Semenawa (責め縄): Tormenting rope

The gentle art of inflicting 'beautiful suffering'

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Semenawa (責め縄) means different things to different people. In it's most literal sense, it seems to be translated as 'torture rope' or 'tormenting rope' but that's to over-simplify a deeper and multi-faceted subject. For the purpose of this tutorial, I'm taking it to simply mean the more sadistic side of using rope. In other words, a way of doing SM where your main tool is the rope. Of course, as with any other area of SM play, it is far more nuanced than mere brutality.

The main focus of this tutorial is the hands-on side of creating physical or mental discomfort and predicaments. The core tutorial runs to over 80 minutes are covers a variety of simple, yet effective,floor and suspension ties. In addition, you'll learn an arsenal of new tricks to add a deliciously sadistic flavour to your play:

  • Knot placement
  • Tension
  • Using sticks
  • Mind-fuck, timing and psychology
  • Twine, coconut and palm hemp
  • Everything from rice to an evil electro-play dilemma

  • For those interested in the different approaches and more in-depth study, I have provided quotes, links, interviews and performance video with some of the best known proponents of this art.

    Your Instructor

    Bruce Esinem
    Bruce Esinem

    Esinem is a shibari artist who has regularly appeared at UK and international events such as Pride, Torture Garden, Erotica, Rubber Ball, Wasteland, Boundcon, Nuit Demonia and recently represented the UK at Japan's first international kinbaku event, Toubaku. He is also known for his teaching both in the UK and internationally and was co-organiser of the London Festival of the Art of Japanese Bondage and BOUND, Europe's premier monthly shibari event.

    Over the years, he has been improving his skills with the help some of their best known and respected Jpanese kinbakushi, Arisue Go, Osada Steve, Kinoko Hajime, Kazami Ranki and, grand master of newaza, Yukimura Haruki. Whilst drawing from classical methods, his style is distinctive and epitomizes the art of communicating with rope, often departing from the typical serenity of shibari shows and flying in the face of tradition to produce some striking and unusual performances.

    In addition, he has worked on various videos, e.g. Primal Scream's 2013, artistic collaborations and photo shoots both on and off camera. He has been involved in projects providing inspiration for Tom Ford's 2013 collection and, Raqib Shaw, an acclaimed artist who has exhibited at the Tate, Metropolitan and White Cube galleries.

    He contributed to Rope, Bondage & Power, edited by Lee Harrington and has been involved with a number of documentaries on kinbaku. He is also author of the first English language tutorial DVDs: 'Japanese Rope Bondage: Tying people, not parcels' .

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