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Shiting bull (bullshit)

Did you ever feel the need to know a little bit more about rope bondage and its development during the past centuries? If so, you may know what I'm talking about now.

It is kinda interesting that there is so much stuff out there on the Net but close to no real information. If you are looking for serious information about rope bondage in the past, all you find are texts written by various people but close to none of the text tells you where all this information is coming from. No sources, no reference, no nothing. Just "information".

What do you make out of that? Is it the case, that all theses writers have lived during the past centuries and are eye-whiteness of the occurrences? I don't think so, do you? So where does all this "knowledge" come from? How do they know that there was something called "ebizeme" during the Edo period and how do they know that this is related to rope bondage? They just don't tell you. The just tell you that the Tokugawa punishment edicts (!) are describing two different rope related techniques, ebizeme (!) and tsurizeme (!). Without sources and references the information might be correct but the only chance I have is to believe, not in God but in the author. I simply don't.

Well, what I make out of it is that I treat all those books and pages without any reference to the sources of their "wisdom" as worthless. As long as an author is not able to tell you exactly where he gained his knowledge from, I treat him as a storyteller and his writings as tales.

As I said, the information provided may be correct; but nobody can proof it to be correct as long as they conceal their sources.

I argue that a lot of the internet pages I have read on this topic are just copies or rewritings of a few pages publish a few years ago which have been wrong in some ways and incomplete in some others.

Impression

Whow, this movie has made a deep impression on me this morning.

With knots or no knots that's a question

that I have considered not even worth thinking about for some time now. A mistake? Well, a post on ARA has put this question back on my radar:

It all started with my post on ARA: I would call "Kinbaku does not use any knots" an urban myth.

The answer I got from Tatu, list owner of ARA and owner of ds-arts.com reads the following:

Zamil,

No not an urban myth at all my friend, unless you consider Nawa Yumio's work urban myth. The erotic use of rope (Kinbaku) is what followed the martial use of rope during the Edo Period (1600-1688) in Japan (Hojojutsu) was built upon a number of historic Hojojutsu principles, and one of those had to do with the use of knots.

To be in bondage would have been considered extremely shameful for a captured prisoner, and would probably have led to seppuku (ritual suicide). Therefore among those 150 or so schools of hojojutsu, methods of retraining without knots was developed, because if there is no knot, one was technically is not in bondage and so a system of "wrappings" was used.

Shame historically has been a huge emotional matter to the Japanese.
They wanted their prisoners alive so they could be interrogated.

My sources for this is Master Nawa Yumio books (translations by Dr Richard Cleaver). Who is Nawa Yumio?

**10th Successor, last grandmaster of Masaki Ryu, a school teaching the manriki-gusari (double weighted chain), Edo Machikata, Jutte-jutsu

**5th Successor, Shigemura School Truncheon and Rope Tying Kyoho period (1716-1723)

***Martial arts researcher

**Author of about 50 books

Here are his earliest works that tell us much of what we know about the subject:

*Gomon keibatsu-shi (History of Torture and Punishment), 9/20/1963. His first book.

*Gomon keibatsu-shi (History of Torture and Punishment), 8/25/1966. A 2nd printing expanded version of the 1963 1st edition.

*Jutte Hojo-no Kenkyu (The Arresting Rope Study),6/27/1964.His second book.

I was fortunate enough to go to Meji University last Spring, and to view his exhibit which was referred to as the "Criminal Museum", where much was viewed about various techniques used in Hojojutsu and in Torture.

Following the Edo Period, as this new use for rope for erotic purposes evolved (Kinbaku), those same Hojo principles were used, including not using knots.

It has only been in recent history that some in Japan and now in the west use knots while doing a newer style of Japanese rope, I do.... but sometimes I don't. When I observed Arisue Go in classes, who is famous for his trueness to the historic kinbaku forms, I never saw him use a knot, except an overhand knot at the end of his ropes; but never a knot as it was applied to the bondage itself.

Another interesting aspect if you go back to the 40's - 60's ... you won't find very much along the line of suspensions and kinbaku. That is another recent development among those doing Japanese Ropes. Due to the club performers and porn industry today, suspension has become central to Japanese Rope, but historically besides being the 4th and most excruciating torture technique, has nothing to do with historic kinbaku. Kinbaku is not porn, it is about the beauty of rope and skin. Kinbaku with suspension would be the urban myth if there is one.

I have taught all of this in my powerpoint presentation "Torture to Erotic Surrender" at Shibaricon and other conventions. Probably will do it again at Shibaricon 2008. Much of this will be in my book too, whenever I get that finished... ;)

Regards, Tatu

 


Well, a lot of nicely worded arguments... but to my mind without any support by contemporary sources and full of methodological errors.

Thing is, most people believe on what others say and are not willing or don't have the possibility to question what was said to seperade wishfull thinking and mythology from facts. This is why I allways enter into discussions like that, especialy with people which are "famous" for spreading their knowledge as hard facts without stating that what they say is a hypothesis.

 


My answer:

Tatu,

it feels good to be in a discussion we have had a lot of times. ;-) At least, this time we got some sources we can discuss and lift the argument to the next stage.

But before we can enter into it, a critic of methodology needs to be applied. The method of inductive logic used in this post below is questionable in general and especially in this context. In historic science it is actually strictly "forbidden" to use it without proclaiming whatever the conclusion may be, that the conclusion is a hypothesis and never a logically developed fact. In comparison, the conclusions made below would have been completely different if deductive logic would have been applied.

Usually an in depth discussion of the given post would not be entered into exactly for that reason but we're not in a science group but in ARA ;-)

That said we can continue.

"No not an urban myth at all my friend, unless you consider Nawa Yumio's work urban myth."

I personally consider nobodys rope work an urban myth, may it be Chinese style or Balkan rope or Shibari, Kinbaku or any self developed skill. Rope skills are for fun and never a rumor, that's just not possible.

"The erotic use of rope (Kinbaku) is what followed the martial use of rope during the Edo Period (1600-1688) "

The Edo Period lasted - depending on the sources one references - at least till 1868. If one puts the start of that period to 1615 or 1603 is again depending on the historic event where one sees it start.

If or if not rope was used in an erotic context during the Edo period still remains a hypothesis to me. As of now, no contemporary sources are available to me to proof that to be correct. If you do have any, please name them.

"To be in bondage would have been considered extremely shameful for a captured prisoner, and would probably have led to seppuku (ritual suicide). "

To my mind, this might be true for certain classes of Edo Japan, e.g Samurai and above, but certainly not for all. "Marching trough the streets bound" was applied to all classes as one type of punishment. As far as I know, a peasant or merchant would not even come close to a weapon to kill himself. See Daniel V. Botsman on punishment in Japan.

If or if not knots have been considered shameful is again something I've found no trustworthy sources for. Where have you gained this knowledge from that supports this hypothesis?

"Therefore among those 150 or so schools of hojojutsu, methods of retraining without knots was developed, because if there is no knot, one was technically is not in bondage and so a system of "wrappings" was used. "

It may be that there are schools of Hojojutsu which have used no knots at all (please name them). But this does not apply to all of them and not to all techniques. Take a look at å√¢‚Ǩ¬†√¢‚Äû¬¢ç√Ö‚Äú√Ö¬∏ã√Ǭŧè¦√Ö¬°ã√ǬÅ√ã‚Ćã√¢‚Ǩ≈°√¢‚Ǩ¬πæ√Ǭç√¢‚Ǩ¬¢ç¸√¢‚Ǩ≈æè¡√¢‚Ǩ≈ì æ√¢‚Ǩ¬∞√¢‚Ǩ¬πã√Ǭūã√ǬŨã√¢‚Ǩ≈°√¢‚Ǩ¬πã√¢‚Ǩ≈°√ã‚Ćã√ǬÅ√¢‚Ǩ¬†ã√Ǭūã√¢‚Ǩ≈°√Ǭèã√ǬÅ√¢‚Ǩ¬πã√¢‚Ǩ≈°√¢‚Ǩ¬πå®√Ö‚Äôæ√ã‚Ć√Ǭêæ√¢‚Ǩ¬∞√¢‚Ǩ¬πé √¢‚Ǩ¬† for example, just to name one source in which knots are used.

"Shame historically has been a huge emotional matter to the Japanese. They wanted their prisoners alive so they could be interrogated."

It is very questionable in the historic context of Edo Japan that any black'n'white images may be correct. Take a look at merchants and peasants and you will find completely different viewpoints. Furthermore even Edo society is not static in its organization and not in its punishments. See again Daniel V. Botsman for details.

"It has only been in recent history that some in Japan and now in the west use knots while doing a newer style of Japanese rope, "

As said above, the hypothesis of "no knots in Hojo-Jutsu" is not correctly developed and is not supported by the majority of modern and contemporary sources.

"When I observed Arisue Go in classes, who is famous for his trueness to the historic kinbaku forms, I never saw him use a knot, except an overhand knot at the end of his ropes; but never a knot as it was applied to the bondage itself."

Which is an interesting point, because in his two books "æ√Ö‚Äú√¢‚Ǩ¬∞æ√Ö‚Äú«å√¢‚Ǩ¬∞√¢‚Ǩ¬∫ã√ǬŮç·√Ö¬†ç¸√¢‚Ǩ¬∫äº√¢‚Ǩ¬ù輪æ√¢‚Ǩ¬∫¸ 第壱巻" and "æ√Ö‚Äú√¢‚Ǩ¬∞æ√Ö‚Äú«å√¢‚Ǩ¬∞√¢‚Ǩ¬∫ã√ǬŮç·√Ö¬†ç¸√¢‚Ǩ¬∫äº√¢‚Ǩ¬ù輪æ√¢‚Ǩ¬∫¸ 第äº√Ö‚Äôå·»" he is not only describing certain knots but is using them as well. The question if or if not these two book are books on Kinbaku is answered by the title of the books. If or if not he has changed his style since he published the books in 2005 I don't know.

"It has only been in recent history that some in Japan and now in the west use knots while doing a newer style of Japanese rope,"

Considering Zukai no Hojojutsu by Fujita Seiko and å√¢‚Ǩ¬†√¢‚Äû¬¢ç√Ö‚Äú√Ö¬∏ã√Ǭŧè¦√Ö¬°ã√ǬÅ√ã‚Ćã√¢‚Ǩ≈°√¢‚Ǩ¬πæ√Ǭç√¢‚Ǩ¬¢ç¸√¢‚Ǩ≈æè¡√¢‚Ǩ≈ì æ√¢‚Ǩ¬∞√¢‚Ǩ¬πã√Ǭūã√ǬŨã√¢‚Ǩ≈°√¢‚Ǩ¬πã√¢‚Ǩ≈°√ã‚Ćã√ǬÅ√¢‚Ǩ¬†ã√Ǭūã√¢‚Ǩ≈°√Ǭèã√ǬÅ√¢‚Ǩ¬πã√¢‚Ǩ≈°√¢‚Ǩ¬πå®√Ö‚Äôæ√ã‚Ć√Ǭêæ√¢‚Ǩ¬∞√¢‚Ǩ¬πé √¢‚Ǩ¬† I doubt that.

"Another interesting aspect if you go back to the 40's - 60's ... you won't find very much along the line of suspensions and kinbaku. That is another recent development among those doing Japanese Ropes. "

If that is true, what do you make out of that fact that in "One hundred articles" of the mid 18th century (sometimes called the "Tokugawa punishment edicts") the use of zurizeme (hanging by rope) was one of four torture methods in Edo Japan and was applied according to coeval sources?

To me that is the foundation for the suspension techniques of Kinbaku today.

"but historically besides being the 4th and most excruciating torture technique, has nothing to do with historic kinbaku. "

It is certainly an interesting line you draw here. On the one side, your argumentation uses historic sources (hojojutsu) and techniques used within this system to support your hypothesis, on the other hand you say that historic facts (zurizeme) have nothing to do with Kinbaku and its developments. How come and based on what facts was this line drawn?

"The erotic use of rope (Kinbaku) is what followed the martial use of rope during the Edo Period"

Which would put the development of Kinbaku to 1868 the earliest. But as far as I know, no contemporary sources are available that actually support this argument. If you know any, please advise. At the moment, I would put the beginning of Kinbaku to the first publications of Kitan Club in the middle of the last century.

Where does this leave us?

The use of knots in Hojo-Jutsu as a whole is a given fact. If or if not some systems of Hojo-Jutsu do not use knots is possible, but still needs to be proven by contemporary sources.

That Hojo-Jutsu bequeathed certain aspects of it into Kinbaku is widely accepted. But if or if not one specialized Hojo-Jutsu system - one that did not use knots - is the only ancestor of Kinbaku is highly unlikely because it would rule out all other ancestors like ebizeme, zurizeme etc. But these two have had their share on the development of Kinbaku as well (See Master "K"'s book for details).

That there was something called "historic Kinbaku" remains to be proven. Kinbaku today is a broad collection of different rope styles following two major lines. If there is a Kinbaku system that doesn\'t use any knots, this system has a right on its own but is not to be considered to be "the one and only" Kinbaku system.

Tatu, I hope that your book will help to clarify some of the myths that have been developed around the historic context and development of Kinbaku. I whish you all the best for your project!

 


His answer to my last eMail (29.10.07):

"Zamil... Just a few comments, work has me very busy right now...

When I was referring to the Edo Period please understand: * That while I love research, I was just "generally speaking". Being a history major and having studied this extensively, I do know about the various dates, etc... however when I teach, I try to appeal to the average student and voicing precise dates is not a priority for me, as the average person in my class is typically there for rope and not a history lesson. History bores most people, so I look for ways to keep peoples attention.

So for example one way to make it interesting is when I mention the Edo Period, and the puzzled looks appear on the faces, I will say... the Edo Period began a few years after Richard Chamberlain arrived in the 1980's TV series, Shogun and ended about the time when Tom Cruise got there in "The Last Samurai"..... and everyone goes ohhhhhh!

Rope I'm sure was used in many forms as in attested by the pottery in the Jomon Period. I'm aware of the images at your site and the historic citing of the battle of Onin in 1467 (ref "Shibari" by Master K).

My point was simply to relate that it was during the Edo period, the use of rope was codified or formalized into a Edo Period martial art.
Which means what later became known as an Iemoto system developed which led to the various schools of Hojojutsu.

As for the avoidance of the use of knots for reasons of shame was a reference to translations of Nawa Yumio 1963/4, who is regarded as the foremost authority on on the various martial arts, crime and punishment in the Edo Period. I will ask my translator for more insight and will get back to you some time down the road.

Another interesting point about Hojojutsu is that I've heard that while hojojutsu developed as a martial skill among the Samurai class, it is my understanding that with the class system at the time, the actual restraining was beneath the actual respected Samurai and was left to others down the food chain so to speak.

I did state that "among" the various 150 schools methods of restraining without knots was developed. I did not say all, but it seems that style became primary at least, but I'm sure varied village to village.

Back to work.. will write more in a few days..

Regards,
Tatu"

 


I'm actually not quite sure what to make out of it. It seams that we have a complete different understanding about the seriousness of this topic, or am I misinterpretating something?

When I read the lines with "last samurai" and "shogun" I'm close to asking him if he don't want to rename Tokugawa-Shogunate into "Toranaga" just to make the point.
I think I should not.

Alpine Rope

You know the Alps?

Well, I'm just about 30 miles away at the moment, sitting in Bern, capital of Switzerland.

Switzerland is pretty conservative when it comes to BDSM. It has long way to go if it wants to be compared with Germany or Netherlands. At the moment, it reminds me more to the US and specially to Texas.

But, and that's a good thing, there is BDSM live and I've found it without turning every rock of the Alps.

Since June this year, we - that is Ibinuphis, Umino and myself - managed to organize a monthly rope gathering called Seilschaften. Right form the start, we had about 20-30 people turning up every time and every time we see some new faces (which is not related to any type of oblivion on my part ;-) ). We meet in Rothrist, which is pretty much in the center of the German speaking part of Switzerland.

We always do a little workshop like thingy at the start of each gathering, talking about rope related topic or showing some basic ties to get the beginners going and interested. They pick up quickly! Yesterdays topic was "Behavior while watching a rope scene".

Following this more or less official part, we peer up and start tying. Cool stuff, watching 10 - 15 couples doing rope!

Next Seilschaften is at Dec 13th. and I'm happy to be part of it.

What makes a tie Shibari - a discussion

This is an excerpt from a discussion we have had in Jan. 2008 on an international rope mailing list (ARA).

The whole discussion started with a post of JD of Two Knotty Boys:

Just added a full image example from a rig I tied a couple of days ago.

The model's name is Yumi-U and the photographer name is Z. Matiri.

The tie is one of the ties we're planning to show in our second book. Called the "Side Arm Harness" (brilliant name eh?), it's a Fusion tie, done in hemp.

Photo Link: http://mywebsite.register.com/db2/00160/alonghouse.com/_download/YUMI_JD_TKB.jpg

Question: Would you consider this an image of a Shibari tie(visually speaking)?

Would knowing that the rig was tied with one continuous length of rope, had no functional references to hojojitsu or Japanese knots, assist in your decision?

I ask on account I've received emails from individuals asking if Dan and I are now teaching Shibari (based on their viewing of the attached image). This is amusing to me on account the only difference between our rig methods and the tie shown in the attached image is the use of hemp --- the knots, mechanics, transitions and finishing are all Fusion (one continuous length of rope, flat knots used for lateral transitions, compressed front and back support, focus on esthetics, sexual accessibility, sustained circulation and functional restraint)

Does the use of hemp rope make a tie Shibari?

Does the use of nylon rope make it not?

JD of Two Knotty Boys

Cool tie and a valid question. Therefor I could not stop myself from posting an answer:

Hi JD,

"Question: Would you consider this an image of a Shibari tie(visually speaking)?"

Me personaly I would think it is a great image and a solid tie, but no shibari.

The reason for this oppinion is that the tie lacks the intrinsic patterns and the usual "dirtyness" of shibari on the one side and on the other it uses knots which are not common in shibari. Furthermore, by the looks the tie did not start with the hands and the female bound has not beeing bound to be shamed or exposed, but to "wear" rope. As you said, the rope used has been one lengh, shibari used 7-8m ropes. I think the one used might be longer. The methode how the fingers are secured is more or less for beauty only, one little move with the wrist and the fingers are out of the tie. If that's happening, that's something realy shamefull, but not for the person bound.

I'm sure I have not told you anyting new, for you are an experienced roper.

Hemp, better jute, is essential for shibari but not sufficient.

You will find examples where japanese persons used nylon for tying, if or if not this would lead to non-shibari-ties just beacuse "the wrong type of rope" was used is an open discussion every half a year ;-) For me personaly, I would not consider any tie in nylon to be shibari.

Way more intresting is that Mac used this discussion to write an essay: Essay