Well we had a great time in Charlottesville. We didn't get to see too much of the town but that's par for the course when we make these very short trips to teach and return home. In this intensive I added some things that I haven't been teaching before, my method TK, reverse prayer shibari and my version of the chest loading TK. I'd created the chest loading variant some years ago before going to Bound in Boston to teach and only showed it to one person while we were there (guess who). It was a little bit of a nervous moment for me, I've been working through various versions of my TK for several years refining it to make it do what I wanted aesthetically as well as structurally. It's been a big step for me to let it out in public officially. I'm really glad that people have received it so well. The next thing to be officially taught for the first time was my chest loading TK. I guess that some purists will have comments about this but I think it is something worth teaching. It's not something that's come up a lot but now that I've shown my solution to this problem which is quite different to the others so far seen it seems I should probably have been teaching it for a few years now. It got called a game changer from bottoms feeling the difference in it and I'm a bit mad at myself for not having taught it for the last few years. Feel free to ask for it in intensives from now on. The final new thing is my method reverse prayer shibari. Prior to deciding that [...]
Here's the long overdue second part to the blogging of the Viennese rope festival at long last. So after the great opening night and some wonderful shibari followed by some wonderful beer, there's more good stuff to come. In our case this includes some classes to teach, some time with good friends and another show before the festival proper is all over. Our class is on suspension transitions and I have to say that I was very pleased how seriously everyone who came took the class requirements. They were all capable of doing the class and that's a great relief to me. It isn't always the case that people have the ability to assess their skill level objectively. Particularly satisfying in a class like this is to help those who have troubles related to relative weight and strength, this applies in the main to female tops with male bottoms. It's really great to see them execute transitions that they previously thought impossible with the benefit of improved technique. One of the great joys of teaching for me is seeing a tangible improvement in someone's bondage and seeing the joy that brings. We hadn't planned on doing a second performance but well we did. This in a very industrial looking section of the old Ottakringer brewery. It was cavernous and wow that ceiling is high! Pre show memories include much of the unique Viennese lemonade (Almdudler), watching other shows and skipping through the venue hand in hand with Kamijoo Saki. We had a great night of shibari with friends. Finally the end of the festival for us included a wonderful night at the Vienna shibari dojo with all its organisers, the people who had come to [...]
Well we had a wonderful time in the Czech Republic again. This time in the city of Brno. Two days of teaching and a performance night. We had a great venue in a martial arts club on the outskirts of the city where the spacious wood floored rooms provided an excellent working and performance space. Instead of a two day intensive there was a series of subject focused sessions. Thanks to everyone who came to these sessions. We had a great time teaching and I hope that we made a positive contribution to rope in Brno. Here's a video of our performance in Brno. Thanks everyone who came to what was a wonderful evening of rope. On a personal note I wanted to write here about what a good time we've had on each occasion we've had the opportunity to teach and perform in the Czech Republic, the first time in Prague and this time in Brno. Both are beautiful cities with rich histories... and very good beer! As always we're blown away be the wonderful hospitality of our hosts. We really appreciate they way the efforts they make. We especially would like to thank our hosts in the Czech republic for showing us their beautiful cities too. On many occasions we don't get to see much of the places we visit so it was really great to get a local's view of the city and to learn some of its history.
Clover's Rope Bottom guide cover I think this was the first thing we did that was rope related beyond our front door in 2016 and the first time we'd returned to London since the success of the LFRA in 2015. One of the things that Clover cares very much about is information on rope bottoming. This has led to the creation of The Rope Bottom Guide inspired originally for models and those new to rope to give them some reliable information to help keep them safe when starting out with rope bondage. This has been updated over the last few years and is available in multiple languages. She's been asked to teach about rope bondage all over the world and despite really not liking teaching she has taught on rope bottoming around the world and always for free believing so strongly that this fundamental information about bottoming should be shared as far and wide as possible. I've always been very proud of her for doing this. Anatomie studio provided a great venue with an excellent atmosphere for the event. We stayed with the studios organisers Miss Bones and Fred Hatt over night and we thank them for their hospitality and having us to stay again. Often when we go to do workshops we're so busy with the event itself that we don't get time to tie. Happily this time we did some rope for ourselves in the corner of the studio before going home. We'd like to thank Anatomie studio, Fred Hatt & Miss Bones for inviting us and for their promotion & distribution of Clover's rope bottom guide & their commitment to rope bottom education as a whole. We were very glad [...]
I don't even know where to begin with this blog. BED was a complete blast from start to finish. The people of Dallas were great to us and the people of BED especially. This event really has a special atmosphere and has won a special place in our hearts. I'd like to say right off that this event treats presenters better than any conference I've been to in the USA. The team really made an effort to make us welcome and at home. I can't tell you how much we appreciate this kind of effort. It really made a difference to our stay. Highlights of the event include our first show in 6 months. Dinners with friends and seeing people improve in classes. I honestly do love it when you see someone make real progress right there in a class and take away things that can help them improve for a long time to come. It's a cool thing and I never grow tired of it. My sincere thanks to everyone that came. Next of course seeing Kinoko Hajime san perform again for the first time in a couple of years. BED has a really personal atmosphere, while there's quite a few people there and you cannot of course spend a lot of time with everyone but many people became familiar and more familiar to us. When we left we were really aware that we were leaving friends behind. The after party! The after party at TheChurchDallas was an amazing blast. We really had a fun time performing. Thanks to everyone who came and gave such amazing reactions, you really contributed to the atmosphere and our own experience on stage. I can't tell you what it's like to [...]
This was our first trip to LA and we were really looking forward to it for a variety of reasons. First off this trip wouldn't have happened without the good offices and organisation of our friends in LA. We sincerely thank you all for your amazing hospitality and help. The classes Saturday, April 19 One Rope Tension Sunday, April 20 Rope control and movement Unthinking rope I want to say what a pleasure it was to teach in LA at the Bordello of Decadence. This is a great space and we enjoyed teaching and playing there very much. At the classes every person that came showed improvement and I hope took away lessons to help them continue to improve after the classes. It's a great pleasure for me to see a class have a positive effect on those attending. Shopping We had a really good time shopping in Downtown's 'Little Tokyo' region. Great shops and people. We were able to get some things that we usually have to order direct from Japan at very reasonable prices and without British customs scalping us for import duty on even the smallest items. The people and shop keepers of Little Tokyo were very nice and helpful, I'd really recommend visiting if you get the chance. Culture We had to visit the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo. Fortunately while we were in LA there was an exhibition on Japanese American tattoo artists. Tattoo Exhibition Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo Los Angeles, California The exhibition was only there for a limited time so sadly you can't visit this after September 2014. Beach Finally we got to be really tourists seeing Hollywood and the beach. [...]
First thing's first, it's not often we do workshops in the UK, usually we do most of our work in the US or mainland Europe. So it was a nice surprise to be asked to do a workshop at the BBB in Birmingham in the UK, it's the biggest fetish fair in the UK and in all the time we've been doing rope round the world we'd never been asked to do anything at the BBB so it was a real pleasure to be asked. Our thanks to Dragon George and Midstar for thinking of us. Dragon George and Midstar run Exodus UK in Birmingham and it's a really great club, not to mention that George does some of the most cracking dungeon furniture you could imagine. If you've been to the BBB after party and seen the equipment there or visited Exodus you'll know what I mean. So to the workshop itself... First the day was pretty hot and I'd like to say how good it was of everyone to get involved and tying in all that heat and in many cases in all that latex and pvc. I really loved that everyone got involved regardless of their experience and had a good time. Thanks to everyone who expressed their enjoyment. I'm really glad that you had a good time and hope you got something you're going to use for some good clean kinky fun.
Learning that a photographic hero and inspiration, Norio Sugiuar would be there. Getting nervous about meeting him. Being so pleased to meet him and having the chance to get a print in person.Takeshi Nagaike san's good humour, charm and old school tying style. It was very much a pleasure to meet him. Getting to go to the Andersen Japanese gardens for the first time, picking up some nice hashi. Visiting the Asian market on the way back and getting an Agatsuma CD I didn't have. Saki Kamijoo san just being so infectiously fun and instantly fitting into the mind as one of those people that you're just always glad to see. Having some time with Milla Reika san and discovering the sweet, un-egotistical, enthusiastic and grounded person behind the mistress image. Iambic9 for being one of the most unassumingly nice and generous people I can think of. Tying Indigozebra who is just such a sweetheart. Getting to perform again (I'm aware that we may have run just a fraction over time for which I apologise). MarkDV8's generosity of spirit truly catching me off guard and really touching me. Tying friends in the dungeon. Being only the third person to really tie Beemo, thanks for the trust. Giving Amy Morgan a stressfull old school experience on the bamboo frame. Somewhat more seriously getting into it with Clover and then having a great time tying sugrah! That was hot and hot again. Getting some M0co jute to try. I've never had a single specific rope for Ichinawa but couldn't resist getting a piece of Oniroku Nawa for that purpose and as yet another souvenir. Getting a new kimono for Clover from the lovely Japanese lady who was [...]
There has been some 'debate' recently about people being certified for their bondage skills. There are many arguments both for and against this idea... Individual certification Attendance Firstly it's important to remember that there are teaches already that have certificates of attendance for bondage courses. These do not make any promises about the quality of the student, how completely and not how well they learned the subject matter of the class. In short they say nothing about competence, they just confirm attendance. Competence Some systems do provide certificates once people reach a certain verifiable level and have obtained competence and required skills. A very few of these are credible because of the very high standards they maintain and because of the consistency of method they use to teach and to evaluate. Most importantly they also require a long term commitment to excellence. That is to say they are not just meaningless pieces of paper handed out to anyone that turned up and paid their money on one or two days. They spent weeks, months or even years obtaining serious skills. That then seems at the moment to be the outliers of certification, such as it is in rope bondage. My problem with general certification The reason there has not been a system of certification so far is that nobody really can agree on what basic competence consists of or how to satisfactorily measure it. This is why it has been the province so far of small, defined and dedicated schools. Certification, to be widely recognised needs acceptance by a large number of people and for that to happen you need standardisation. This is where the problem for me lies. People can, and do, argue to the end [...]
I've been asked a lot of times if Ichinawa is right for the one rope technique I teach or if it should be Ipponnawa. So rather then keep explaining it I'm going to write out my answer here and point people at it in future. The term comes straight from the Japanese language. Confusion has arisen because some people have been getting confused between naming and counting. Some have told me that Ichinawa is wrong and it should be Ipponnawa. It would be Ipponnawa if you were counting ropes. Or slightly more accurately Ippon me no nawa. Japanese counting is a nightmare so I checked this with a Japanese born professional translator who also agrees that it's a nightmare and a minefield. Ippon = one as in one two three... for long cylindrical things, The 'hon' category! Yes I know it's written 'pon' but it's still in the hon category. Ichi = one in a general sense can also mean best. (Ichiban is worth a mention as it's what you also might use for best or first as in first, second third.) There are also Japanese counting variants for flat thin objects, small compact objects, liquid in cups, bound objects (i.e. you count things like books differently to everything else), machines, the floors of buildings, pairs of things (i.e. socks), time, large animals, small animals, birds, people (formal), people (informal) and age. To be honest I've probably missed a few in that list. Nightmare right? Which is why I asked a professional translator who's a Japanese national and also into rope to make sure. Ichinawa definitely (in the opinion of a professional native Japanese translator) a correct usage for the naming of this technique. Now [...]