Top critical review
Not as good as it appears at first glance
on 6 September 2012
Shibari ( rope tying, rope bondage, rope suspension) is very fashionable and widely practiced in the Uk now, and it is so very important to have a good instruction book that 'shows you the ropes'. I bought this along with many friends as a way to rapidly increase my knowledge and add some extra ties to my existing repertoire. I should add I do this quite often, and I've also done a course with 'Esinem', one of the UK's well known teachers and an admired Shibari / Kinbaku guru, so I do know something about the subject.
The 'Land' book is OK. Its overly complex in listing various 'friction ties', and the illustrations are not especially clear, nor are the photographs particularly easy to 'read' in following exactly where each rope goes next. Its also not pure Shibari.. it uses 'western' ideas ( 'equalising tensions' looping the 'long end' through the 'bight' of the doubled rope)as well as traditional Japanese forms, and simply says this is 'non-traditional', which I think is somewhat missing the point. Shibari is a specific style, and this is mixed. Some of the safety issues are well described, and everyone should take note of them, but some are overly pseudo-medical.. he has a great long medical term for 'fainting', for example. It could be much simpler.
However, setting aside all these points, I use it as a quick form of reference and there are enough good ideas to be able to quickly recap on, which make it useful to keep in my rope bag. Just use it with a good pinch of common sense, and if in doubt, seek other help.. there are plenty of 'Peer Rope' clubs around where you can get sensible tuition and practice.
If you are also buying the second book, 'Sky', then please ignore all the tripe about pulleys and weight distribution.. half of this is completely wrong, and to my mind its a pointless section which does little to foster confidence that the rest on rope is both sensible and safe.