Why us? After all, there are bondage teachers popping up everywhere, each claiming to be a master. So how do you choose? First off, look for evidence of skill in the style you are looking to learn. If somebody is good enough to teach, their work should be good enough to post on-line for all to see; not just a couple of pictures, look for a solid body of evidence. Ideally, you should also see them work live or on video, as almost anyone with basic skills, given sufficient time, can make a tie look good in a studio picture or two
Our teachers didn't learn yesterday and have decades of combined experience, we have been taught by some of the world's top nawashi including Yukimura Haruki, Kinoko Hajime, Akira Naka, Arisue Go and Kazami Ranki. In fact, my main mentor, Osada Steve, is one of our teachers. Take a look online for the evidence of 1,000’s pictures of our work, plus a lots of videos of our shows. All the shows, classes and private sessions must add up to many thousands of sessions.
Shibari looks very complicated at first sight, doesn't it? We will show you that it isn't. It is really only a question of using a small set of ingredients with some slight variations and simple rules, so it suddenly makes sense. We will give you the foundations that will allow you to build your skills very quickly and become creative and flexible by mixing and matching these ingredients; like a master chef but with rope
Real life classes are great. We have attended many over the years. However, the actual takeaway content is small in relation to the price, since much time is spent practising or waiting for the teacher to get around many students.
To get any real value, you need to be able to remember the minutae. I have all too often found that I have forgotten a lot by the time I come to practice what I learned. The result is that one can waste time and ingrain errors by practicing these mistakes. As Nina says, "Perfect practice makes perfect". I have frequently had students proudly show what they thought they had learned at the last real-life class, only to find they remembered imperfectly and, so, we have to waste time undoing those mistakes. With a video tutorial, you can re-run them as often as you like without the fear that you are holding up a class or looking stupid in front of others.
There are some fantastic YouTube videos but there are also some that are, at best, poor and, at worst, dangerously incompetent. The problem is knowing which is which, especially if your knowledge is limited. Most are just demonstrations with little explanation behind them and showing little detail.
We explain exactly how and why we do everything, showing close-up HD video of the detail so you can easily understand and learn everything right down to finger movements, which make your tying smooth, effective and efficient. Another big difference is the detail and depth of our teaching. We teach the 'why behind the tie', so you don't just learn a pattern but also an essential understanding of the engineering to help you tie more creativively and safely.
In short, no. Although, both Nina and I draw heavily from the Japanese masters. It is a mixture of the best styles and techniques, a sort of very individual Pick'n'Mix.
My main influence has been Osada Steve, who first made shibari accessible to westerners, although I have taken tuition from many of Japan's best-known nawashi. As I said to Steve when I started learning, "Don't be offended if I take lessons from others. My goal not to become an Osada clone but to develop my own style taking elements from many". This approach allowed me to identify the rules and elements common to shibari, leading to our ingredients-based teaching method.
Whilst I have mentored Nina with my Osada influence, she is fiercly individualistic and very analytical. As a perfect counterbalance, she has meticulously analysed Marai Masato's old school techniques to create her own style. Between us we create our own style but on solid tradition Japanese techniques.