Tuesday, June 23, 2009


I like to be restrained … I love the slither of rope snaking around my wrists, the close embrace of coils of soft cotton squeezing me tight and the fluttering anticipation of muscles bunching and pulling against the tenseness of controlled want. I like feeling exposed and open, to have choice removed and desire invoked. I love the feeling deep inside my soul when the restraint of my body resonates through my mind and heart and then slips into my soul to free it to fly.

Thus, when Finbar asked me to partner him in a workshop on bondage for Midori (who apparently is world-renowned – go figure) I was amenable.

He has been to several workshops on various subjects from flogging to ropework and beyond. In fact, not long ago he attended another instructor's workshop on flogging (see Flogging ). Midroi herself is currently on a spring turning into summer circuit as she is based out of San Francisco but travels all over to impart her own particular type of wisdom, technique and mindset.

Entering the venue at Come as You Are with no expectations, I was confronted with a very crowded small room chockfull of couples (there was a few prerequisites – one being to BYOR – Bring Your Own Rope AND the other - BYOB – Bring Your Own Bottom), all of whom were ready, willing and eager to learn the art of rope bondage.

I’m probably committing some form of BDSM karmic wrong by admitting right now that I was neither impressed nor enamoured of the workshop that followed. While there were positive elements I took from it – thus no regrets for attending – both Finbar and I left feeling vaguely dissatisfied. Ultimately, of course, it is a personal preference – for us a local instructor, Carey, and her straightforward, practical teaching methods are far more palatable and preferable to the clever technique and showman qualities of Midori.

After introductions and a synopsis of her qualifications, the very lovely Midori created a scene for the edification of her audience … using ropes of course and setting the mood. The “scene” as it were, probably took the better part of 45 minutes as she used rope in a rather masterful way, combining restrained dominance and forceful but carefully planned movements to orchestrate (in the truest sense of the word) the subjection and domming of her volunteer assistant.

And I found the whole thing both yawningly boring and if I’m honest, unpalatable. The contrived writhing and simulated moans of passion of the “assistant” were distinctly vulgar inasmuch as it was about as convincing as a counterfeit bill. Admittedly, Finbar and I seemed to be in the minority and the other workshop participants seemed quite enamoured of the spectacle. But it made me uncomfortable enough that I seriously contemplated leaving at that point. Although not a prude by any means, this type of prurient “come on” and acting is distasteful at best, insulting at worst. Were we seriously supposed to believe that this girl was coming right there in front of us? At a WORKSHOP?

My other bitch of course is that practical selkie wanted some hands-on instruction. Midori`s teaching methodology has a very strong element of performance art – without doubt, decent performance art but without a practical nuance. Had I wished to indulge the voyeur in me (which apparently does not take up a whole lot of my inner desires), I would have sought a different venue. What I signed up for, however (or what Finbar signed us both up for) was some straightforward advice and guidance on the possibilities of rope.

Thankfully, the balance of the 2.5 hour class (perhaps 45 minutes) did indeed involve knots and ties and in that sense, the evening was not a complete waste of time.

I did take away some salient information from my evening, including some excellent bondage techniques. Most revelatory, however, was Midori’s instruction on using the ropes not simply as a means to an end but as a sensual tool in itself. Certainly I was smitten with the way she used rope to form gags, blindfolds and more pertinent, how to use them as a sensuous tool of seduction and mastery in the process of bondage.

The scene in essence is the creation of the bondage – not the end result of being tied up.

Fancy knots and complicated binding can provide a visual feast to the eyes of the beholder.. but to the Bottom half of the equation (speaking from experience), extended time taken to form complicated knots and visual feints of hand create a suffocating sense of boredom simply due to the reality of the AMOUNT of time and effort needed to create a masterpiece of visual acuity.

In the doing, my own flesh is almost superfluous; certainly the Dom is not that focused on soft breasts and smooth thighs but rather on how the rope lies across the jut of hip and embraces the rib cage and whether that knot will hold or whether the visual of the entirety will be satisfactory.

Midori uses a simple knot – and I did find her reference to it as `THAT knot`- endearing, good serviceable cotton rope and imagination to create in the tying a sensual feast and in so doing, she points out that the focus remains on the moment and the sensations and experiences actually being imparted right then.

She rightly points out that overthinking a scene, getting caught up in the mechanics and forgetting the focus can ultimately destroy not just the mood of the moment, but the dynamic between Top and Bottom – leaving both frustrated and dissatisfied.

Thus, she counsels practice, practice, practice, simple knots, decent rope (of shorter lengths rather than longer) and using movement, surprise and skill carefully yet spontaneously and ALWAYS with what she labels GUSTO

All in all, I’ve spent worse evenings. There is no denying Midori is charming and extremely knowledgeable – certainly her books are a must have in any BDSM reference library – but given my own practical bent (and Finbar’s), we would have preferred less flash and more substance.


Liras said...

I wanted to make a joke such as "wrap it up, I'll take it" but I can't. your description left me unsatisfied and frowning a bit.

Maybe your personal play with ropes will be fulfilling.

jholliday said...

My husband and I were lucky enough to participate in a Midori workshop a couple of years ago. We found out about it on http://www.muah.com I found her to be rather intimidating; you are spot on with her command of showmanship and she is very good at what she does. I actually appreciated her impatience with what I also find annoying in my local crowd of BDSMers-there are a number that enjoy being at the center of attention by making jokes or little comments and they tend to almost compete with one another to see who can get the most attention, therefore completely taking away from the workshop. She quashed it early on and got down to the business of the information at hand.

When she did a demonstration, she seemingly chose someone randomly out of the crowd, and it definitely was a local, not someone she brought along with her. The scene was very masterfully done, and I could tell it wasn't orchestrated as it seemed once to not go to plan and at one point, the "assistant" asked for the ropes to be loosened. He didn't make much noise or what not, but when the scene was over and he was returned to his Domme, he was rather flushed and obviously enjoyed himself.

The workshop was marketed as beginner and therefore didn't get too involved; she definitely demonstrated THAT KNOT. I would have probably bored you, but for my husband and I, it matched our needs.

I'm sorry the workshop was unsatisfactory for you but I actually thought she rather lived up to the hype.

Buffalo said...

Who, what, when, where, why.

While I have absolutely no interest in the subject of bondage this was a great read. I enjoyed seeing your journalistic background, aided and abetted by your unique style, come into play.

selkie said...

Liras, as I said, I don't regret it; we did get some good salient information (and sighs, been a VERY long time since I'v exprienced any rope play).

Jhalliday- thanks for the commnt - I think it is a good thing to get anothr prspective. I think the issue isn't that Midori doesn't put on a good workshop, but the type of workshop is the issue. She is an excellent showman- and her "assistant" was indeed local - I just didn't care for the histronics.

I think actually Midori's style is excellent for those new to the art - but as I said, as a hard headed realist, I just thought there would be more hands on and less demonstration.

Buff- thanks! Been a VERY long time since I was a member of the Fifth Estate - I am thrilled I haven't lost it completely!

Gillette said...

I don't know about bondage workshops, but I've attended and assisted at countless Tantra workshops and, indeed, assistants do, in fact orgasm untouched. In fact, I could see that just being watched the heighten the excitement of an exhibitionist, yes?

For instance at one workshop, there were seven of us assisting. The leader was doing a lecture that involved talking about streaming energy. She is an evocative speaker. We had been trained so much that we all started undulating at the same time in what must have been a Pavlovian response. It was really odd, totally unplanned. I first noticed surprise on the others faces then we all laughed hysterically when we figured out what had happened.

So yeah...mere suggestion can cause orgasms once the energy starts flowing that way.

Aaaaaah...for the good old days. Sighs....prolly wouldn't happen for me today ;)

selkie said...

Gillette - I agreen that it is possible for certain individuals to orgasm (especially as you say, exhibitionists) - the whole 'scene' just struck me as contrived and hollow - the "passion" was, to my mind, forced and patantly not valid - just my take.

i.e. yes, I admit it COULD happen, in this case I don't think it DID (and either way, i saw no need for that in a workshop where I wanted practical advice LOL).

clnt2009 said...

Liras!!dont make joke here...whatever nice post!

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vanimp said...

Lol @ Liras comment, I too was trying to think of something witty but to be honest workshops are one of those things that you go along wanting to learn. Normally you pay money to come out satisfied it was well spent.

Yet go along to one with a big name sometimes the actual reality of the workshop is more focused on the person that what is wanting to be learnt by the attendees. Glad you got something out of it though.

As for the moaning from the bottom ... lol I normally swear and joke and giggle.

swan said...

We've encountered Midori at numerous workshops (even sat at dinner with her and Dossi Easton one evening), and always come away feeling the sort of boredom and dissatisfaction that you point to. It is clear that when you engage with Midori, it is going to ALl be about Midori. If that is your cup of tea, then good for you, but she is on our permanent "not interested" list.


selkie said...

swan- how REFRESHING to hear we weren't the ONLY ones that weren't impressed .. and you called it EXACTLY!

imp - the moaning and carry on was over the TOP to say the least LOL (I tend to swear under my breath LOL)

Liras said...

S, you know my true nature is sarcastic smart-ass but I do wish you got more out of your workshop.

I think it takes a lot of courage and patience to attend one of them, to listen, be with other people in something so intimate.

It is sad that so many of these events are more style than substance. I am sure you seek the authentic, not the artifice (hey that is my next post-to-be).

But hopefully, you are enjoying what you did pick up.
VnImp, no laughing!