Suspension techniques: Part V

A comprehensive tutorial on the iconic 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. 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 3-TK. It is a great tie to use to learn suspension since it incorporate elements which 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.

This suspension can also be part completed to provide an excellent exposed play position which also affords the opportunity for an inexperienced rigger or bunny to test the water before going fully airborne. What better than to have a pleasurable way to do some homework and practice?

As with all our tutorials, you will see more than a simple step by step guide. You'll get a lot of pro tips to help you tie with less effort but more efficiently and with full effect. For example, a simple change in main line length can make moving into suspension a whole lot easier and strength much less of an issue. We go beyond the basics by showing examples and giving you inspiration for creative variations to personalise and adapt the tie.

The minimum skill level required is to be able to tie a suspension competent 3-TK. This means safe wrap positioning that stays where it should under load. If you have any doubts please study and revise the 'Contemporary gote (TK)' tutorial. As this forms part of a series, you should also have absorbed the basic suspension skills in the earlier parts.

Your Instructor

Esinem & Nina Russ
Esinem & Nina Russ

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 last few years, he has been improving his skills in Japan with the help some of their best known and respected 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 is currently 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'.

Nina Russ is a London based, shibari performer, rope artist and educator. She became student of Esinem in 2011 and their collaboration gave birth to BOUND shibari night (2012) and ShibariClasses (2015). She had also the fortune to participate at workshops with different Japanese shibari masters, like: Kazami Ranki, Yukimura Haruki, Kinoko Hajime.

She has performed internationally, most notably at the London Festival of the Art of Japanese Rope Bondage and RopeFest in St.Petersburg. In addition, she participates in numerous artistic, fashion collaborations and local performances. Her passion for rope has lead her on a route of discovery of concepts, philosophy, aesthetics and benefits behind this Japanese discipline.

She sees shibari as an art form which creates deep connection between the participants and also aids personal development. Due to its martial arts roots, it brings self-discipline, efficiency, effectiveness and, thus, growth in confidence and awareness. She believes these skills allow a greater focus on the most important aspects: you, your partner and your shared experience.

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