Learning as a Rope Model

Usually people may think that the one who should learn this art is always the rigger and rope models should simply stay there ready to be tied. Time and experience however had shown to me that there are lots of things to be learned from the rope model’s side.

One of the first things that you should clearly perceive as a rope model is the energy flow driven by the rigger. It may sound irrelevant, but model perceives almost immediately the energy type, the mood, and the kind of approach the rigger drives (shy, passionate, frightened, dominant, loving, sensual, etc.). There are lots of subtle signals (sometimes invisible for the newbies), that draw a chart map and a non verbal proposal within the single first contact.

Zanthea by DG & Desmond at KinbakuMania Dojo
Zanthea by DG & Desmond at KinbakuMania Dojo


A minimally experienced rope model may also perceive the amount of self confidence the rigger has along the tying process. You may also notice if he can manage to break away from the simple tying and transcend to an experience going beyond what ropes would imprint in our body. This clearly does not happen with all riggers. It then becomes essential for the rigger to be able to manage his ropes beyond knots and laces so that this second stage would be possible and the session would transcend from the simple jute skin contact. In some cases you may perceive doubts, misfortunes, frustrations or annoyances the rigger may have underwent, any of these breaking our good mood. In other riggers you may notice conviction and sureness on what they’re doing. Of course this does not mean that whatever he’s doing is correct. It only shows that it’s done with his inner conviction of this being right, or it would simply mean that he does not care whether he’s doing it right or not due to his own pride.

Something that is driven during all the tying process and that us crucial for a good model’s experience is the empathy that rigger may have.  We may define empathy as that non verbal perception that allows the rigger to “feel” what the model is going through (both physically and emotionally) and act accordingly. That fundamental skill is a must for any good Shibari Kinbaku rigger. It will be useless for any rigger to know where and how the ropes are placed in such or such pattern, if he forgets that he is tying a person and forgets model’s sensations and feelings. As a model you may achieve, given enough time and experience, your own perception of any rigger’s empathy. Sometimes watching him tie another model would be enough and you would not need to feel his ropes on you to know. This non verbal communication development would be easier for some and harder for others, but it’s something you must train as any other skill. There is nothing better than a good Sensei to guide you in this cases and show you what is happening. Also Sensei would encourage you as a rope model to discover, tell, and sometimes claim for what you miss in any Shibari Kinbaku session to make it enjoyable.

This same empathy we’re talking about would lead to continue the uninterrupted non verbal communication as the ropes leave model’s body.  Some riggers would like to do some aftercare, others simply don’t. There are also clearly perceptible signs that would allow the closure of any Shibari Kinbaku session in a very positive way, letting the model feel the experience as unique and not as one of many others.  It’s all up to were you put your focus on. Is your focus on sharing the picture of your suspension on any social network as soon as possible? Or is it on trying to treasure this moment in your heart?

There may be some tips you might want to take into account as a model once you had find a rigger you trust (beside those we mentioned in the always present post “Being a Shibari Model” that were brought by an experienced rope model as rida san). Here you can find some piece of advice from others that had already been through this experience:

Relax and let yourself go. Never let your anxiety to experience the ropes, to enjoy your rope’s flight, or to feel the magic of an intricate restriction to overwhelm you enough not to let you enjoy the experience. Breath deeply, relax your body and let yourself engage in sync with rigger’s proposal.

Pay attention to what you feel and always maintain an open communication.  Even when you should let yourself go as we said before, keep in mind that doing so does not imply that you should abandon yourself and allow ropes mistreat or hurt you.  It’s crucial that specially when the rigger lacks of the needed experience or empathy to realize that some of the ropes he tied on you hurt, you should be able to say it immediately. Sometimes a simple correction on rope’s placement makes all the difference. In worse cases, and whenever you feel your safety may be compromised, you have the absolute right (and the obligation on behalf of your safety), to ask him to stop the rope session or even to bring you down right away from any suspension.  Always keep in mind that some poorly experienced riggers, or those unable to manage that stressing event, may take more time to untie you and bring you down in those situations. So, don’t let that option for last time if you feel that everything is getting worse by the second.

After the rope session, and once you’re back on your own reality, it’s a good practice to examine your body for aches, scratches, bruises or any other abnormal thing. It may happen that after being tied for a somehow long period of time, your body may feel a subtle muscular contracture due to some uncomfortable position the ropes forced you into. It may depend on your flexibility, your fitness, and may get minimized over time as you repeat the same tie. However, and as we said and repeated countless times, any scratch, bruise, or numbness that lasts for more than some minutes after the session, must be seriously addressed, communicated to the rigger, and taken care by a good Medical Doctor. Nor the persistence of any of these symptoms, neither the impairment to do any kind of movement are normal in any well done Shibari Kinbaku session. The kind of caring the rigger would show in hearing those news and the kind of attitude and action in consequence will clearly show about how much he cares for his models.

Shibari Kinbaku path may look complex and perhaps too much surrounded by these many cautions and warnings that may elude the perception of those who think they would rather just want to tie or get tied. But this difference is what would get us to understand if we are just up to simple restrictive bondage, if we have a strong fetish on how ropes “per se” would look on our bodies, if we are into the acrobatic exhibitionism, or if we really are looking for an experience whose sensations would let us fly over the simple ropes.


Written by DG for KinbakuManía

Reviewed by HaruTsubaki HaruTsubaki

along the tying process

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