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Knot Your Average Hobby: An Intro to Shibari with Chandler

As you may have noticed, or will come to find out, I uh—have a bit of an interesting ‘hobby’ that some may not know a lot about. Lucky for you, I happen to rather enjoy talking about it…hell I made a whole show centered around it.

Shibari is a Japanese word that means tight bonding.

Shibari, also often referred to as Kinbaku, is a form of Japanese rope bondage. It was derived from Hojojutsu, a martial art used in the Edo period by the Samurai to arrest and restrain prisoners. It differs from Western rope bondage in a few ways: it uses non-stretchy natural fiber rope like jute or hemp, it focuses on friction and wraps instead of knots, and it has a deep focus on the aesthetic of the ties.

Shibari uses building blocks and repeated patterns that fit together to create ties.

“I started on a series of half hitches. Each hitch’s location depended on the body type of whomever you were binding, but the first knot was usually placed at the center of the chest. I let the rope fall down her body. Studied it for a moment before I made the hitch. I carefully lined it where I wanted, feeling the backs of my hands brushing against the fabric of the navy blue bra she’d worn.
Cassandra swallowed deeply, and I glanced at her, making sure she was okay. She was staring straight ahead, breathing the way I’d instructed her to. Satisfied, I continued downward. One hitch at a time, over her stomach and belly button. The little grazes of my fingers against her skin made trails of goosebumps, and my entire body buzzed with the visual, wound up with excitement.”

For me, the methodical repetition and precise structure of rope bondage is calming. No matter what else is going on in my life, I have to be present to focus on the ties, the submissive that I’m tying up, and the tone of the encounter.

“Part of the reason I’d opened The Crucible in the first place was to have somewhere to be able to practice Shibari with another person. I’d enjoyed it immensely, always getting lost in the art and the intricacies of it. Jeanne had always seen it as perverse and bizarre. She hated me for it, but she’d missed the point entirely. It was a meditative thing for me in a way. A small means of escape from the chaos of my life. Getting lost in all those twists and turns and nuances of something as simple as a piece of rope. Not everyone really understood it.”

For a submissive, being restrained can also feel ‘blissed’ or ‘euphoric’ while bound in rope.

“Time suspended while he worked. I found myself so transfixed that it seemed as if I’d gone to some ethereal place, far from the room we were in. There were times I’d forgotten there was an audience in front of us, the sounds of the audience fading. It was only him and me, sharing an experience I’d never imagined having.”

Out of all the materials used in Shibari, jute rope is the most popular. Natural fiber ropes have more grip, and since Shibari doesn’t use many knots, the ties require rope with the ability to hold friction. They also look better.

“This,” I said, as she took it from me carefully, "is what I use at The Crucible most of the time. What I used on you.”
“Jute rope, right?” Cassandra asked me, and I couldn’t help but smile and nod. “I looked it up when I got home. I was curious.”
“That’s jute, yes,” I replied. “It’s very commonly used for Shibari because of the way it looks on the body and how it feels on the skin. Some people don’t like it as much because it's a little coarser, but I think that’s part of the point. You’re supposed to really feel it.”
“I liked the way it felt,” Cassandra agreed, her eyes focused on mine.

If I got you in any way curious, I offered to share some information about how to complete one of my favorite ties and some other information you might enjoy. And, if you want a real experience, you should drop by The Crucible in Acrefort on a Monday.

“Amusez vos bien!”

Common Shibari Knots/Ties

One of the most basic knots in Shibari is the single column tie. This knot is used to bind a single limb, such as an arm or leg, and is the foundation for many other Shibari ties.

To create a single column tie

  • start by folding your rope in half and placing the center of the rope behind the limb you want to tie

  • bring the two ends of the rope around the front of the limb and pass them through the loop you created at the back

  • pull the two ends of the rope tight to create a snug but comfortable tie

Another important knot in Shibari is the double column tie. This knot is used to bind two limbs together, such as the wrists or ankles.

To create a double column tie

  • start by tying a single column tie on each limb, as described above

  • next, take the two loose ends of the rope and pass them behind the limbs, creating a loop at the center

  • pass the two ends of the rope through the loop and pull tight to create a secure and comfortable bind

Step-By-Step Instructions for the Butterfly Harness (as featured in Obedience)

Now that we've gone over some of the basic knots in Shibari, let's move on to a step-by-step guide to creating the butterfly harness. The butterfly harness is a popular tie that creates a stunning and intricate pattern on the torso.

To create the butterfly harness

  1. Start by tying a single column tie on the subject's upper arm, just above the elbow.

  2. Next, bring the loose end of the rope across the back and over the opposite shoulder, then pass it down across the chest and under the opposite arm.

  3. Bring the rope back up across the chest and over the shoulder, then pass it down behind the back and under the opposite arm.

  4. Repeat this process, wrapping the rope around the body in a crisscross pattern, until you reach the other upper arm.

  5. Once you've reached the other upper arm, tie another single column tie, as described above.

  6. Next, take the two loose ends of the rope and pass them behind the subject's back, creating a loop at the center.

  7. Pass the two ends of the rope through the loop and pull tight to create a secure and comfortable bind.

Obedience, Book One in the Ties That Bind Series is a dual perspective, slow-burn, student-teacher romantic suspense, that will take you soaring into the silks. Available in ebook, paperback and full-cast narrated audiobook featuring the voices you heard above!

Go buy yourself a copy today and see what all the fuss is about...

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