Japanese Rope Bondage – Shibari – The Love Art

About Shibari Fumo Ryu

Shibari is a very ancient, sometimes complex art and lifestyle. Nobody really knows when it started.  It is assumed that the art originates from other arts, Kinbaku (pre-medieval and medieval Japanese torture techniques) and Hojo Jitsu (the art of arresting and transporting prisoners of war). However, Japan is far from the only oriental country that developed forms of rope worship, martial arts based on rope or even rope gods and rope spirituality. India, 500 BC, for example, had its rope god Varuna. So it is equally likely Shibari evolved as its spirituality and religion evolved. Much that is considered Japanese these days originates from other areas. Shinto, the Japanese religion, is a form of Buddhism. The kanji (characters), hence the language, originates from China. So does much of its traditional medicine. So it might be Shibari too started somewhere else. We simply do not know.

Most of the knowledge of and about Shibari was lost during the 17th and 18th century, when more western forms of sexuality were fashionable in Japan and its own culture faded into the background. Since the art itself was largely taught verbally. nearly everything was lost until, in the late 1960s and early 1970s some people set out on a quest to try and recover the art and the knowledge. Shibari Fumo Ryu is a result of that. The result of close to thirty years of research and the only now more or less fully documented Shibari style.

Shibari Fumo is one of various Shibari styles or schools (Ryu). The Fumo style is characterized by spirituality and eroticism. For practical reasons the Fumo style has been adapted to a western audience, without interfering with the Shibari tradition. Complex bondages and rope tying techniques have been simplified. A five level system has been developed to allow for easy learning and incorporation within your own love life.

From Martial Art To Love Art

It may seem strange that a martial art evolves into an art of love, bonding, passion and sexuality. Actually that is not so strange at all. For example, many modern western sexual and erotic norms and values originate from courtly love, a system of sexual norms, values , ideas, eroticism and romantic/erotic poetry and art designed by the European knights at the times of the early medieval crusades. Celts used sexual magic as part of its Druidism to cast spells in times of war (and peace).

Erotic and sexual norms and values, as well as techniques and ideas, often originate from the ruling class in any society and at many times in many countries warriors (knights, samurai or other) simply were the leading class and they brought their warrior mentality, warrior norms, warrior brutality and warrior force to the bedroom as well.

Do not underestimate the martial power and technique, still very present in Shibari. Whatever its actual origin, many of the techniques used in Shibari can also be used to restrain, disable and potentially kill an opponent, when used as a weapon. Its martial roots are still very visible.

PHOTO: Chinese police using Hojo Jitsu while making an arrest

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