Rope bondage class comes to NNY

etsyA shibari bondage kit.

WATERTOWN — An upcoming “Artistic Japanese Rope Bondage” class, is as its title implies, about constraints and related knots and ropes.

It is not, the host of the class said, meant to be sexual in nature.

“It’s not the sexual side at all,” said Seth Hill, owner of the Tarot Cafe. “It’s mainly for the head space that it puts people in.”

The cafe, at 50 Public Square, Suite E3, in the Franklin Building, is known for hosting unconventional events such as tarot workshops and drag queen game nights.

“That’s why I do these unconventional events,” said Mr. Hill. “You get to see what people are secretly feeling. People want to do these things. I’ve gotten no backlash — zero.”

In May, the Tarot Cafe hosted “Shibari 101 — Artistic Japanese Rope Bondage” that was so popular that Mr. Hill will host another class from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday at the cafe. The cost is $10.

“It was packed,” Mr. Hill said of the class that attracted about two dozen people. “The entire cafe was full.”

Shibari, Mr. Hill said, is a Japanese word that literally means “to tie.”

“Shibari-style rigging creates geometric patterns and shapes with the rope that contracts with the human body’s natural body curves,” Mr. Hill said.

The cafe’s Facebook page further describes shibari: “The model is the canvas, the rope is the paint and brush, and the rigger is the rope artist. The aesthetic arrangement of ropes and knots on the model’s body in shibari rigging emphasizes characteristics like sensuality, vulnerability and strength.”

“It’s not just the sensual vulnerability of it,” Mr. Hill said. “It acts like a form of acupuncture. When you are tied up in different patterns and knots and things like that, you go through this thing called a subspace. It’s a form of meditation. It’s an art form.”

Mr. Hill said the instructor for the class, who also taught the class in May, travels the state teaching shibari and its safety aspects. The instructor, in an interview with the Times, declined to give his real name.

“You have to know the safety of it, you have to know, in conjunction with your rope bunny (one of the names for the person being tied), what can you handle? What knot would you like?” Mr. Hill said. “You get the whole canvas together. The rigger is the artist. The rope is the paint brush and the rope bunny is the canvas.”

Decisions for participants include the different rope textures and the knots.

Mr. Hill said shibari evolved from Japanese culture centuries ago when soldiers would tie up and restrain their captives.

“In their codes, they said you couldn’t mistreat prisoners,” Mr. Hill said. “They would tie them up in these different art formations.

“Depending on the rope, what the shape or what the knot was or color of the rope, the prisoner would know what the rank was of their captor,” said Mr. Hill.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

Features writer

Multiple award-winning writer of life in the north country

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