Introduction

by Tatu

Dec 1996 (Revised April 2000)


Who Am I?  

I go by the name of "Tatu". Welcome to Japanese Rope Art.  Who am I? I am simply a student of the "ARt of Rope". Some might say I am a "Sensei", which basically means "teacher". Actually to westerners, the word Sensei is translated somewhat incorrectly as, "Master" and it stirs up images of Kung-Fu or Karate Kid movies. To the Asian, Sensei has many applications, and martial arts is only one, and it does not however specifically mean Master in the sense of a BDSM Master.  A Sensei is one who has walked a certain path before you, and is looked to as an example, a guide, a teacher or mentor.

In terms of rope binding, some in the west might say I am a "Shibari Sensei".  

However, if we are to be truly accurate, a teacher of rope would be a "Nawa Sensei" because Shibari means "to tie", the word for rope is "Nawa". If you get hold of any articles on the Japanese/Tokyo Rope scene, you will find the term "Nawa Sensei" in predominant use.

Sensei & Japanese Mind

Actually, to the Japanese mind, one would NEVER call himself a Sensei. That would be extremely improper and extremely audacious.  In Japanese culture it is only proper for the student to call his instructor a Sensei, and only if s/he truly feels that their teacher has walked in the art or skill and the student  has received something of high value, and therefore highly regards the teacher.

While I do love to teach, I make no claims about being a "Master". I am simply a student of the art of rope.

Nawashi

Nawashi is a term denoting nawa = rope  shi = practitioner with some level of compentence. It simply refers to an accomplished rope practitioner. Some in Japan use this term in the sense of an honored title such as sensei. Those in the Japanese porn industry have adopted it to designate their work.

What is this ARt of Japanese Rope?

Nawa Shibari, is a popular term in use in the west today for Japanese Rope Bondage. Literally the words mean, "to bind tightly with a cord or rope".  Nawa is the Japanese word for "thread or cord" and Shibari is the term for "to bind". Actually the word  is "shibaru"  and is a very common word  in use in Japan referring to weaving with materials to make cloth. So for one to use the  term Nawa Shibari in Japan today to refer to Rope Bondage might not be understood as you might think. Your would probably be thought of as one who weaves cloth. Using the term Nawa Shibari is a modern usage.

A term I prefer for this art was and actually still is the main term used in Japan which is Kinbaku, which is a term that was used hundreds of years ago during the Edo Period to describe torture using rope. Kinbaku came into being as a by product of a practice of the art of Japanese prisoner restraint, known today among martial artists as hojojutsu. When the modern Japanese Rope bondager use the term Kinbaku, they are generally referring to a harder more sadistic form of Japanese Rope Art.

Another term in use today in Japan is "Nawakesho". I really like this term. It literally means "rope make-up" or the "cosmetics of rope". Nawa = rope and kesho = a cosmetic art. In other words today in Japan the craft is thought of as "Rope ARt"! One could say it is kind of a trendy modern term.

Interestingly enough, the most common word in use in Japan to day to describe Japanese Rope ARt is the ENGLISH word, "BONDAGE".  Yes you heard me correctly. The Japanese have appropriated a number of English words to describe the ARt to the west.

The word "shichiseki" has been associated to mean Japanese Rope Bondage by some, it does not. See the essay titled   "Shichiseki"

Safe * Sane * Consensual

Rope Play is just that.... "play between consenting adults."  This site is intended to give basic instruction on Safe, Sane & Consensual rope play.  While the nature of bondage play suggests to some of the western mind "non-consensuality", it is in reality erotic role play and sensuous fantasy worked out between consenting adults for their mutual pleasure. Any bondage that is not consensual is not BDSM, not legal, and should be dealt with harshly by our community.  

Concerning the term BDSM

B/D  = Bondage and Discipline

D/s  = Dominance and submission,

S/M  =  Sadism and Masochism

When it comes to Bondage Play, a the Rope Artists may or may not fit into any of these categories.  Bondage may be used as a part of Discipline or Dominance & submission.  Bondage can be used by the pure sadist and masochist to inflict pain, and it really have nothing to do with Dominance and submissive Role play.

Then again Bondage play may stand entirely on its own apart from any of the other roles. As someone once said,

 "We are not into BDSM. I just tie her up in bed."  

So I share with you what I have learned....  I am a student. I am still learning.

What I do with rope perhaps has a few unique qualities. While many who practice or teach Japanese Rope Art do so with torture and cruelty in mind, my Rope Art is somewhat different in that while it embraces modern rope practices in Japan of eroticism, perhaps mine goes another step and includes a spiritual-sensual component. Something that is totally foreign to many western rope practices.

The Way / My Way

A place of learning in any Japanese Arts is called a "Dojo". Because of the employment of the use of that word by the martial arts in the west, it is most commonly associated with that art, but in reality it is used of all places of learning.  So essentially what we are creating here for you  could be termed a "Kinbaku-do" or perhaps a "Nawa-do".

The Japanese use a suffix "-do" . It literally means "the way".  In American martial arts the participants refer to the place where they learn and practice their skills as a "dojo" or a "karate-do".  To the Japanese the do or dojo is simply "a place of learning", a place to practice the art, to walk in "the way" of the art.

So the Japanese rope artist sometimes likens his place of learning as a Dojo.

Rope and Tea

Yet another practice that has been center to the Japanese culture for many centuries is the participation in the Japanese Tea Ceremony.  I have studied japanese tea with a Tea Master. I learned that the precision of each element, each movement has profound meaning.  While tea is not specifically a spiritual practice, there is a meditative element as guests ponder the beauty, the sounds and the aromas of the moment.  The Art of Tea inspires me in my Rope ARt more so than any  martial arts model.  For me doing the Way of Rope is more like a doing the Way of Tea .

Rope & Spirituality

I also apply the Art of Rope on a foundation of ancient philosophies of the Tantrics and Taoist. I call what I do, "The Way of Rope", because it is something one must walk in and experience to gain a full appreciation of the power of Rope Art.

What I have learned over the years has come from many sources, but primarily from contacts and sources I have made in Japan, as well as learning from Japanese websites.  

One of the finest Japanese learning websites that I found some years ago that disappeared a couple of years ago was formally at www.kikkou.com and the teacher was Osada Eikichi Sensei. he is regarded by many in Japan today as the Grand Master of Rope.

Again, I do not pretend to be an expert or a master of this art.  I am a student, constantly learning, growing and enriching my art, but mostly just having fun with the sensual beauty of this erotic art form.

So please understand that I am not trying to present the "only way" or "the definitive way", or even "the best way", but simply my way.  That is all any teacher can do.

What you do with it is YOUR Art. In fact, I hope you develop many wonderful and creative ways of doing your rope. I would be a failure as a teacher if you came to think that my way is the only way. Each Rope Artist brings something unique and creative to the table. I would be very disappointed if you limited your art to just emulate mine.

I hope you enjoy studying and learning The Way of Rope....  as I practice the way of Japanese Rope Art. May it inspire you to new and beautiful works of art.

Afterthought:  I used to say that one of my major claims to fame is that I was a Boy Scout and yes, I was an Eagle and a member of the Brotherhood and the Order of the Arrow. Yes, I have a knot-tying merit badge. While I am grateful for that heritage, I must admit I am embarrassed and ashamed of the scouting organization today for its bigoted stand on gays.  


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