Your First Ropes

The day has come !!! You’ve finally decided to seriously practice Shibari/Kinbaku and suddenly realized you need to get some genuine organic ropes to do so.  Congratulations !!!

You may have realized, or maybe somebody have advised you, that there is no better material for Shibari practice than the organic fiber ropes. There is no other way to make your energy flow than through these living fibers.  Besides, it’s the best material getting all the necessary qualities and characteristics that you need to perform this art.

It’s a sad reality that in Buenos Aires Argentina, as in most of Latin America you’ll have a hard time to get good jute or hemp ropes.  Even those that you may get may be from questionable quality and origin.  If you realize the fact that rope is your tool and your introduction as a rigger, you’d better choose it wisely.  If you also had reached that point were you do suspensions, you’ll also bear in mind that your model’s life will dangle on that rope’s quality and your tying skills.  That’s why I do never tie with ropes whose origin I don’t know.

Mi first set of ropes was a gift from my great friend Kurt. It was a Japanese jute rope set. I still remember what he told me when he gave them to me: “These are the best ropes and they will go along with you keeping all the energy and love you devote to them”. I still keep them as a precious and cared treasure.  They still keep that special energy with which Kurt gave them to me, and they went along with me several times to the farthest places in the world.

I’ve learned that way that ropes are something very intimate for the rigger, and they will be your partners in the learning path. They’d be with you a long way, if you choose them wisely, if you take care of them and respect them.  It’s told that ropes keep memory of all the ties you’ve done with them.

It’s usual among Japanese people that follow any “do” (learning path) to foresee the skill, level, care and other subtle characteristics from someone just by looking at “his / her tool”.  In this case, people who neglect to take care of their rope, has a very high chance to be careless about their tied parter in general.  On the other hand, whoever has an “barely used” rope is telling that does not practice too often.  Finally, the way the rope is coiled would eventually tell about how much the rigger had learnt to let himself flow through them.

It happened to me at time to meet for the very first time with some of the great Senseis.  What they do first is take a thorough gaze to my ropes and do some special remark about them, as if they were a kind of creature that I’ve been raising.  It’s really great when you can tell so much just by showing your ropes to your Sensei.

That’s why, if you’re about to start practicing this art, you should question yourself what is driving you to do so.  If you’re really interested in doing “Shibari/Kinbaku” you should keep in mind that this is not just doing ties that aesthetically “look Japanese”, but a completely different way to tie. It can be said that you’re about to enter a complete experience that might enrich your life far beyond what’s evident.  If you’re just interested in restraining somebody with cute knots, you can just search in the occidental bondage and find lots of “nice, cute and fashionable ties” there.  Here, on the other hand you’ll find energy, rhythms, tempos, and a whole universe of sensations behind. Besides that you’ll also find honour, respect, and a very different approach to that moment when the ropes, as an extension of your body and your soul, find their way over the skin of that one who entrusted his/her will to you.

A well kept and respected set of Shibari ropes can last many years. That’s why you shouldn’t take this first step as a spending, but as a long term investment.

If you want to know how Japanese riggers prepare their rope do not hesitate to visit this post and see one of the most renowned Japanese bakushis do it on video.

About what kind of ropes to chose, hemp or jute, it depends on you and how you personally feel with either one.  To resolve that question it’s good to go to a true Shibari dojo where you’d be able to test one and the other so you can chose.  Anyway, either one you might chose, it’s crucial to know it’s origin as it may assure you it’s quality and give you some peace of mind while you’re tying.

A typical Shibari rope set is normally made of 7 ropes of 6mm. diameter and 25 to 26 feet (7,5 to 8 meters) long each (approximately). This measure is called  “a tsubo“.  During your Shibari/Kinbaku learning path you’ll learn the reason and the importance of this length.  It’s also probable that you may start buying a 4 ropes only set just to practice. This may help you to plan your investment in steps and maybe choose better quality ropes bought in two times.

Those who know about Shibari are certain that there is no better ropes that Japanese jute ones.  These ropes are usually more expensive than the rest, but worth it’s value in gold. Their texture, their lightness, the sound they make, their particular glow at the moment of being displayed over the model’s skin has no comparison at the moment.  Like katanas, kimonos, and other cultural beauties of this country many secrets of it’s artisan making are ancient and rarely disclosed to any “Gaijin” 外人 (foreigner).

Then, if you decide to buy Original Japanese Osada Steve Asanawa, please contact me. We have local stock and quite a competitive price.

Finally, if you decide to buy the Japanese jute ropes by yourself, you can find genuine Osada Steve Sensei’s ropes on this link:

If you would like to choose your ropes and you can’t decide on the material, you can read this post to know about the difference between one and other. If you still have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me.

I’ll be glad to help you get started in this particular path of loving the ropes.

Haru TsubakiHaruTsubaki

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