writing brushes and musical instruments like the Shakuhachi (Japanese flute).

During the Kamakura and Muromachi Periods (1192-1573), bamboo was also used to make bows and arrows. Bamboo was an essential material in the distinctive Sukiya-Zukuri style of architecture which appeared during the Azuchi-Momoyama (1573-1603) and Edo (1600-1868) Periods. Even tea utensils used in the elaborate Chanoyu (tea ceremony) are still fashioned from different species of bamboo.

Shibari is a combination of bondage effects as most of us know them (power, helplessness), but also beauty and aesthetics (it can be compared to Japanese Ikebana, the 700 year-old Japanese art of flower arranging). The intense massage by the ropes and knots is very similar to acupuncture techniques and Shiatsu (a form of Japanese massage).

The art of arranging ropes and knots on the model’s body according to a strict sense of aesthetics reflects the cultural heritage of Ikebana, which emphasizes characteristics like sensuality, vulnerability, and strength. On the other hand, Shibari is simply a static monument.

The concept of  positioning knots to stimulate pressure points on the body is derived from Shiatsu. The skilled Nawashi uses his knowledge of massage and pressure points to get those thick knots in just the right places. There are crossover influences and effects between Shibari and the traditional Asian medical philosophy of Ki-energy, meridians and Trusbo (pressure points), used in Shiatsu and other Bokam (traditional oriental medicine) techniques.


The art of binding

Japanese Rope bondage is often called Shibari or Kinbaku, terms used interchangeably by the Japanese. Shibari literally means "to bind" and Kinbaku means "tight binding". The word Shibari came into common language more recently, and outside the erotic world it does not necessarily identify a form of Bondage.
In Shibari the emphasis is not placed on the binding itself, but on how the rope is placed from the Rigger (in japanese kinbakushi), so as to become an extension of his hands, and on the relationship of intimacy so created. In short, the Japanese bondage concerns more the path that leads to the final result, than the result itself.
Kinbaku, unlike the Western bondage, is not a practice, but a real discipline, which involves what the Japanese call "kokoro", i.e. "the heart, spirit and mind", things can not be acquired through the mere knowledge of techniques and knots.
Today Japanese Bondage is not only a form of sadomasochistic constraint, but has become a real artistic expression, where the Rigger creates a sculpture by shaping the human body through ropes.

So what is a kinbaku session?

Pretty difficult to explain to those who have not ever lived or ever had the luck to see one.
A Kinbaku session is a Power exchange session, through the use of ropes. The Rigger, in Japanese Kinbakushi, builds the session on the basis of what the person tied inspires and suggests through emotional and physical reactions to ropes. During a Shibari session, the person that gets tied experiences different strong emotions, which can also be initially difficult to manage, especially if never been tied before.
Hence the importance of relying on a Rigger who can take care of psycho-physical balance of the person.
Being forced and immobilized for many people can turn into a true liberation. It is known that in some forms of autism one of the remedies to make the patient feel safe is to embrace him/her strong, making him/her feel immobilized.
Probably the fact that they must necessarily give up, and feeling the pressure of ropes on skin and body, when bound, produces an effect similar to that of a vigorous embrace, thus promoting a strong release of endorphins, and producing a great sense of relaxation, tension release and abandonment, as if he/she was subject to a very intense massage.
As we know, in many of those who whant to be tied, exists at least in part a nature eager to submission, to yeld control to someone who is tying.
In addition the positions and pressures inflicted by the ropes are not always easy to manage, and sometimes are even painful.
This stimulation then, through the ropes, or through other beating-whipping tools during the tying itself, trigger not only physical reactions that, thanks to breathe control, can evolve into a strong eroticisation the pain itself, becomes for those who get tied, a sensitive signal of the fact that you are "offering" yourself to the other, and this can really create a sense of absolute freedom.
In a floor tie, or a suspension, or even simply feeling the sensation of the rope passed all over the body from the Rigger with intensity and passion, as if the ropes were an extension of the hands, may even cause many people experience what is called "rope-space", a state close to a trance, in which body and mind are completely in a state of grace and abandon.
This condition often results in tears when you are untied, as if every return to the "reality" would create a kind of minor trauma, so nice was staying in that condition.
The experience of being tied has among its primary effects an intense erotic sensation, which comes directly from the act of tying: a good Rigger passes the rope on the skin in a sensual way, uses it to pat, shake, move, hold and deter, coerce and manipulate the body of the person bound.
It ‘s a thrilling and exciting experience even for the viewer, so much true that in Japan this is the most popular type of erotic show.
Depending on whether the emphasis is placed on sensual or erotic or power exchange aspect of the session, we can, through a session of Kinbaku, awake in the viewer feelings and emotions always very strong and persistent.


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