I would like to share with all of you today a very lovely experience. I loved it very much and keeps on gratifying myself every time I have the chance to repeat it. It happens that I do adore the energy and the ambiance you can feel inside the shibari dojos or any other discipline dojo.
Life inside a dojo is deeply enriching, enlightening and unforgettable. Everything that happens there goes beyond the simple and basic fact of learning ropes, and if you’re sensible enough it may brand your soul deeply for the future.
I have had the tremendous honor of doing my first steps in a shibari dojo guided by the hand of a great friend. It happened that it was he who invited me to join when he created it inside the Barcelona’s Rosas 5 Social Club so that Osada Steve Sensei could give his intesive workshops on 2009. Those workshops repeated again in 2010 and 2011 without loosing even a bit of that special dojo ambiance that mesmerized me from the very first moment.
I did book myself to attend every possible teaching session. I did also took my time to research and understand the ancient rituals of a Japanese dojo. I loved that respectful air that could be felt within those walls. I loved that special atmosphere around the ropes and how it helped to a serious yet delicate learning. It was then Kurt, my friend and owner of the place, that suggested me that if I was to give Sensei that present that I’ve brought him from far away Argentina, I should enter the tatami before the beginning of the class. He also loved the Japanese traditions, specially the respect, and he honored his sensei every time. I recall my feelings while entering the place for the first time and watching Osada Steve Sensei preparing himself to welcome us all. I quietly entered the room with a humble attitude, almost regretting to disturb his privacy. After doing the traditional bow, he invited me to get closer with a peaceful look in his eyes. I gave him his present with a few words and left the room taking special care not to show my back while doing it (as it is to be in Japanese tradition).
I’ll keep marked in my memory the image of all people’s shoes tidily arranged by the tatami. Silence had a big presence at the dojo while in front of us all, dressed in his typical aikodogi, our sensei welcomed us. Hours passed by with many people coming and leaving as some particular workshops took place. Yet the silence and respectful ambiance prevailed, broken slightly every now and then by the exciting sounds of the swishing ropes cutting though the air and the ropes’ ends hitting the tatami. Sensei walked around, observing all of us and making suggestions. Questions were addressed only to him in a soft tone so not to disturb the other’s work. As days went on I enhanced my hearing skill and by the end, I could tell the difference between the sound of jute or hemp ropes hitting the tatami without even looking at them.
You could also feel there was a great respect towards ropes (owns and the others’). Everyone was very careful about not stepping on or touching anyone else’s ropes and no one chatted or disturbed the working ambience. There was also a great respect towards all the models’ efforts and to everything we were experiencing at that moment. It was as if everybody wanted to capture the beauty of those precious moments and keep them in our memories forever. Then I realized something that you would only learn living this kind of experiences. You can only learn to really love ropes and Shibari/Kinbaku honour when you practice and exercise this love and honour with deep passion.
After that excellent first experiences, I was excited about visiting other Shibari/Kinbaku dojos around the world. I’ve been gladly surprised, and my soul revived all those memories, as I’d felt the same ambiance is present during practices at Yukinaga Max‘s Copenhagen Shibari Dojo in Denmark as the Yukimura Haruki Sensei’s or the Osada Steve Sensei’s Dojos, both in Tokyo, Japan. There is some emotional recall present in each of these experiences, something that renews my energies every time and strengths my will to keep going in the Shibari/Kinbaku path every day. I can’t deny that I feel hurt when some unscrupulous people defile these Japanese words, using them because they sound fashionable to get their 5 minutes of being famous. I get a bit pissed off with the nowadays’ rule is that anything is fine to be used and/or bastardized just because it sounds good in the name of marketing. It’s really sad when people enter this one way race without caring about what they’re loosing in the process. But, getting back to the important message… It’s a must that if you’re interested in real Shibari/Kinbaku and want to get serious about it, you should give a chance to feel these powerful energies, let those unforgettable experiences brand your soul. You won’t need much money to do so. You can feel a dojo experience as simple as wanting to. You should look for any Aikido Dojo, Kendo Dojo, Karatedo Dojo near where you live.
Perhaps what I’m sharing today may sound weird to some of you, or familiar to others. I’m not here to read you a fairy tale. Nor am I to convince you about modifying your beliefs. I’m just opening my heart to share with you that special energy that flows in every rope, in every knot. That energy you can feel as your rope vibrates in harmony through the air and easily flows it’s way through the skin of those who submit to you. That energy, so sacred, so unique, so sensible, isn’t born within the ropes themselves. It does not flow from your hands, your skills, or the patterns you learn. This special energy called Shibari/Kinbaku comes from all these experiences together. It is born, summoned from all these precious memories and feelings completing our souls. Let’s take good care of it, and nourish it in every way we can.