Dr Phil’s London Shibari Workshop

Benjamin and I have been on many Shibari and Kinbaku training courses over the past 9 months. We have had private tuition, attended workshops, demonstrations, performances and events or have even simply met and managed to discuss rope one-on-one with Riggers and Rope Models who have dedicated their lives to it and are simply amazing at what they do. Names like Bruce Esinem, Nina Russ, Gorgone, Kasami Ranki, Vinciens, Kirigami and Peter Slemrian to name but a few. However, I always seem to avoid going into depth about our experiences with them as it is often simply training or technical discussion; which can sometimes come across as tedious for those not interested in that particular subject or too much of a single type of study (Which is not always the best thing to fill up a blog as diverse as mine with; I prefer to mix in as many different aspects of my BDSM practices that I can).

I hope to change things and add a little more to my blog in the way of personal and lifestyle experiences. It has been suggested that I should write more; Ergo, I shall!

Dr Phil’s London Shibari Workshop:

Dr Phil is a French Rigger who has had a passion for bondage since the age of 24. Benjamin seemed eager to attend the rare opportunity of a rope workshop in London hosted by him at Chez Esinem, and we jumped at the chance when a couple of our friends announced that they would want to go along with us.

The class was quite small, consisting of only 5 Riggers and 4 Models (not including Dr Phil and his Model), so it allowed for discussion and getting to know people, which is always a bonus, and primarily concentrated on styles that we were already relatively familiar with (it is great when you understand the basics to begin with, it helps in noticing each Riggers individual and often subtle variations) but also included a little of the aesthetic and non suspension ties. The only harness that we remembered to take a photo of was a very pretty (non-suspension) version of Hojōjutsu.

untitled-1-3The latticework between the shoulders makes a great ‘handle’ for controlling your play partner.

Also joining us at the workshop was well known artist and frequent addition to BOUND: Isobel Williams, Who sat on the sidelines during the ‘throwing of string’ and sketched, inked or painted away. You can see some of her rendition of the day on her blog at: http://boulevardisme.blogspot.co.uk

It turned out to be both a fun and informative day. One I would gladly repeat.

Whip play: A few tips

After a wonderful weekend of rope and whips, it has occurred to me that I have never actually written anything on my blog about whips or whip play.

So let me start with a few tips and safety:

  • They can cause considerable pain and damage. A bullwhip is more than capable of slicing flesh and breaking bone. My first steps into using a whip (about 4 years ago) was closely watched by a friend of mine who already had many years of experience. If possible, try to have someone around you during your practice that knows what they are doing.
  • You need to realise that you are going to whack yourself on the arms, legs, back of the head, neck and shoulders. It goes with the territory until you learn how to control a whip effectively. Even after years of practice; you will still nick yourself on the odd occasion. Get used to it.
  • The cracking sound you hear is the tip of the whip (suprisingly, named ‘the cracker’) traveling at over 1400 feet per second and causing a mini sonic boom as it breaks the sound barrier. It will pick up dirt, grass or gravel from wherever you use it and have a tendency to fling it through the air. DO NOT aim it at people during practice.
  • Including an arm’s reach, a 6 foot whip will travel in a circle covering about 10-12 feet in every direction from you (this means you are in the dead center of a rather large sphere which is full of things to break and people to hit), so be very careful where you swing it. Always be aware of what is behind you as a whip will travel backwards before it goes out in front of you. Also look out for overhanging tree branches and electric cables. Always check for clearance.
  • Anyone can buy a toy but it is never the toy that is dangerous. The only truly dangerous thing about a whip is the person who wields it. Do not be stupid.

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A day in the life

Just over a month ago, I was visited by a bondage enthusiast for a full day professional session. Entering my dungeon as soon as it was opened and spending the entire day with me, whatever that day might hold, until I closed and locked the doors in the evening.

It is rare that I get a visitor for an entire day. Needless to say, I rather enjoy it.

For the majority of the time he spent in my care, when I was not personally playing and seductively teasing him, he was restrained to my St Andrews cross, caged or mummified with a decent enough view to see the other activities which went on in my dungeon environment.

Thankfully, all the visitors I received that day were eager to have an audience or be the audience.

He was treated to some sensual violet wand play, claw play, rope play, gentle CBT, and even a little impact play, He watched as I played with and brutally tied up (in shibari) a sexy and slim long-haired brunette, he enjoyed a dose of forniphilia and played the part of my throne for a while, and come the end of the evening he was even treated to another kinbaku show (this time it was myself being tied up by my Benjamin). In my opinion; a pleasant way to end such an active day.

A few days later I received an email from him, thanking me and letting me know how much fun he had.

I am looking forward to more days like this.

 

Event review: BOUND Rope jam

Many of the events that Benjamin and I go to are organised by friends of ours and many people have been asking as of late what these events are like and if they are fun to attend.

I try my hardest to avoid events which I think I may dislike or which I have attended in the past and found wanting, and many of the events we do go to are usually because we have been invited or because we have a Kabunza trade stand. But to make things easier and to help those who wish to know, I have decided to write up a few reviews of some of the events which we tend to frequent regularly simply because it is a damn good night out.

I am going to start with Benjamin’s favorite: BOUND Rope jam at The Flying Dutchman in London.

This is a fantastic night out created by Esinem, Nina Russ & Gorgone in collaboration with The Flying Dutchman in Camberwell, London.

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A heady mix of Shibari demonstrations, tutorials, shows and socializing. If you enjoy rope bondage then it is simply a must to see.

Set in a small venue of a local historic London pub, whose mission is to promote difference, diversity, and the arts. Not only will you see live stage performances of full suspension rope bondage by some of the most world-wide recognized rope artists and models, but there is also ample space for those who attend to have a little bit of rope time themselves.

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From the minute you walk through the door, you are surrounded by people who know what they are doing when it comes to rope bondage; from the traditional Japanese styles to our own western adapted forms.

Even if you are simply curious about rope bondage or attempting to learn yourself, it is a great place for inspiration and the people who attend are open and friendly.

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The stage performances are of such a high caliber that I believe it is highly unlikely that you would get to see live rope art like this on a monthly basis anywhere else in the UK.

The event is held on the last Friday of every month, the night starts at 7pm and performances go on throughout the evening until 1am. Ticket prices range from: Early bird tickets: £5 (limited availability), Advance tickets: £15, On the door entrance: £20.

Some of the performers travel from as far as Tokyo to perform their talents, so as night-out’s go, BOUND is exceptional value for money.

This is not a large profit event and is run by local rope enthusiasts who put a lot of hard work and heart into making an evening which is entertaining and can be enjoyed by anyone of a like-minded interest, which is just one more thing that makes this event special.

Benjamin and I would highly recommend attending to anyone who has the inclination. It is simply a marvelous night out.

Photography used with the permission of http://bounduk.net/

Fire poi practice 24/02/13

After a night of Bound Rope Jam in London, Benjamin and I headed back to Chez Esinem for relaxation, good friends, more Japanese rope bondage, the best home cooked food anyone could hope for (supplied by the ever skillful Nina Russ) and even a little fire poi practice in the back garden (learning slowly, practice makes perfect. But having an audience of performers put on a little pressure).

An excellent couple of evenings.

This video is unedited.
Videography by Nina Russ.
All media is Copyright © 2013 AemiliaHawk. All Rights Reserved.

Exodus UK ‘Fire Poi’ photoshoot 02/02/13

Japanese rope bondage and suspension, fire poi and floggers; Benjamin and I have just had an excellent weekend at Exodus UK.

And a few photos to add to the gallery.

After swinging around the unlit fire whips for a while, I decided to stick with the poi until more practice is gained. Fire whips are significantly bulkier and heavier than I thought.

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Photography by Raven Imaging.
All images are Copyright © 2013 AemiliaHawk. All Rights Reserved.

Something beginning with ‘K’

Recently it has been quite a busy time for me and mine. We have attended about 6 events in the past two weeks, hence why there has been such a delay in blog posts.

One form of our play that has lately been taking a large portion of our attention is Kinbaku.

In this post I am going to explain a little about what we go through before, during and after play of this kind. I must stress that these opinions are based solely from our own perspective and experiences.

“Kinbaku, for me, is the only style of rope that is really close to my heart because it is not simply about tying pretty patterns. It is about awakening emotions, senses and arousal. With any other type of rope play; you can tie someone, but with Kinbaku, you must put your heart and soul into it. It’s emotion, it’s connection, it’s control, it’s sensual.” – Benjamin.

Stage 1: Preparation

Before any play can take place, a little preparation is required.

If suspension is going to be played with (which should by no means be done without experience and correct tuition); This equipment needs to be set up, ropes need to be neat and within accessible reach of the playspace (messy ropes can mean play is interrupted with entanglements) and EMT shears (safety scissors) need to be equally accessible.

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“Anybody can tie someone in rope, but the biggest responsibility is being able to tie safely. The ability to read your partners body and signals is paramount. Benjamin can read me so well because of our incredibly close bond, which is reinforced through our other forms of play, but when tying someone for the first time; communication is key.” – Aemilia Hawk.

An aesthetic setting or props (even something as simple as a blanket or mat on the floor) can help set the mood.

Stage 2: Stretching

Stretching is important. It loosens the muscles of the model and lessens the possibility of discomfort or fatigue while in bondage. While the model is stretching, the artist is often going through his/her mind what effects are desired or what is intended to be accomplished during the course of play.

“A healthy diet, a nimble body and a kinky mind is beneficial. A sliver of masochism helps substantially.” – Aemilia Hawk.

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Stage 3: Floor work

The floor work is essentially the start of actual play. Some people prefer a standing start, others prefer seated (of course, each can be utilised for specific or desired effect). The aim of floor work is basically to set the tone and flow of play. It can be violent and rough or soft and sensual depending on the moods and preferences of the play partners (choice of music, if any is used, tends to influence and effect play). This stage is often when all the bondage is applied and readied for suspension, however, sometimes the duration of play can be nothing but floor work and have no suspension at all.

“To me, the floor work is is very important, it is about the closeness, the touch, awakening my partners senses and the choice of how I am going to go about controlling the flow of play. It is building the foundations of the play ahead and even though I am in control, I am sensitive to and guided by Aemilia‘s reactions. It is not about the rope, but how I choose to use the rope. This part of play is what has truly made me fall in love with Kinbaku.” – Benjamin.

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“Personally, I like it rough.” – Aemilia Hawk.

Stage 4: Partial/Full suspension (optional)

If suspension is a desired effect, the rigging is then applied.

WARNING: Partial or full rope suspension should not be attempted without training or tuition and even with such things, it can still be dangerous. Possible injuries can include permanent nerve damage.

“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!” – Bruce Esinem.

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Stage 5: Suspension transitioning (optional)

Some positions are more uncomfortable than others, every model is different and what some will find easy, others will find incredibly difficult. But regardless of the person, It is a good idea to keep the model moving and a bad idea to keep them suspended for lengthy periods of time. This may be as simple as spinning or gently swinging the model while in suspension or even changing (in part or in whole) the suspension itself.

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Stage 6: Back down to earth

If suspended, it is very important to bring the model back to the floor safely (untying the correct lines in sequence to ensure balance is maintained). Even when the main line is removed and there is no attachments to the suspension point, it is the artists responsibility to keep hold of the model until safely on the ground (light-headedness, euphoric emotions or sensory overload can cause the model to collapse easily).

The untying is just as important as the rest of the play. This is where the artist may decide to change the flow of play to opposite of what has been earlier.

“In my case, this point of play is often when I enjoy the more sensual and soft touch. For me, it is an unveiling of the skin beneath the ropes and I often add small touches to our play; like using the ends of the rope to caress or running the rope over sensitive erogenous zones while untying.” – Benjamin.

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Stage 7: Aftercare

Aftercare is important in any form of BDSM play. Rope bondage is painful (especially suspension), despite how easy a model can sometimes make it look. Aftercare can range from a soft and sensual embrace, applying skin creams to marked areas, gentle kisses and all kinds of affections shown. The list of possible aftercare is limitless and is often unique and personal between the play partners themselves. Aftercare should be just as significant as the play itself.

“I know Aemilia goes through a lot, emotionally and physically, during our rope play. The aftercare is an important way of showing my affection towards her. It is my way of saying thankyou.” – Benjamin.

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“I am not naturally a submissive person, but when the play is ending and I am recovering from the exertion and pain; and he warmly embraces me with a stubbly kiss on the neck, I just melt. I have no idea why. It is a unique sensation.” – Aemilia Hawk.

Or maybe, after all I have written here, it may just be a case of Benjamin having ‘Dirty old man’ syndrome and wanting to fondle me when I am lacking the ability to bite back.

He is nodding, so it must be true.

Photography by Raven Imaging.
All images are Copyright © 2012 AemiliaHawk. All Rights Reserved.

Exodus UK ‘Fire Poi’ photoshoot 01/12/12

After a wonderful weekend of 2 events, BOUND rope jam in London followed by the Exodus UK 2 year anniversary party in Birmingham, Benjamin and I have returned exhausted but elated from the experience.

As luck would have it; Raven Imaging photography was in attendance at the Exodus UK anniversary and after having such lovely images taken by them back in the October photoshoot, we decided another run of photos would be a prudent thing to do.

I managed to pick up my fire poi once again for more practice and Benjamin did his first public rope suspension (a very comfortable one I must add. It is very unfortunate that due to technical trivialities, we could not get any photos taken of this play).

Of course, this time around, given what I have lately been training and practicing in, the images that we did get mandatorily included fire.

Enjoy.

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Of course, the weekend would not have been complete without an image of me and mine.

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Photography by Raven Imaging.
All images are Copyright © 2012 AemiliaHawk. All Rights Reserved.

No Champagne.

Written by Benjamin.
Edited by Aemilia Hawk.

A story about one of our play sessions that my Benjamin has been asking me to write for some time. However, lately I have not been in the mood to write short stories. So, I told him to write up the story from his perspective and that I would publish it on the blog after adding to it and editing it.

Enjoy.

It was a Tuesday evening and I made my way to the dungeon for the usual session with my Mistress. I thought it would just be a regular session. I was wrong.

On arriving at the house doorway, I paused slightly in the entryway before ringing the bell. It is very similar to visiting the dentist. There is a clean smell but at the same time, an unnerving sense. Once you step beyond the barred metal door, you give up all rights and you are at the whim of the Mistress to do as she pleases.

I rang the doorbell and waited for the clicking sound of heels which I normally hear as Mistress approaches the door to let me inside. I waited and I listened. I heard no sound this time.

Suddenly the door opened. It was the house slave.

“Good evening, the Mistress is expecting you and is awaiting your arrival upstairs.” he said with a welcoming smile.

I glanced at my watch to double check that I had arrived on time. I was a few minutes early.

“Is everything alright?” I asked as I stepped through to the hallway.

“Everything is fine, the Mistress is waiting for you in the purple room tonight, she demanded that you be sent up as soon as you arrived. Enjoy your evening.”

As I made my way up the thin staircase, I could see the dull glow from the dungeons candles seeping through the curtain door and as I entered, the first thing I saw is Mistress sitting on her Iron throne, smoking a cigarette and looking quite relaxed.

I try my hardest not to show any nerves. She always says that she can smell fear. So far she has never been wrong. But I manage to greet her as normal. There was a short silence as I waited for her reply. The tone of her voice can usually give away some clues as to how heavy the evenings play will be, but this time the words were soft and sensual.

“Come here.”

I approached slowly to stand in front of her and I offered her my usual gift which she accepted gracefully. There was a certain glint in her eye as she placed the gift to one side and in a single word told me to undress.

My nerves kicked in again. Normally I am undressed by the time she enters the dungeon but I turned away and begin to do as I was told.

“Face me. I wish to watch.”

With her watchful gaze upon me, I returned to face her and begin to take off my clothes piece by piece to place neatly in the corner. She smiled as I removed the last item and then gestured to the floor in front of where she sat. A signal of her wish to have me kneel at her feet.

After a few peaceful moments of sensation, Mistress running her claws through my hair and behind my ears, she leaned forward and whispered for me to stand in front of the slanted post, which I did immediately. She followed, but slowly. Standing from her throne and making sure every click of her heel could be savored as she walked towards me.

Normally just my hands and feet are secured, but this time she also secured my waist and made sure my movement would be limited.

“I want you fully secure tonight” She said in her voice like silk. “You will understand why in a few moments.”

I took in a deep breath and tried to think of something to say. I decided that it is probably best to say nothing at all.

Once secure, Mistress walked slowly towards the door, pausing only briefly to turn and smile at me before disappearing out. She returned a minute later carrying a large black box with silver accents. There was no mistaking her vintage violet wand (Angele) which she placed directly next to me on a waist height spanking stool.

My trepidation built as she took her time connecting all of the leads into the machine along with the body contact pad attachment. Then slowly lifting one side of her Steampunk skirt to reveal her left stocking top, she sensually slid the pad inside. For me this was breathtaking to watch, but unexpectedly she then lifted the other side of her ruffled skirt to reveal a small dagger tucked inside the top of her other stocking.

The dagger was tenderly removed and Mistress stood for a few moments before me, watching my expressions intently and caressing the blade tip with her claws. When she is not pressured for time, she likes to take her time, which can be all the more unnerving.

Eventually, she turned to one side and switched on Angele. The machine is not like a modern violet wand which would hum and whirr, Angele rumbles and growls, and had now electrified both my Mistress and the dagger in her hand.

Mistress returned her gaze and looked at me with such tenderness that I became oblivious to what she was about to do. The look in her eyes was one of content and pure confidence as she leaned in close to press the dagger against my chest and hold it still against the skin.

The initial shock of cold steel upon the skin outweighed the electrical discharge. As long as the dagger was pressed firmly and not moved, the electricity would not be felt.

“Now you see why I want you secure” she said softly as her body leaned in close for a few moments to press against mine.

And then it happened; she quickly stepped back and drew the dagger in a diagonal line across the bare of my chest. With the electricity running through it, it had the same sensation as if the knife was burning through the flesh and cutting deeply. A red line appeared in its wake, tracing the daggers branding and you could smell the scent of burning flesh.

Mistress paused and held the knife still, stopping the pain. She then leaned in close, again to press her body against mine before tracing the line she had just drawn across my chest with a claw. She deeply inhaled the scent in the air and a grin of utter pleasure formed on her lips.

“No Champagne” She said in that deceptive soft tone and referring to our normal safe word, revoking the privilege.

So, I took in a deep breath, closed my eyes and tried my best to find my sub space.

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.