Flogging workshop and first-time Kabunza trade stand at the BBB

Whenever I am asked to host a workshop, give tuition or give a demonstration, I always leap at the chance. It is incredibly rewarding and I truly believe that one of the best things anyone with a well practiced skill can do for the BDSM community is to pass on their knowledge to willing students safely. There are a lot of people out there who are reckless (even dangerous) but teach their activities anyway, (often simply to stroke their own egos) despite how unsafe it may be. It can sometimes be very confusing or even scary enough to put people off trying or learning new things. My recommendation to anyone taking advice from anyone on any BDSM activity is to do a little research into the competence of the person(s) giving out their information and also briefly on the subject matter in question (be it flogging, whips, shibari or any BDSM skill) using that magical tool: The internet. Trust me, for the safety of both yourself and those you play with, it never hurts to do a little research and anyone with real knowledge or skill will be apparent from the tat.

I tend to be very hands-on and interactive in my workshops; I like people to ask questions, I like people to talk to me about their own experiences so that I can explain or perhaps even learn something new myself (nobody ever stops learning) and I always try to get people out of their seats to physically practice anything I am trying to teach. Actual practice of any skill makes perfect and I think being able to actively talk people through and demonstrate safely as they are attempting new skills tends to alleviate a very large portion of simple first-time learning hiccups.

Having said that; I am happy to say that the flogging workshop at the Birmingham Bizarre Bazaar received some wonderful feedback and comments. It seemed as though everyone had a wonderful time and I cannot express how rewarding it is to watch people putting their new-found teachings into practice over the course of an event (having a room full of flying florantining floggers can be an incredibly fun thing to watch).

Even the lovely Mistress Victoria from Uberkinky (who was a pleasure to finally meet face to face) wrote a sparkling review of the experience, which you can read on her website blog: Here.

In response to the many people who have asked me to do some Youtube videos and tutorials: I do hope to get some made eventually, but it is finding someone who would be willing to film me and has decent enough equipment and software to do so. It will be done, it is just a question of time and expense (anyone wishing to participate in this kind of project, please feel free to contact me).

And to answer the question that so many people directed at me about my collection of floggers at the workshop: The straight handled floggers were from Jack’s Floggers, The ball handled floggers were from Jack’s floggers and Edgeplay and the majority of the floggers that you saw that evening (the poi floggers) were from our very own Kabunza Craftwerks (we do accept custom orders if you would like a personalised set made).

As well as the workshop, it was also Kabunza‘s first ever trade stand at the BBB. We received some wonderful feedback on our products and many people walked home with shiny new Kabunza collars, jewellery and floggers. We are gleefully looking forward to any possibilities of trading there again. The atmosphere and people at this event are simply awesome.

To sum up this post, I would just like to send out a few thankyou’s :

  • To the BBB market and after party organizers for offering us the opportunity to have our Kabunza trade stand represented at their event, for the ample support they gave us, for allowing me the honour of hosting a workshop for them and for their very encouraging and complimentary words throughout.
  • To everyone who made a purchase at the Kabunza trade stand. We know from all your lovely comments and appreciation photos that our hard work is going to good homes. We hope you get as much joy from them through their use and wear as we have had in creating them.
  • To everyone who attended the workshop. I hope everyone had fun (I know many did from the comments that I have received on Facebook and Fetlife but I never tire from hearing your thoughts and I am sure the readers of my blog would love to hear your comments if anyone would like to post any below).
  • To my ever diligent partner for pouring her blood, sweat and tears (three of my favourite things to squeeze out of her) into customising and altering almost every purchased Kabunza item at the event. She really worked hard.
  • To my Benjamin. Who, without him, none of the above would of happened and who embraced everything that I inflicted upon him at the workshop (and afterwards) with a delicious smile. As I have always said; “It takes two to play”, and in that respect I am always greatly appreciative of him and feel incredibly lucky to have him as my own.
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Kinbaku and Shibari: Private tuition with Esinem and Nina Russ – 14/10/12

From the 12th October -14th October, Benjamin and I spent the weekend in London under the tuition of the Shibari and Kinbaku professionals : Esinem and Nina Russ.

Rope play has always been an interest of mine (unfortunately, having claws can make it difficult to master effectively; ergo, I have never done advanced courses), but when Benjamin was introduced to images and movies of it, he fell in love with the artform and expressed a huge desire to learn it. I, in turn, have nurtured this desire (as well as offering to be his practice model) and after several months of play, practice and research, higher learning for him was inevitably required.

When it comes to any form of bondage, especially rope bondage, safety and knowledge is paramount. I highly recommend that it is not attempted without at least being taught the basics, either by research using the internet or books, or by attaining the services of an experienced teacher. There are many aspects to take note of during this kind of play; including asphyxiation and nerve damage. Do not be an idiot; Play safely.

To this end we contacted Esinem for his offer on residential private tuition and made plans to visit him at his home and studio in London for an intensive training course to further our learning.

After copious hours of practice and training with both Esinem and Nina Russ (living and breathing rope bondage for three days), I personally have developed a great respect for the rope bondage models that you see in all the images across the internet. I make it a personal rule to experience anything that I intend to put anyone else through (this is true for all forms of BDSM play that I practice). This kind of bondage can be incredibly painful (especially rope suspension). For me, the weekend was a significant learning experience which tested my endurance and stamina to great lengths. For Benjamin; well, let us just say he has returned from the experience with a slightly frazzled brain from taking in so much information, sore fingers from extensive use of the rope and a significantly vaster knowledge of the artform (as well as his own set of Asanawa Tossa Lite 6mm Jute ropes, a birthday present from me and my partner).

We do plan on having further private tuition with Esinem and Nina in the near future, but we must first put what we have learned over this last weekend into frequent practice. This kind of skill takes a great amount of time and dedication.

Thanks to the wonderful Nina Russ, I also experienced full rope suspension. Another thing which I do not recommend unless in the hands of an experienced and well practiced individual. To quote Esinem’s website:

“As safety is a prime concern, please be aware that, like so many good things in life, there is always possibility of accidental injury. Rope suspension is undoubtedly edge play and should only be undertaken by those who are physically and mentally up to the challenge. Suspension is safe but not without risk, regardless of proficiency or experience, so is definitely RACK (Risk Aware Consensual Kink) rather than entirely SSC (Safe Sane and Consensual). The more extreme suspensions require a high degree of fitness and often a reasonable pain threshold, so don’t imagine everyone can do what professional models make look easy!”

Luckily, I was physically and mentally adequate, however, as I mentioned earlier in this blog post, the whole weekend experience (full suspension, partial suspension and constant floor practice) has given me a profound respect for rope bondage models. It is definitely not easy.

Despite the aches and pains that I was suffering by the end of the weekend and despite the fact that I am not naturally submissive, I could not resist the chance to be tied up and partially suspended by the man himself.

Enjoy the photos.

 

All photography is unedited.

Photos courtesy of Esinem and Nina Russ.
Photography by Nina Russ.
All images are Copyright © 2012 AemiliaHawk. All Rights Reserved.

A Velvet Thought – Mistresses Musings: What is the difference?

Recently I was asked what the difference is between a professional Dominatrix and a lifestyle Dominatrix. I thought my reply was worth posting to blog and I have thrown financial Domination in the mix as well because this has also been asked of me in the past:

A financial Dominatrix has no skill in any of the BDSM arts. They are not a true Mistress, they simply pose as one. It is unlikely you will meet them anywhere apart from online. All they will do is demand that you give them money or pay their bills. They demand cash in exchange for nothing (aside from possible verbal abuse or online humiliation).
These people tend to give professional Domination a bad name because many people fail to differentiate between financial and professional Domination as there are quite a few professional Dominants who practice financial Domination.
I personally loath this practice. In my opinion they are on a par with beggars or ‘spongers’. I believe that money given should be money earned and I class financial Dominants as lower than pond scum on the evolutionary ladder.

A professional Dominatrix is basically one who plays in a dungeon with a paying client. The client has a fetish, kink or BDSM fantasy and would like to act it out. It is a form of drama therapy and while it may be erotic or sensual, there is never any sex ( if sex is involved then they are a prostitute, not a Dominatrix).
The majority of professional Dominatrices have a normal life when they leave the dungeon (When I say majority, I can only comment on my own experiences and acquaintances. Around 90% of all I have met. And when I say normal, I mean of course a vanilla existence). They do not spend a large portion of their life studying BDSM practices. They have a very basic knowledge of the equipment, normally what they have been told by friends, played with in the bedroom, have seen on TV or what they may have had shown to them by other Mistresses or submissives at their dungeon of residence. This level of skill coupled with common sense and safety is often enough to deal with a large portion of paying clients. Most clients have a very generalised fetish (often something they have seen on television or on the internet) which tend to be very simple to do. They do not often attend BDSM events or clubs because they consider the play their job and there is no profit in attending such places.
I must stress that this opinion is based solely on the professional Dominants that I have met. The other 10% tend to be incredibly skilled because they are usually both lifestyle as well as professional. The key is, of course, noticing this before passing judgement simply on their choice of profession. The lifestyle professionals tend to do it for a living because they love BDSM so much.

A lifestyler (or lifestyle Dominatrix, if you prefer) is one who does it because they love it. It is part of their everyday life. They often go to great lengths to get high quality or specialised equipment (I rarely use the equipment on show in the dungeon as I prefer my own) and they spend a great deal of time learning the skills involved in their chosen BDSM activities. They tend to attend the events, clubs and venues because it is their passion and not simply a job.

Essentially it comes down to this: Give a financial Dominatrix a flogger and she will demand money from you to have the privilege of passing it to her hand (and she will have no clue as to how to use it or have any inclination to do so. Of course, this is if you actually manage to meet them in the flesh), give a professional Dominatrix a flogger and (9 times out of 10) she will show you how to hit someone with it for money, give a lifestyle Dominatrix a flogger (preferably someone that has a few years experience) and she will show you how to make it dance.

There is a lot of information on the internet about the differences. These are of course just my own observations and opinions. I am forever hoping to have these opinions improved upon, but this is how they stand to date.

I am both lifestyle and professional. I am of the minority. I do this for a living next to my small business (even my small business is BDSM orientated) and it has been my passion and a major part of my life for almost 10 years.

Constructive opinions appreciated if anyone would care to give their own interpretations. Is my opinion flawed?