Community Class Nº 1: Reserve your place!

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At Anatomie Studio we strive to bring you the best shibari classes with the very best shibari teachers we know, and although the workshops can be pricey, we think they’re well worth the investment, especially considering rope can be a high risk activity!

However, not everyone is able to afford our classes, and being committed to the dissemination of rope education as we are in the studio, we wanted to offer everyone the possibility to learn within their budgets in the new year.

For this reason, in 2017 we are introducing semi-regular ‘Pay-What-You-Can’ community shibari classes by our in-house teachers. The classes will follow an informal structure, providing a mix of tutoring and peer lab time.

Who can attend? These classes are primarily aimed at: students, those working minimum wage jobs, those who are unemployed or between jobs, those on low income wages, and those who are otherwise unable to afford our regular classes, workshops and courses.

Our first community class is happening this coming Wednesday February 8th 7:30-10:30pm and will be led by MnR and JessicaWabbitt.

More information over here.

To participate reserve your spot here (for free) and pay on the day in cash at the end of the class. We suggest a minimum donation of £10 per person, please give what feels right within your budget.

Thursday rope jam wrist bands :)

Last night we introduced our new Thursday Rope Jam wrist bands! On Thursdays our ‘House Cats’ wear red to indicate they are helpers in the studio (ask them anything from ‘where is the toilet paper’ to ‘what is shibari’), and yellow bracelets are for those who wish to indicate they’d like to be approached about doing rope! You still have to figure out on what end of the rope you’d like to be in 🙂

We are hoping this will make socialising a little easier for those who feel a bit shy or coming on their own ❤

Did you enjoy this system yesterday? Let us know your thoughts 🙂

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More than a body : rope bottoming matters!

“What is a rope bottom?” is one of the most frequently typed in search terms on our website, so what does it mean? A ‘rope bottom’ or ‘rope model’ or sometimes ‘rope bunny’ refer to the person inside the ropes – and ‘rigger’ or ‘rope top’ refers to the person doing the tying.

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Unless you are tying a piece of furniture, rope bottoming makes up 50% of the rope equation and is a skill than can be cultivated in its own right. Luckily in the last few years there has been a real and tangible shift in rope events, classes and workshops to recognise this and there is a lot more information being delivered to rope bottoms directly in classes. There has also been an explosion of workshops, talks and events specifically for rope bottoming and it is becoming more and more common to see pre-requisites listed for rope bottoms to attend classes.

This is really exciting for us because Anatomie Studio was created by a rope bottom (Anna ‘Bones’) so we are really committed to delivering information about rope bottoming as much as about tying and rigging. As a tying duo, Fred and Anna are very aware that rope is a constant back and forth between rigger and model – the rigger’s rope brings out the strength in the model, and the model brings out the strength in the rigger.

“How can I learn about rope bottoming?”

A really good place to start learning is by reading about it. If you have joined us on a Thursday Rope Jam you will know there are two readings we always recommend: Clover’s Rope Bottming Guide (free PDF), and The Little Guide to Getting Tied Up by Evie Vane (£7.99 on Amazon). Clover‘s guide was the first ever document written specifically for rope bottoms, and for a long time it was the only document available. Clover has updated the guide this year and it is available in multiple languages.

Both these documents have plenty of important information about safety, body awareness, choosing partners, negotiating rope experiences and more. Although the readings are geared towards rope bottoming, we highly recommend these readings to those who are primarily interested in tying as well.

We also distribute free flyers with an anatomical diagram of nerves to consider in rope produced by Place des Cordes in Paris. It is really important and useful to get to know your anatomy, in particular, by locating the radial and ulnar nerves in the upper arms (by palpating and poking – you’ll know when you’ve hit a nerve!) since these are commonly affected when doing rope.

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Our Thursday rope jams are also a great place to start because we always cover aspects about rope bottoming (the classes are in fact almost exclusively taught by rope bottoms who tie!).

“What is there to actually learn?”

It depends! It’s just like tying, some people just want to learn some basics so they can have a bit of safe fun, others want to go all in and attend all the workshops to become as proficient as they can at it. If you’re after a bit of bedroom fun, then it’s probably not super important to learn about body management in suspension, but it’s a very good idea to learn about anatomy, the different kinds of pins and needles you can get, wrap tensioning and placement, and how to use safety shears.

A lot of the rope bottoms who do rope either professionally or as part of a serious hobby tend to enjoy and benefit from activities such as yoga, aerial yoga and/or pilates. When in ropes, many times the body is being passively stretched into challenging poses, so it’s a good idea to do activities outside of rope which strengthen the body’s muscles in order to protect fragile joints during these poses.

An experienced rope bottom will also have really good body awareness and body management skills, meaning they know how to move inside the ropes and how to play with the balance in the tie from within the ropes. This requires a degree of core strength (not necessarily loads of flexibility, although that helps too), and an understanding of one’s own body and how it reacts inside the ropes. This comes with lots of practice, which is why some of the best rope bottoms have a few years of experience.

Rope bottoming also requires a good degree of pain processing abilities, because.. rope can be painful! It’s especially useful to learn to distinguish ‘good pain’ versus ‘bad pain’, meaning the kinds of pains that are not harmful (for example the kinds of pain you get after a vigorous workout), and the kinds of pains that are actually harmful (for example any kind of sharp joint pain). Sometimes this takes time to learn, so it will involve lots of trial and error until eventually your brain is able to recognise when it’s okay to push through a sensation and when it’s time to tap out.

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… Which bring us to one last but super important skill: communication! Perhaps this is the most important part of rope bottoming: learning how to effectively communicate from inside the ropes. The more specific you can be, the better, this also comes with experience – for example, what kinds of pins and needles you are feeling, if there are sensations you are not enjoying, if a rope placement needs to be reviewed, etc. Communication can also be non-verbal, and this can be established beforehand. It’s also a good idea to learn how to negotiate before doing rope with someone such asking the rigger questions as well as knowing what kinds of important information to disclose. These can include: any kind of physical issues you may have (for example, you sprained your ankle and it is still fragile), any medication you may be on, the kinds of sensations you feel like/don’t feel like, or body parts you are not okay having rope on. These things can change over time or even day to day, so the conversation is always ongoing.

It’s important to acknowledge that communicating effectively can be difficult, some rope bottoms ‘space out’ and become non-verbal or forget to maintain body awareness, other rope bottoms find it difficult to express their needs or communicate unpleasant sensations out of not wanting to cause offence of because they don’t want the ropes to come off just yet. This is totally okay, the important thing is to acknowledge this and try to have a conversation about this beforehand.

“What about the person tying me?”

Just as it is difficult to learn to tie without partners, it is also difficult to learn rope bottoming without partners! After all, riggers are 50% of the equation… 🙂

The resources we mentioned above – Clover’s Rope Bottming Guide and The Little Guide to Getting Tied Up by Evie Vane – contain sections on how to meet and vet potential rope partners. In the studio we believe the safest and most fun way to learn and meet people to do rope with is by going to events and making friends (see our writing on “How to Learn Rope?”). There are lots of different rope styles and different people enjoy different techniques and sensations, so it’s really useful (and also loads of fun) to watch people tying and making friends in the community. The good thing about events like peer rope events and rope jams is that there’s lots of people around, so there’s always someone you can ask for advice or help.

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One really important factor when observing people is to notice how the person tying is interacting with their rope model – are they attentive? are they moving ropes when asked? are they untying when asked? etc. More than the rope skills themselves, this is the most important thing about rope: recognising that it is about people and that it is a partnership!

“What are these rope bottom pre-requisites for workshops?”

There are no pre-requisites for either rope bottoms or riggers for any of the beginner jams beginner jams or classes as we assume zero knowledge and provide lots of information for both. For more intermediate or advanced classes we at the very least require rope bottoms to be familiar with the differences between nerve and circulation impingement and to be able to communicate effectively.

Besides recognising rope bottoming as a skill, the pre-requisites are there for the safety of all the workshop attendees. Workshops can be intense for both riggers and models, and very physically demanding – this is especially true of suspension focused workshops.

Example of pre-requisites for a non-beginner class:

        • Riggers: must know solid three rope Takate Kote taught to you in a class, workshop, or private tuition.

        • Rope Bottoms/Models: must be comfortable in a Takate Kote (2 or 3 rope), they must be familiar with the differences between nerve and circulation impingement and be able to communicate effectively.

Inexperienced models who do not know their bodies well are less likely to communicate when something is hurting or tingling, but riggers rely heavily on model feedback in these workshop environments because often they must focus on a particular rope technique which they are learning, all the while listening to the teacher’s instruction and being mindful of others around them. This is the perfect storm for small nerve injuries and in the couple of instances where we have seen this happen, the rope models were not able to recognise nerve and circulation impingements and therefore did not communicate what they were feeling.

“Does this mean I have to be super fit and bendy to do this?”

Nope! Rope is not one size fits all, it’s a very diverse activity enjoyed by grown-ups of all ages, all physical compositions, backgrounds, genders and sexes.

Just like any physical activity, it’s about finding the kind of rope you enjoy doing and finding the kinds of rope partners who want to do that with you. Different people have different bodies, different degrees of flexibility and different pain thresholds, and the beauty is in this diversity.

It is also worth noting that although most of the shibari rope imagery online typically depicts petite young bendy girls tied by males, this is not the reality of what you will see when you go to local rope events – there are lots of male identified persons who enjoy being in the ropes, and lots of female identified persons who enjoy tying, and if you’re not into binaries, there is a lot of gender queerness in the rope scene as well. In sum, the rope bottoming world (and the rope world in general) is a lot more diverse that you may think by just googling ‘shibari’ on your browser!


For questions and more information, email us at anatomie.studio@gmail.com

How to learn rope?

A lot of people ask us how to learn rope and how to progress in rope once they’ve picked up some of the basics, so we thought we’d write a post about it!

The truth is that rope can get quite addictive! In the studio we notice that rope tends to attract a lot of ‘brainy’ people full of intellectual curiosity and technical minds, so it’s not unusual for people to want to keep accumulating knowledge.

This is true whatever your intention and inclination is in rope. For some, shibari is very much an extension of their kink and sexuality and a tool to enhance intimacy and connection, for others it’s more about the ‘pretty patterns’ and the artistry, the aesthetics of the bodies bound in rope, and for others still it’s the circus-like acrobatics that appeal. In fact, this reflects the variety of backgrounds of our attendees at Anatomie – from academics, to actors to circus artists.

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Anna playing with self-suspension

Our mission is to facilitate rope education and knowledge in an environment that is inclusive, safe and positive, so we welcome and embrace all of the facets of rope and what it means to different people. Whatever your interest, at its core, rope is something that brings people together and it’s about partnership, trust, communication, friendships, love and connection.

So, how do you learn rope? And how do you get good at it?

If you live in London, you’ve very lucky as there is a thriving rope community with events for all budgets and levels of commitment. A good way to dip your toes in the water and discover rope is by attending practice events – not only do you learn things, but you also get to make friends in the community. At Anatomie we have two practice events per week and they cost a mere £7 per person, and one all day event one Saturday per month (£12).

Our Tuesday Rope Jam is open to all levels and is for open practice. This is a great evening to see what rope is all about, you can chat and make friends with our regulars in the upstairs mezzanine (tea and coffee are free), or sit in our giant bean bags in the gallery, read some books from our library corner, and watch over what people are doing in rope. You’ll be able to see anything from fancy suspensions to playful floor work – and even people treating their jute rope and geeking about it! There is usually always some level of peer to peer teaching so you can just join in and pick up some basics.

Since rope is really about people and making connections, this is a really relaxed and easy way to make friends and be part of the local community.

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Fred tying Sophia during a Tuesday Rope Jam

Our Thursday Rope Jams are perfect for absolute beginners as we do a full introduction to the space, its etiquette, and we teach a 1,5 hour total beginner taster class. Things you will learn on Thursdays include specific ties and patterns, how to control and properly tension rope, how to tie with intention, specific hand movements useful for rope, details about frictions and knots, aspects of the history and context of shibari. We try to change it up so every Thursday will be a bit different with different teachers and material. Most of the emphasis on our Thursday classes is to open your mind to what rope can be all about (‘it’s not about what you do but how you do it’ is something you will hear us say over and over!).

We emphasise that shibari is a partnership activity, it’s about much more than making pretty patterns on people, it’s about telling a story, it’s to make the rope speak and be meaningful, to do it with intention and make it feel good.

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Practice and learning at a Thursday Rope Jam

A lot of people turn up on their own on Thursdays, and a lot of first timers to the studio come on Thursdays so there is a lot of opportunities to both tie and get tied, and most importantly make friends!

If you come to enough Tuesday and Thursday evening jams, you might feel you want to learn more and progress further in your rope journey. In this case, we recommend attending classes and workshops. Start with classes that are geared towards beginners, and here you will learn in a structure way all the basic and classic patterns, ties, knots and frictions. We have a full day beginners class every month on a Sunday and you are welcome to book as a couple (or pair/duo), or as a solo attendee (you’ll pair up with one of the other solo attendees and switch during the class).

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Monthly ‘Intro to Shibari’ Class with Gestalta

Rope is all about muscle memory though so if you don’t practice, you’re likely to forget it all! So in this case you might enjoy taking advantage of our Tuesday and Thursday rope jams as a place to practice what you’ve learned. This is especially valuable because you’ll have a lot of people around you who can give you tips if you forget some aspects of what you’ve learned (including the teachers who are almost always at the jams) and you can always ask others around you to show you more things to build on what you’re learned.

If you’re still thirsty for knowledge after that, well, keep going to classes and workshops and most importantly, practicing! There is literally an infinite amount to learn about shibari, not just on the technical aspects, but the more psychological, philosophical and even historical aspects of the practice. Sometimes when we can we will have a Japanese presenter over and they will be able to add information about the more abstract details of the practice of shibari, such as interesting aspects about aesthetics, linguistic nuances and other more complex concepts related to the interaction between rigger and partner, and cultural differences between East and West that come into play in rope scenes. Other times we will have European presenters who are innovating and breaking away from tradition in some very exciting ways.

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Kasumi Hourai tying Aizen during a ‘Shibari By Night’ performance
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NoShibari Tying Kuss during a Soap Box performance night

Whatever your goal or interest, there is plenty of scope for learning and making this practice something of your own, and most importantly, plenty of scope to be part of a community and make connections with amazing people.

Interested?

Join us next time and get started!

Have questions? Message us.

Want to buy a good Japanese shibari tutorial book? Get this one!


Aside from Anatomie Studio, in London you also have Peer Rope London (the original rope meet and the oldest running rope event in London), which runs once per month on a Sunday at the Resistance Gallery, Hackney. You also have Hitchin’ Bitches, which is the female rope group (open to anyone identifying as female and to male rope bottoms). They meet once per month on a Saturday at the Flying Dutchman, Camberwell.

 

The Cat Lounge : meet our new female-positive social!

Say hello to our new monthly(-ish) female-positive social event for making friends over food, drinks and games!

Cat Lounge

Our studio is committed to offering a female-positive and body-positive space at all our events, and those of you who have joined us know that the vibes are always friendly, warm and safe, whether you are joining us for rope, yoga, or a performance evening.

But we understand that it can be a bit daunting to come along on your own, especially if you’re shy, unsure or maybe new to the city. So, after speaking to some of our members, we have decided to open the studio for a female-focused social every month (…-ish)!

We’re calling it ‘The Cat Lounge’ – obviously! – and this is a great place to start to make friends, get to know the space, and just chill out in our cosy pillow-filled space. This event is a social, so basically we’re going to hang out, make friends, be silly, play games, watch movies, talk about stuff. Whatever feels right really.

Event listing: https://www.facebook.com/events/993780970688361/.

If you are into one or more of the following….

* Making friends
* Eating food
* Bubbly
* Cats
* Girls night in
* Watching movies
* Hanging out in pajamas and/or onesies
* Playing games (like Twister, Cards Against Humanity or Wareworlf Daybreak)
* Hanging out with nice friendly people
* Good vibes

… Then come on over to the Cat Lounge!


If you’d like to join us, reserve your free spot here.

PS: Do you identify as a male? Please message us if you’d like to attend! 🙂