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The Japanese bondage encyclopedia

Let me reveal an almost-secret of mine: I don’t like bondage. Or rather, I don’t appreciate the way it is usually practiced – with a lack of any particular eroticism, and obsessiveley repeating the same three or four figures – pretty ones, admittedly – for social media visual purposes.

I am not alone in thinking so. Even Midori, the legendary shibari teacher and author of The Seductive Art of Japanese Bondage, has been joking for decades that «riggers resort to tying people up because they wouldn’t know where to place their ropes otherwise», emphasizing how often kinbaku is experienced solely as a stylistic exercise in and of itself.

I came to believe that two interconnected reasons underlie this approach. The first is that proficiently handling ropes is in fact much more complicated than it seems, requiring a considerable amount of study both in terms of the techniques themselves and of everything that revolves around them – such as safety, or how the human body actually works. The other reason is that, absurdly enough, it takes very little to self-proclaim oneself as a “bondage expert” and find oneself besieged by hordes of (often beautiful, often young, often naïve) eager enthusiasts who can’t wait to be trussed up. Faced with such abundance, the desire to delve deeper into the subject often fades away pretty quickly: why make an effort when a couple of basic tutorials, or maybe a book or a short live course at most are enough to attain the goal?
While the question was rhetorical, the answer is quite concrete, and you can witness it below:

So, as I was saying: although it is entirely legitimate to limit oneself to much less spectacular performances, I think that pictures like those do clarify the widely ignored vastness of what can be achieved with bondage. Of course, even in this branch of BDSM, before turning it into art one must learn the craft – which extends far beyond a bunch of essential notions, and is also very useful for unpretentious nights with your partner.

Well, fortunately there is a solution. La Quarta Corda has made available online one of the most comprehensive resources for those who truly want to learn bondage, Japanese style. It is called Nawame, and while the author modestly presents it as an “online book”, it is much more than that thanks to its impressive amount of video content including tutorials, lessons and in-depth content.

As a book, it does have all the comprehensiveness and authority of a printed work: every notion presented is supported by reliable sources, explained and even demistified when required. Inside, you will also find a bondage safety manual and a guide to consent and negotiation in kink which would be invaluable on their own.

What I liked the most about Nawame, however, is its concreteness combined with a constant focus on keeping the connection between the partners at the heart of the bondage experience. In short, it is the exact opposite of the empty guru-like talk I often hear being peddled by questionable “experts”. After reading this work – which, by the way, never stops growing – you might still not be able to create artful masterworks, but one thing is certain: your bondage will be much more enjoyable for everyone involved.

Read Nawame here.

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