We get quite a few customers asking us about bondage classes and rope bondage classes specifically, so we thought we’d invite Nina Russ, a London based Shibari (that’s Japanese Rope Bondage!) artist to teach a class here at Sh!
Read about what Nina has to say about this increasingly popular form of bondage, its roots, its subculture and Nina’s own journey through rope.
To book this class, please check the event details here! Ticket prices are £25 per person – a real bargain for a rope class – so don’t miss this unique opportunity!
Nina is quite a busy gal, and we are very lucky to have her teach here at Sh!
In your own words, can you explain what Japanese rope bondage is (also known as Kinbaku or Shibari)?
Literally, shibari means ‘tying’ and kinbaku ‘tight binding’. In practical terms, it involves a beautiful form of rope bondage that goes beyond mere restraint and makes the rope a tool of communication. That is to say that the rope becomes an extension of your hands as a means of domination, sensation play and evoking emotion.
What appeals to you about Japanese rope bondage?
I like the aesthetic. The beauty of the model in rope, the constraint of the body and positions, but, most of all, the facial expressions.
How did you discover it? And how did you get into it?
From seeing images on the internet and it arousing my curiosity. I then sought out the BDSM community in Rome, where I was living at the time. For an entire year, I developed myself as a bondage model at the Itoh Seiu school of shibari.
When did you start tying?
In early 2012, I began my mentorship under Esinem. Since then, and whilst in Rome, I have also attended courses by prominent Japanese masters both as a student and a model. I think my experience on both sides of the rope gives me an unique perspective.
Do you enjoy tying or being tied more?
These days, my taste is far more for tying. I enjoy more being the primary source of expression more than the vehicle.
What would advice would you give to those looking to learn about rope bondage and Japanese rope bondage specifically?
The first thing is to learn to tie safely whatever style you choose. The secret of Japanese bondage is that it is not just about restraint but much more about communicating through the rope. Develop this side before getting bogged down by technical ties.
Where would you recommend to get started?
You can’t beat hands on tuition like the classes you are running or the ones Esinem and I hold.
I’d suggest Esinem’s ‘Japanese Rope Bondage: Tying people, not parcels’ as an excellent resource as they are video tutorials. You actually see how to do it, rather than just read and see pictures. Whilst you can reach technical steps that way, you need video to convey the all important ‘how’, the passion and feeling.
What kind of rope is appropriate to use for practicing Japanese rope bondage?
The usual material is 3-ply twisted jute of 5-6mm in 7-8m lengths. This will be soft and flexible which allows the work to be neat with compact knots and frictions. It is an essential part of the whole Japanese aesthetic.
You’ve been involved in the London rope community for a while now, and you run your own event (BOUND). Over the years, have you noticed an increased interest in this form of bondage?
Undoubtedly. I’m pleased to see that it is encouraging more women. I think this might be partly because of the beauty and the communication but also because there are a number of role models, e.g. Midori, Satomi. Hopefully, I’m playing some small part in it.
If so, why do you think that is?
Shibari has been hitting the news. It has featured in numerous music videos, a recent example being the latest Primal Scream video which we worked on. It’s the latest craze in fashion shoots featuring in LOVE, Vogue, Sang Bleu, Wallpaper etc. The west has yet to have a mainstream film but it’s making its way into independent productions like Love, Honour & Obey and Room 55.
I know you also teach and offer tuition. What is your favourite part of teaching?
It’s the moment when you see the light go on and they finally ‘get it’. Sometimes it’s instant but in others it can take a while and some perseverance. Another rewarding aspect is the skeptical partners that become rope fanatics.
Finally, are you excited to come to Sh! to talk about Japanese rope bondage?
Of course! I’m always excited about encouraging more women to tie. I hope I can be an inspiration.
Well, we certainly think you are Nina! :)
For more information about Nina Russ, you can visit her website ninaruss.net/.