by Nawahsi Tatu

January 1998

(Revised Nov 1999)


There are basically two different schools of bondage. They are typically known as the Western School and the Eastern School.

1. Western Bondage

The earliest known reference to bondage that I have been able to find in western culture is contained in the pre-Medieval German saga "Brunhilde". In the story a young girl, Brunhilde, wanting her newlywed partner, King Gunther, to prove his love and trust to her, ties him down in the bed on the wedding night and makes love to him .

I'm told the latest research indicates that up to 30% of American couples have done bondage as part of their intimate activities.

Western Bondage was popularized in this century by the Detective Magazines and the the old cult movies. (Let's not forget Betty Page, the lady who is probably most responsible for liberating the sexual minds of many westerners).

The focus in western bondage is for the sake of doing something to the captive as opposed to oriental where the emphasis is on the bondage experience itself.

Western, features bondage using softer ropes {*mmmmph....gags}. Struggling, sensual moans, etc. are the key elements in the mutual pleasure of all participants.

The words captor and victim are often used rather that Dominant, Master, submissive or slave. Ladies (or men) who fantasize {emphasis on fantasy... this is a consensual activity} being overpowered, forced etc.... love this style of bondage.

It may be used to help the captive cross a barrier such as being introduced to anal sex or being shaved. Or it may help the submissive feel safe enough to find the serenity of her subspace.

Rope Bondage Play among consenting adults is gaining popularity in the west, I believe largely due to the combination of our culturally ingrained sexual repression with our societies' mixed signals on sex, where often pleasure is seen as sinful, or slutty.

This is the same mentality that has made romance novels the #1 sellers in this country. Visions of a powerful man swooping a woman off her feet and overpowering her in evil/romantic sort of way.

"mmmmm"Stop... Don't, Stop... Don't mmmmmm... Don't Stop"

Therefore some women often see it pleasurable to be "consensually forced into pleasure via bondage" to help them overcome their puritanical ingrained inhibitions.

"That mean man did it to me, he forced me {to feel this pleasure}".

Then on the other hand, many women just like being tied up. They enjoy the sensuality of the ropes.

2. Eastern, Japanese or Oriental Bondage

Eastern rope bondage as a sensual artform, really is not that old. Many labor under the illusion that it goes back for centuries, but in reality is only a couple of decades old.

Hojojutsu on the other hand was the art of using a rope to capture, restrain and transport suspects and criminals in Japan during the Middle Ages and Early Modern periods; practiced by Torimono, but there was nothing sensuous about it. Indeed it was not only a form of restraint but also used as a cruel torture technique.

Because bondage was considered a shameful practice, the legal captor used no knots thus out of respect allowed the person arrested no shame. There were four rules of hojojutsu:

1. Not to allow the prisoner to slip his bonds.

2. Not to cause any physical or mental injury.

3. Not to allow others to see the techniques.

4. To make the result beautiful to look at.

Japanese and Torture

Torture was used both by officials of the Tokugawa Shogunate and by individual citizens during the Edo Period (1603-1867).

The first two practices was "flogging" and the other called "pressing" which was sort of crawling on a corrogated material on bended knees while holding heavy stones on the back.

The last two techiques of torture involved rope.

If the first two failed to get the required confession, prisoner woudl be tied in what was called "the Prawn" position. This was to tie the person with legs crossed in front, hands tied behind back, and the person was tied bent over forward with head tied to legs. After a few hours in this position the persons whole body baked with fiery pain.The prisoners body would change colors first red, then purple, then violet, then pale blue. When the pale blue was reached the torture ended, after all they did not want to kill him or her, just get the confession they wanted. The technique might be repeated for a number of continuous days.

The fourth and final form of torture was a backwards "suspension". The prisoner would be ties and wrists and ankles and with arms pulled behind the back, suspended face down. Heavy stones would be added to make it more painful.

The Evolution of a Sensual Artform:

In time an artform evolved that took the idea of:

(1) Rendering of the captive powerless and helpless was combined with other very oriental concepts.

(2) The aesthetic aspect. Most are well aware of the significance that beauty has in oriental cultures. As in the presentation of the flower the submissive is presented as beautiful art.

(3) Add to those the idea of erotic massage. Some claim to incorporate the orientals healing system using pressure points, thus the practices of acupressure and acupuncture. Using ropes and knots to massage those pressure points is the third facet. What I have learned from my contacts in Japan is that this is myth.

There is a fourth facet to this diamond we know as Oriental Bondage.

(4) Time. Stillness, beauty, erotic massage and time, as the oriental perceives it... and you have the modern oriental bondage as we know it. Oriental bondage takes time and patience. (like growing of bonsai). The submissive experiences the inner soul, the beauty as she relaxes and focuses on her inner pleasure in the experience.

Eastern Bondage features tighter bondage, uses rough ropes like rice or hemp. Struggle is not desired, but total stillness. Emphasis is on the mind. Notice the serene look on the faces of Japanese bondage models. There is an introspection, a soul stillness if you will. The emphasis is on beauty and art, it is a decorative sensual art.

Within Oriental Bondage there are at least two different practices:

A. The traditional Sado-masochistic approach which was handed down from the torturous practices of the Edo period is a harsh form and emphasizes pain, suffering, humiliation and the bondage itself is the basic goal .Pleasure or erotic stimulation is a byproduct of this basic goal. No one has to tell you that the orientals historically have been masters at the art of cruel torture techniques. Remember "Chinese Water Torture?" drip drip drip.... until one is driven mad. Often accompanying this type of bondage are techniques like nose torture, tit torture, hair bondage, candle waxing, and the use of clamps.

B. A second and yet modern practice has as its main goal sensuous or erotic stimulation. The Oriental or Japanese have always been an odd confusing mixture of the ugly, torturous and the beautiful and artistic. With this sensuous form the key for the submissive to use her mind to achieve pleasure. By binding her thus forcing stillness and stimulating her body specifically the shiatu pressure points over long periods of time, the mind is stimulated to unimaginatble places. To the westerner this may sound hoaky, but by forcing your captive time in bondage her mind begins to meditatively travel into the deep recesses of her inner self. The goal of this journey is the release of the body's pleasure sensors, natural endorphins if you will, the goal being to achieve a natural orgasmic high. The Japanese call this "Ky or Ki or Chi", which is simply concentrating mental and physical energy on one area of the body. The use of floggers, canes, any corporal implements etc would be considered an interruption to the goal of this form of bondage.

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