In Conversation With…Anna Noctuelle, Shibari Specialist

Anna Noctuelle discovered Shibari – the Art of Japanese Rope Bondage – over a decade ago and has worked with this art form as a model, performer and teacher.

Anna has collaborated with riggers and artists from all over the world for workshops, photoshoots and performances. With her background in classical ballet and as a yoga practitioner, Anna has exceptional body awareness skills in ropes and suspension. This, and her interest in Buddhism and spiritual development, influences her aesthetic and philosophical approach to Shibari. We caught up with Anna to chat all things Shibari. 

What is Shibari?

Shibari is the Art of Japanese Rope Bondage. It has its roots in Hojojutsu – a martial art performed by the Samurai to capture, torture and restrain prisoners – Kabuki theatre, Shunga and other art forms. The lines between erotic play and performance art have always been blurred with Shibari.

How did you get into Shibari?

I discovered Shibari over a decade ago through my then partner who discovered and learned it in Japan. I’ve learned, modelled and performed with riggers across Europe in workshops, festivals and retreats. I also tie privately. 

I came to it from a BDSM and ballet background, but people come to it from many different backgrounds. It is very versatile and can take on different forms that suit different people and tastes.

How long does it take to be a master in Shibari?

A lifetime and more. You never stop learning and discovering the many different layers it has technically, but more importantly emotionally. However, once you understand the basic building blocks you can progress pretty fast, always depending on the amount of time you dedicate to it of course. With some teaching approaches, you can learn to suspend someone safely within a year.

What is the best thing about Shibari?

Shibari is many things for many people. What attracts someone to it is very personal, varied and changes throughout time. It’s a practice that stays with you and that deserves exploring. It can teach you life, vision and maybe even wisdom.

What’s the difference between Shibari and normal rope bondage?

There are many differences. However, the main difference is that Shibari is not a means to an end. It’s not about restricting someone to do something else to them. The process of tying is the journey in and of itself. From the first moment you take the ropes into your hands, to the last moment when the rope leaves the body of the person being tied is the journey people take together. What they discover on that journey can be truly magical.

Our thanks to Anna for talking to us! Make sure you head to her website, www.anna-noctuelle.com, to learn more.

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