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Shibari You Can Use: Japanese Rope Bondage and Erotic Macramé

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The pair learnt shibari in Australia (George divides his time between Melbourne and Brooklyn, New York). The underground erotic art remains largely clandestine in its native Japan; finding teachers was tough. There is a great art to the act of tying,” says the softly spoken George, 37, stirring his coffee in a Sydney Potts Point cafe. “It is this incredibly ascetic experience.”

You're about to put a lot of time and effort toward learning to tie. For many, tying becomes a defining part of who they are. Being tied can be one of the most profoundly sensual and moving experiences of a lifetime. You'll be the one giving that experience to people. The essence of Shibari lies in enjoying the rope games together with your partner. Embrace the learning process and apply what you’ve discovered about basic Shibari for beginners. Remember, it’s a journey of exploration and connection, so let your creativity and enthusiasm guide you. For Kok, shibari is a practice imbued not only with heightened power but also humility and responsibility. “Since becoming an artist I’ve tried very hard not to feel the need to have the last word, to not think that I’m most important; to gain a full understanding of what it means to be responsible to something.”

Bunny will premiere in Australia at Campbelltown Arts Centre on 22 and 23 January, 2016. Photograph: Bernie Ng/Substation

It can be very gentle, as well as really hard,” agrees 39-year-old Singaporean Kok. “There is a whole range of emotions that are as flexible as the material itself … a sense of communication through rope.”In Bunny, Kok poses an ethical question: “When a group of people gather, how much concession, agreement, how much of a common denominator do we share?” The repercussions for the performer, he says, are huge. “The kind of person we spend our daily lives working on improving might temporarily need to be shelved. It becomes a sublime and massive task for me as an artist.” The former is typically a petite, small-framed woman. However, in their production of Bunny, both rigger (Kok) and bunny (George) are male and gay. As a teenager growing up in rural Tasmania, George came out when homosexuality was still illegal (it was only decriminalised in 1997), when connections with men were secretive, when the only choice was “having dodgy hook-ups in strange places”. As a beginner, don’t dive into intricate patterns right away. There are numerous resources, including books and online tutorials, that offer guidance on basic knots. Begin with simpler knots that are easy to learn and execute. Remember, the primary goal at this stage is to explore if bondage appeals to both you and your partner. Wrists and Ankles

I realize I'm both the guy selling you the rope and also the guy recommending you buy more rope. However, I'm writing kink books and selling rope out of love, not for money. If I wanted to get rich, I'd have written a fad-diet book. Central to the art is creating patterns that contrast and complement the natural curves of the (usually female) body. The beauty lies in juxtaposition: bare skin against rough rope, strength against exposure, a sense of calm against the knife-edge of risk. Of course, it can be risky. In one preview, the pair tied up a male volunteer in his early 20s. Afterwards, a viewer chastised them for supposedly abusing the trust of someone young, someone gullible. “I found that very intriguing. Who is to say a 21-year-old doesn’t know what he wants, what he’s open to?” asks Kok. George adds, “We make ourselves pretty vulnerable, we are the ones tied up to begin with.” Begin your Shibari journey by tying your partner’s wrists and ankles. This foundational practice allows you to establish a sense of comfort and trust before moving on to more complex ties. Additionally, consider using “columns”– tying your partner to a chair or a piece of furniture. Look around your bedroom with a rope master’s eye to find suitable anchor points. SafetyMore than eroticism, gender and sexual representation is the focus of the durational piece – it runs for two and a half hours. In shibari the “bunny” is tied up by the “rigger”.

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