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  Introduction

Important note

Please ensure that you have the basic skills before embarking on this series of tutorials. That is to say, you should should be competent with rope handling, be able to properly construct the base suspension ties and have a good understanding of the the physical considerations, e.g. nerve damage. Each step on your path to learning needs to be on solid foundations and nowhere is it so true as with suspension. Revise the advice in our other tutorials on safety, the contemporary and old-style gotes, hip harnesses and even the good old single column tie.

Please also bear in mind that the individual parts of this series build essential skills and that, as such, they are not intended as complete stand-alone tutorials. If you skip sections, you could miss something vital. The preliminary tutorial is especially important since it covers handling suspension lines and safe tie-offs.

Yoko-zuri (side suspension)

Yoko-zuri (side suspension) is one of the classic shibari suspension ties which is typically based on a 3-rope gote. It is undoubtedly a core tie which everyone should learn since it is the equivalent of the ever-versatile 'little black dress' that can easily be accessorised to give a totally different look every time. During this tutorial, we will provide you with numerous examples of how this can be achieved to develop your own creativity. These will also help you recognise how the 'ingredients' work here and through this understanding see how other 'ingredients' can be incorporated to vary your 'recipe'.

It is the first suspension tie taught to me by Osada Steve who also rigorously drilled me in his version of Akechi's 3-rope takate-kote, often called the OS 3-TK. In fact, he claims a large part of the reason for its very existence is yoko-zuri. The bracing created by the third rope makes the gote very stable in all orientations. You'll see evidence of this at the end of the last video; the rope marks show that the wraps haven't moved a millimetre in spite of multiple takes. Furthermore, the lattice at the rear affords some very nice opportunities for tying legs back into it to create beautiful variations.

It is a great tie to use to learn suspension since it incorporate elements which already should be very familiar, not least of all the 3-TK. This gote has become a standard since it has been popularised by the teachings of Osada, Kinoko and their many students since the early days. Of course, any gote of similar capabilities can be substituted. For example, Kazami Ranki's is very suitable for this technique, albeit he has his own way of achieving the same goal.

I always recommend that students experiment with loading the gote without going into full suspension. In other words, get your partner to bend their knees or lean into the gote when the main line is tied off so they can test it and get used to the feeling. It also gives you both the chance to test the water before going fully airborne.

This suspension can also be part completed to provide an excellent exposed play position. I am sure you have seen it many times in photos or as a point in a show: The main line is tied with some tension, often drawing the model on tip-toes, and the secondary line on the lower thigh pulls the leg high creating excellent exposure.


What better than to have a pleasurable way to do some homework and practice?