Review by Master "K"

Simply by virtue of its being the first "how to" kinbaku book in English by a major Japanese bakushi, Arisue Go's excellent "Arisue Go's Kinbaku - Mind and Techniques" becomes a "must have" addition to the library of any serious Western rope practitioner. Long recognized as one of the most prolific Japanese rope masters, Arisue has done the shibari for numerous mainstream and adult films, books and magazines and he brings his countless hours of experience to this modestly sized but extremely useful volume.

 

The book consists of an introductory mini biography of Arisue Go which is then followed by a short piece describing his philosophy of kinbaku. The rest of the book is then taken up with practical advice, including chapters on: making your own kinbaku rope, properly coiling rope, safety considerations, how to create the famous Gote upper body tie (suitable for use doing suspensions), the Utsubase zuri (face down suspension), the Yoko zuri (sideways suspension) and the Aomuke zuri (face up suspension) which is then turned into a Sakasa zuri (head down) variation. Each of these chapters is profusely illustrated with clear, small, Black and White photographs that detail every turn of the rope and necessary technique. Also included at the beginning and end of the book are 2 modest but nicely photographed galleries of kinbaku stills in color and Black and White.

As a kinbaku teacher myself, I appreciated Arisue Go's thoughtful concern for safety as well as his detailed step by step approach to presenting these classic ties in his distinctive manner. Although much of this work concerns itself with the popular topic of suspensions, Arisue wisely states that, "beginners must be careful of the model's physical limitations and mental condition and I highly recommend taking tuition from an experienced practitioner to learn suspension techniques." I also applaud his sentiment that while it's good to evolve "one's own style" in studying kinbaku it's most important to learn the classical forms first, "because you can go back to the 'form' whenever you run into a brick wall."

The English text, picture captions and teaching descriptions are generally quite clear, though the book could have benefited from an editorial pass by a native English speaker to eliminate some of the more tortured vocabulary and sentence structures. However, these are in no way a serious impediment to understanding or enjoyment. Of greater concern is Arisue's almost exclusive concentration on suspension techniques at the expense of the numerous decorative, predicament and floor ties that are the more major part of the kinbaku repertoire. However, this was no doubt due to commercial considerations and also Arisue's laudable insistence on showing these 3 potentially risky suspension constructions in complete detail. One hopes this first book will be successful and pave the way for even more English language "how to" publications from this famous and articulate bakushi.

In addition to his other activities, Arisue Go is also the author of 3 comprehensive Japanese language tutorial books published by Sanwa which, along with the works of his colleague Randa Mai, comprise some of the best practical teaching advice ever offered in book form on "how to do kinbaku."  All are required reading for anyone interested in this provocative, erotic and elegant art.



Grabado: 2009-12-17 20:14:05

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