The Allure of Kinbaku

Since I was a wee lad, three things were always present in my mind.  (It was only when I was much, much older, that I realised that any of these three, never mind the combination of all of them, is rather unique.  “You mean you do NOT think this way?”)

The first one was a love for drawing and colouring.  If you wanted to keep toddler Gerry happy, give him some crayons and a colouring book, but even at an age as early as six, did I get frustrated by the ‘imprecise’ colouring capacity of Crayolas and started appreciating pencils a lot more.  I wanted detail, people, detail!  And a Crayola just was not up to the finer points in life, even in a clumsy 6-year old’s fist.

The second one, was the love of a good story.  Not to blow my own horn, but I started reading at a very early age (like four or something) and soon, I could breeze through ‘See Jane Run’ in a single 10-minute sitting while other kids were still sounding out the syllables.  I got seriously bored with age-appropriate books, and wanted something a lot more ‘substantial’.  I discovered the funny world of Asterix and the detailed world of Tintin at the library a block down the road of my grandmother, and not too long after that, I was reading teenage books before I was in double-digits.  And in my second language.  I wanted detail, people, detail, and rich, embroidered stories are still a favourite of mine.

And the third one, is my love for restraint.  This is no secret, but since I can remember, I loved the idea of ‘tie up’ – give or take, either way is fine with me.  But this is where the story diverges from the other two, because it was before the age of the internet, and while nice Aquarelle coloured pencils and nice textured books were available to my young mind, my frame of reference for this type of leisure activity was… er… none.

Simple two-column hand tie

I remember the first time I got to tie someone up (as a grown up).  It held.  It was secure.  It was fun.  And it was ugly and messy as hell.  Make no mistake, I loved it, but…  you know, it lacked something.  A certain finesse.  It was a children’s book written in Crayolas, if you’ll pardon the horrible metaphor.  I believe I’ve said this before but, I wanted detail, people, detail!

And this is where, in 2002, the internet and it’s riches of resources, came to the rescue, and I found the arcane art of Kinbaku.

Pentagram Chest Harness

Whatsamaku? Well, in every-day English:  the art of Japanese bondage. (Sometimes, the term ‘Shibari’ is also used, and there is a hell of a fight between people discussing the semantics of terminology between ‘kibaku’ and ‘shibari’, but at the end of the day, both paths get you up the mountain.)  But what Shibari/Kinbaku is not:  is ‘common’ rope tying.  It’s not a Portuguese bowline (as useful as that knot may be!), but instead it is – according to the gospel of Gerry – rope tying purely for the simple damn beauty of it.  It’s not a clumsy application of rope for the sake of quick restraint, but the slow, deliberate and intentional application of rope for the purpose of making, creating, something beautiful.

Kinbaku has the aspects of ‘traditional’ bondage, in that it is secure and fun, but it has the additional aspect of being an act of artistry in and of itself.  Look, kinky sex exists, and it is fun, but if the only reason you play bondage games is to get your rocks off, you are missing an extremely large part of the purpose.

Forearm Tie

A purpose of beauty.  The only way I can describe it, is when I’m doing the art of Kinbaku, I have the same ‘feeling’ I have when I’m sitting in front of a pad of drawing paper and pencils, or a canvas and paints, or a keyboard and the blank page.  It is a creative process.  I feel like an artist, and my rope-bottom / submissive / pal who wants to mess around becomes my canvas, my blank page.  The slow, meticulous, structured way of applying ropes takes both me and my partner to a different space.  It’s an art purely for the sake of the art.  Fun, secure, restrictive and…  simply beautiful.  Made even more beautiful by the ephemeral nature of it.  A book or a drawing or a painting or a photograph can last forever – one hopes – but a kinbaku session, is finite.  It’s this short-lived aspect of it – a few hours at the most – that makes it all the more beautiful.

And ironically, the slow, methodical untying of the knots and ropes, can be just as beautiful and cathartic.

It’s something I love doing, just for the sheer beauty of it.

And more ironically still:  I suck at it!

Seated full body tie