One thing many of you have asked for is more on technique, rather than 'paint by numbers' instructions for ties, so here it is. There's a massive difference between simply going through the steps and being able to tie proficiently, creatively and with feeling. This requires technique and faultless rope handling. It is no different from sex in requiring confident competence. Yes, one could follow a set of instructions in a sex manual…5-10 minutes of X, followed by 10-25 of Y…you get the picture, not very sexy. As I always say, it's not what you do but all about how you do it. Without the right skills, you might follow the steps but with all the lack of finesse of a fumbling virgin. Skill is why masters like Yukimura can achieve all they want with so little rope and what often appear to be unspectacular simple ties.
Nina and I are fortunate to have learned some of Yukimura's and other sense's skills first hand. Using our combined knowledge, we have produced the first in a series on rope handling and technique. Whilst aimed at beginners, I'm certain that even experienced riggers will get something from it. In addition to our practical experience, Nina has carefully analysed video of many top nawashi, watching some 20 or more times, and has 'stolen' skills that have surprised me in spite of all the years I have been tying and what I thought I knew. Of course, you could work it out for yourself but it's taken us 20 combined years, numerous tuition sessions with Japanese masters and 1,000's of ties to get this far. In this series, we will share what we have learned and unlock the secrets of another level of tying.
In Part I, Nina covers wrapping, how to maintain tension, simple frictions, aesthetic considerations and efficient rope handling. These skills are the foundations upon which everything else is built. Without these fundamentals, you are building on sand and will tie slowly and clumsily. Once you understand how the tools are used properly and the capabilities of the components, these can easily be applied creatively so you are no longer limited to 'set pieces'. This is the start of self-expression with rope and, to us, what shibari is all about.