About the direction of time in Kinbaku

A short note about my perception of a Kinbaku scene

Recently, I was confronted with the question of how to explain the experience of tying. Whilst I tend to intellectualize every detail in my “free time”, I try to shut down my conscious thinking during a bondage scene. Hence, it is not trivial to explain somebody how I experience a scene.

In order to explain anything, I should be once more open about my background in thinking to make the argumentation consistent. I see the world basically from two perspectives. The first perspective is a linguistic perspective, which is very much influenced by the historical works of French structuralism and post structuralism. Roughly spoken, the importance of language cannot be overestimated and everything is language. The second perspective is the one of a mathematical physicist, who tries to find the analytical structure of a more or less complex system. After a few glasses of gin and tonic, in a funny, a little bit nerdy mood, one could ask, where is the difference? Well, without anticipating the point of my thoughts, I would say, exactly in this difference lies the explanation of how I experience a Kinbaku scene.

Of course, a Kinbaku scene is highly sexualized and it means a lot for me, when I’m able to create a situation within which my partner and I have a great time. Of course, I like the power relationship, that is created and, when I tie, directed by me. But these feelings, and many others, expressed by terms like enjoy, turn on, like, energy etc. are obvious. Therefore the “of course”. These are not what I am looking for, when I ask myself, how the experience of tying can be expressed. The difference of the thing and its expression from a pervert’s perspective turns out to be a topic for my next writing. Here I want to focus on my perception of a Kinbaku scene.

As I pointed out earlier, I see a scene as an interview that ideally combines the discourses of communication and power. When we ask ourselves, what each and every interview consists of, we will be led to the answer, that all interviews requires some, not necessarily specified kind of language in order to have an interaction between the people involved. It requires some set of symbols which are exchanged and those symbols are learned. In my worldview (I wouldn’t dare to try any kind factual description) nobody enters the world of living creatures and is already equipped with a consistent set of symbols. You have to learn language and you learn it in your social and cultural environment.
With a huge set and an immense variety of known symbols one enters the age at which sexual interaction is legally practiced. Hence, when I interact with someone, not only but of course also through ropes, I communicate with this person by using several sets of symbols which have been acquired in the past of this person as well as in the past of myself. We are both not able to use anything that lies in the future or in other words, the future doesn’t exist. It cannot exist. What we are doing, lies in the past at any moment and not only this:

When I tie, it’s past directed. It has nothing to do with the future and it has nothing to do with the presence. It is something, that shows me the past – of me as well as of my partner’s past. Tying is an interview for me. I ask questions. The questions I ask, with my rope, with different tensions, different distances, different exposures and so on and so forth, aim for answers in the past. The physicist in you (and in me, too!) now yells at me and says “No way! Even if the answers are built with symbols that have been learned, you get the answers now, ie in the presence!” Well, from the perspective of time as a coordinate, you are right. But I don’t experience a Kinbaku scene as a mathematical physicist. I rather see it as a pervert linguist and historian – one could say as an archeologist of personalities. And as such, I am not only interested in the past, I see life as an ongoing chain of past directed loops.

Every moment we live, the way we see the past changes, or, the past is a function of the presence – historialité, as Derrida has called it. When I tie with somebody, when I ask this person certain questions, I experience it as a time machine, that shows me this person’s past. The answers I get, change the way my partner sees his/her own past and it changes the way I see my past.

Ropes offer a possibility for me to interact, to communicate with people in a way that leads deeper into anybody’s, also into my own, history, than anything else. As such a past directed medium, it often creates more curiosity and interest in me, than spoken language. That’s how I experience a rope scene. As the most intense conversation about who my partner is and who I am. And we both are not in the future. We are our history, like everybody is his/her history, every individual consists of his/her past.*

I can imagine Paolo Coelho et al in rage now, if he would read this. What about the dreams of a future? Isn’t it that what constitutes a human? Well, where are the dreams built? What a human is dreaming of, is learned. When? In the past.


that’s the name of the company which produces films for Polaroid Cameras. Impossible is nothing when it comes to different perspectives of my interpretation of Kinbaku – the Japanese rope art.

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Farewell Vienna

Before I left Europe, I was wondering what to do with the big amount of ropes that are in my bags. Ropes, which are not good for tying anymore. I didn’t want to throw them away and so I came to the idea of creating a farewell present to Vienna. A sculpture with ropes that was used to transport very personal feelings to very special people. A few days before I moved to Vancouver, my friend Tom Hofmann and my partner Addie went to the “Wiener Wald”, a huge forrest in the west of Vienna. After a little walk I found a very special place for my sculpture. The picture is one of a series that shows the process of the creation.
In that sense: Goodbye Vienna! Es war mir eine Freude.

Pic by HoT Photography
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Ranboo in Bellingham

The BSPC along with Barkas and Addie present a Kinnbaku workshop: Ranboo

The Bellingham Sex Positive Center is proud to announce our first Kinbaku/Rope workshop of 2016.

On Saturday January 2nd we will be hosting Barkas and Addie for a 4 hour workshop that you do not want to miss. Then, after dinner break join us back at the center for an after party including a feature performance by Barkas and Addie. There are a very limited number of spots available so don’t wait! Tickets are on sale now!

Pricing (Includes after party and eventbrite fees)

  • Early bird: November 15th – November 22nd – ***ALL GONE***
  • General Presale: November 23rd – January 1st – $120
  • At the door: January 2nd – $200

Eventbrite tickets

RSVP to the event here

The Workshop: Ranboo

In 1932, the well-known artist Itoh Seyu, who is one of the key persons of modern kinbaku, published a book with the title: “BiJin Ranbu”. This means “wild dance of a beautiful woman”. In 2011, Barkas started to develop his personal way of doing ropes, which was very stormy and overwhelming. His Sensei Osada Steve called it ranboo and since then, this way of doing ropes became one of the well-known styles in the world of kinbaku. Within this class, the participants get a first insight into ranboo. Some key terms of ranboo, such as proper distance and proper intensity at the proper moment are the framework to tie in this way. Content •Key terms of Ranboo •How to start a scene •Madame Butterfly •Hojo Jutsu (some techniques to catch your partner) •Application of the principles of Ranboo Prerequisites: Osada Ryu Advanced or a good knowledge of Rope Bondage

Kinbaku Intensive in Vancouver. Dec, 20th

SOLD OUT!Flyer with text

(waiting list)

By Barkas & Addie

Dec 20th. 1030am-7pm

We would like to welcome you to our Kinbaku one day intensive at on Dec, 20th.

Within 7h we will cover some of the principles of how we see Kinbaku and of what is going to be taught at the future Shibari Dojo Vancouver. In this class, we want to focus on three different topics and their application.

The “interview metaphor”, “Hojo Hishi nawa” and “Yukimura style newaza” cover a wide spectrum of the art of Kinbaku. All three topics focus on communication through ropes, each of them in a very specific way. We  will start with a breakfast discussion of the philosophies and backgrounds of the  exercises. Breakfast is included in the workshop price.

The interview metaphor will be used to elaborate an understanding of how to interpret and intend each and every movement with and around ropes. After some exercises about the interview we change the focus a little bit and become more technical with Hojo Hishi nawa. Hojo Hishi nawa refers to a very aesthetical and technical way of tying that uses certain patterns from the ancient Hojo Jutsu. Although it looks very complicated, it follows very simple techniques and can be used to transport a completely different kind of emotion. After that, we switch back to a less technical topic which deals with the Yukimura style Kinbaku. It’s a style that works a lot through the position of the tied person as well as through with the shame of the person in ropes.

Although we will follow the outline in principle, we will not only set up the switch between the topics fluidly, but also have space for some deviations and personal interests of the participants, if requested.


  • Location: Main & 1st, exact address will be given to registered attendees
  • Costs: Per couple, $160CAD per class (includes breakfast)
  • Registration: Contact Addie on Fetlife for details
  • Terms of participation: see below.
  • Content of the class:

The rope interview

The interview as a metaphor of tying. The interview combines the communication discourse with the one of power relationships. To tie with a person is always an involvement with a certain power relationship, simply and at least because of one person is tying and one person gets tied. But this scene also means a nonverbal conversation between the two people tying with each other. In this mind set we can think of an interview to describe the dynamics. With the help of some ipponnawa techniques we will explore some of the more obvious and some of the more subtle references to the interview metaphor.


  • Theoretical background of the approach
  • Different questions (that can be asked with ropes)
  • Different answers (that can be told to the questions)
  • Interpretations of answers

Hojo Hishi Nawa

Often referred to as techniques that have been used at Japanese courts to prepare criminals and suspicious people for any kind of treatment, Hojo Hishi patterns require a certain set of techniques. The patterns, that usually consist of a various number of diamond forms, can be used with two different aims. One is the aesthetical goal and one is the emotional input. In this class, we elaborate the combination of both with the help of a few of those patterns.


  • Discussion of the approach
  • Hojo Cuffs
  • How to create diamonds asymmetrically
  • Various Hojo Hishi patterns

Yukimura Style and Newaza

Newaza, literally translated means “non-standing techniques”. Rope Bondage restricted to the floor, i.e. on a mattress or else, can be a very special way of experiencing ropes. Various techniques and a special handling of the human body are needed to increase the pleasure of tying on the floor. In this class, the participants learn how to use leverages and how to position their partner in certain ways with the use of ropes. Yukimura Sensei, who, according to Osada Steve Sensei, is the last remaining grandmaster of Kinbaku, developed this style over the last 4 decades and longer. He is the undisputed master of handling the human body and mind with the help of simple rope techniques. This autumn, Yukimura Sensei bestowed Barkas a Japanese name. This honour includes the permit for Barkas to teach his style.


  • Positions on the floor and their stability/instability
  • Gote Shibari (a type of body harnesses)
  • Presentation of the partner and shame
  • Leverages

Terms of participation.

  • The workshop fee is 160CAD per couple and workshop. It is explicitly allowed to switch during the classes.
  • To Register contact Addie on Fetlife. Registration will be considered complete only after payment has been received in full.
  • The responsibility for any kind of injury, damage, harm or else, physically or psychologically cannot be taken by the dojo or the teacher. Every tying person is at every time responsible for the person, tied by him/her/them.
  • Participants are allowed to take visual recordings of their own bondage as long as it can be assured that no other participant is on the picture. Pictures or other visual recordings are for private purposes only. Any kind of misuse leads to immediate legal consequences. The permit of taking pictures can be cancelled at any time during a class, if any of the participant isn’t comfortable with a camera.

Translational processes

Textversuch1web“The symbolic nature and the point where the image fails.”

A picture becomes a text and this text becomes a picture. One could say, the text stays a picture but the language has changed. What does change mean in this context? Is it just a change of symbols? What happens during the change of symbols? The symbols are read in each stage of the translation. How? That’s a question of perception, of the context of perception. How is language perceived in its various appearances?

The translation from textual to pictural language is not discontinuous!

Ongoing project…

A suggestion for a vocabulary of tying

The following text is not about terminology of patterns, positions and other stuff around Kinbaku. It is a first try for a dictionary of tying itself.

Quite recently I wrote an article about a possible view on a grammar of tying. My claim was that there is no discontinuation of the conscious communication, called negotiation, between pre-scene, scene and post scene. There can only be a more or less smooth variation of vocabulary. The following lines are now dealing with this vocabulary. But instead of discussing the pre- and post-scene vocabulary, i.e. the spoken words, I want to focus entirely on the vocabulary used during a Kinbaku scene.
First let’s recall for a moment the interview metaphor used by me for describing a Kinbaku scene at all. It is said that in order to combine the two main discourses of tying, that are communication and power relationship, one can use the picture of an interview. The tying person becomes an interviewer and the tied person an interviewee. In an interview it can be regarded as a good interview, when the necessary and interesting information comes directly from the interviewee whereas the direction or path of the interview is chosen by the interviewer. This picture gained a wide acceptance in the rope community since I brought it up a couple months ago. But of course, it doesn’t tell anything about how to implement it to one’s own and personal tying process. It is more like telling somebody how beautiful and exact the German language can be. It doesn’t enable that person to speak German. For this purpose, one has to learn a certain vocabulary and some rules.
The vocabulary of any language is a set of symbols which are used to express some sort of information within a certain context. Although I would need to, I don’t want to go too much into what the terms symbol and information mean. In the following, I want to define a symbol as a minimal representation of an information within its context. Thinking of words, a syllable is not necessarily a symbol but a word can be. A sentence can be a symbol as well as an answer. The symbols are exchanged in various ways such as gestures, mimics, words or positions. Except the words, all of them can be expressed and/or caused through and by playing with ropes. (Of course, some people talk with each other while tying, but that’s another story.) In addition there is also something like tension and pattern that can be added as subsets of symbols and hence those enlarge the vocabulary. The symbols used besides the spoken language have some kind of an underestimated existence. Although everybody would admit that the roughly called body language is existent and even important, almost none of us learns its grammar and vocabulary as a subject on its own at school or so. It is something that grows somehow anyways depending on the cultural environment.
Doing ropes is a chance to get aware of this language and furthermore to use it consciously and explicitly. It’s a chance and a problem at the same time. Why is it a problem? I would claim, the fact that there is only a rough idea of the interpretation of the symbols in use can lead to a huge variety of misunderstandings. This is the reason why I want to come up with my little, far from complete dictionary of tying.
As I said before, I see a bondage scene as an interview. Hence I need basically two kinds of symbols to describe the content of such an interview – that is a set of questions and a set of answers. But I don’t want any troubles of too complicated answers, because I couldn’t be sure to understand them properly and so, I just reduce my set of questions to polar questions.
A yes and two different no’s are the answers I am asking for when I tie. A yes, i.e. something like a support from the tied person contradicts the power relationship. I give an example. When I softly push against the knee from the inside, i.e. asking if it’s ok to spread the legs and the answer is immediately spreading the legs on her/his own, it would lead to something like topping from the bottom.
A sharp and definite no must be interpreted as a no from outside the play and therefore must be respected. Such a no can be expressed by a sharp breath, a verbal and very explicit no, a search for eye contact and a sudden body tension but also by many other reactions and combinations of reactions depending on the context.
The last remaining answer is actually the only one that is interesting for me. It’s the kind of no that I would like to call a staged no. It is the kind of no within the play, that must have been negotiated before and that respects the power relationship.
We have the answers – what are the questions? Polar questions which lead to the above answers can be announcements like “I’m going to spread your legs” or “I will show your face, which you hide now”. They can also be grammatical questions like “Do you like it when everybody sees your breasts in a second?” There is basically no difference between the statements and the grammatical questions, although the way of asking them can differ. The above mentioned questions are those which deal with some sort of shame play. But there are of course much more directions.
The more tricky ones are about positions. In Osada Ryu, there is in principle no action that forces someone into a direction with pure power but it’s often just a hint at going into a certain position. Breaking the Seiza is a perfect example. Instead of pushing the partner into the broken Seiza, one just needs to touch intentionally the hips such that the partner feels this intention. It is then a question or not, whether the tied person is already in a right state of mind.
Another kind of question asks about the dynamics of the play. Those questions basically ask for some sort of resistance against actions. In the beginning of a scene, long before there is the first rope applied, I try to pull the person towards me. If the person falls into me, it might not be the best situation for going ahead in Ranboo-style. If she/he resists and fights against my subtle and very soft pull, why not getting stormy and overwhelming? Don’t get me wrong here! I don’t mean rope pulling like in Highland games…
A last remaining kind of question, I would say, asks about the pattern, that should be tied. But as the only two functions of a pattern are framing the beauty of the tied person and secures the person within a certain position, this kind of question can be reduced to asking for a position. “Where should be the hands, can there be something around the neck, shall one emphasises a certain part of the body, etc.?” All of those questions are basically questions for a certain position, the rest is creativity.
The above sets of questions are my personal questions and they should just give a hint of what is possible and how my view on the metaphor works in detail.
When we talk about communication and power, this could be a way to understand what can be meant with those terms. Because talking about communication and connection is easy, but the next step, namly talking about how to connect and communicate isn’t that easy. The above dictionary is a suggestion and my personal experience. Now find your dialect and create symbols consciously.


(As it deals with language and my mother tongue is German I ask for pardon for some reckless disregards of the English language, I haven’t seen in my text. I’m happy for any corrections, but please don’t discuss my grammar here.)

An update on Ranboo

When I wrote about the development of Ranboo, I promised an update about my personal development w.r.t. Ranboo.
In the meantime, I taught Ranboo or elements of this style on three different continents in over 20 cities and to approximately 300 people (just in my class at this year’s Shibaricon, there were about 130 people.) I always try to communicate the basic ideas of Ranboo and I always try to say as clear as possible, that I cannot and will not teach people to “tie Ranboo”.

Why not? Well, it is easy to explain. Ranboo is, as I said, my personal interpretation of some of the key terms of the Osada Ryu and I like to tie this way with certain people. It is, if you want, a personal thing. And in my ideal rope world, people learn and practice the basics of rope bondage, perfect ther skills and then, at a certein point, “fill the patterns with life”, i.e. once they understand (the German language has a much better word here: “begreifen”) the reasons for this or that technique, they can implement their personality. (Here is definitly a parallelity to the Japanese concept of Shuhari)

So, why sharing it and giving workshops about Ranboo, one may ask?
That’s easy to answer, too. I love sharing my thoughts, I love teaching and I love the eyes of people who, for the first time in their rope life, see how kinbaku can also be. It can be fun, it can be dynamical, it can be a dance, it can be brutal, it can be fast and much more.
After this general and personal thought about teaching Ranboo, I want to go deeper into a detail, that has developed in my tying. Some have read my writing about the interview metaphor and there are already people who attended a workshop about it.
According to this metaphor, tying can be seen as a special kind of communication, where the power relationship is included. It is not a metaphor that describes the way of applying ropes but rather, how the process of tying can be described.
Ranboo, in contrary is only a way of how to apply ropes.
My new deveolopment, or, the promised update consists in combining those two concepts with each other.
The crucial part of the interview metaphor was to listening to possible answers of the person in ropes.
The crucial part of Ranboo was the element of surprise, i.e. actions of the tying person that make it impossible to foresee the next steps. A foreseeable scene can become boring.
In basically all my recent Ranboo scenes, I tried to find a way to listen to my partner, in order to set better actions. In contrary to non-Ranboo scenes, it is very tricky to listen carefully because the dynamics and the intensity is much “higher” in Ranboo. Nevertheless, there are lots of “slots” in Ranboo, where it’s very easy not to just make a break, but to use the low speed/low dynamics for listening carefully. Such slots are for example, the beginning of the scene, where I wait behind my partner and look at his/her body language. The very next situation is the wristcuff, then, also, when you apply the first wrap and so on and so forth.
Ranboo means to vary the speed, the distance, the (physical) intensity. This leaves enough room to listen to your partner very carefully.
Maybe, my development can be described as follows: I found, that it’s necessary to step back from a scene to keep an overview. Only this overview enables one to listen carefully enough. Because nobody wants an interviewer who talks all the time. But it can be amazing, when the questions, that are asked, are stormy and overwhelming.

Next update as soon as I have one.

The development of Ranboo

My personal review on the development of the overwhelming style

There are many kinds of tying someone with the aim of having a special time together. One can just fix someone else or tying very technically, one can focus on symmetric bondages or construt special patterns. One can tie in a very calm way, very sportive or one can overwhelm the partner very brutally.

Ranboo, or the harder style as I called it in the beginning, is none of the above categories. It is a part of Osada-ryu and therefore a mixture of all calm and overwhelming, of dynamics and statics, of patterns and freestyle. Hence, it was Osada Steve himself who named this certain style and told me the term Ranboo.

The year before I became an Osada-ryu instructor, between 2010 and 2011, the roots of Ranboo, as I have practiced it since then, developed. At that time I neither had a name for my style, nor existed a structured theoretical framework. Of course, some Bakushis in Japan practiced Shibari/Kinbaku in very stormy way, but there existed no structure or definition, too. In my case, this style was overwhelming from the very beginning after I have learned the basic techniques and patterns because of demarcating to this calm and steady sessions I saw almost all over the community. I could not create the same reactions in my partner with this style as I wanted to. Hence I began to apply the techniques much more overwhelming and dynamically. Almost every single session in this style was better than the foregoing and after a very short period of time a certain style emerged. But a structure was lacking. A lot of members of the Shibari community in Vienna asked me to give a workshop on this new style and so I had to think about this new style theoretically how to bring it to the people.

The Osada-ryu does not desribe Ranboo directly but it offers a framework within which everything I needed was already written down. All of the key terms of Ranboo were desrcibed perfectly by this school and this is nececerry because without a theoretical framework , Ranboo just depraved to uncontrolled brutallity and that’s exactly the opposite of what it stands for and what I want to practice.

Ranboo is a game with the astonishment of your partner. It is not to apply certain patterns but to apply any patterns in an empathically and consciously way. The patterns of the Osada-ryu are also perfectly made for this purpose because they are safe and allows one to tie very fluently. From this point of view, the Osada-ryu also provides the perfect framework.. For a good Ranboo session it’s much more crucial how to shape the session dynamically. It was exactly this question that contains the key term of Ranboo: dynamics. Dynamic is often misunderstood as speed, but its the spatial and temporal game with distance (ma-ai), with constantly changing the speed (Kankyuu) and last but not least with hard and soft phases of the session. In such a session I can treat my partner like an enemy and in the next second this enemy can be the love of my life. The crucial point is that your partner is not able to foresee what’s coming next and this is probably the most difficult thing in Ranboo: to know what to do without showing it, to take care of your partner’s safety without breaking the flow and to step back as an individual. Without controlling yourself you cannot controll the session and even one single situation. Ranboo sometimes looks like wild rage but it’s empathy and devotion.

AND: ranboo will never be complete. It’s still developing as I am.

Details of an Interview

A rope-interview with Addie. Pics by Tom Hofmann