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In reality, I teach all these three themes on three different experience levels. In Japanese, there is an expression called shuhari. It means to obey (shu), to question (ha), and to leave (ri). And it reflects my views on having a ‘good’ teacher-student relationship.
To obey is the peaceful and curious beginners mindset. It requires almost zero previous experience or practical knowledge. You may be asked to spend a couple of hours reading a text or watching an online tutorial beforehand. More focus is on going slow and establishing consent within clear instructions and exercises. The goal is to hold your hand tightly but still allow little detours and personal journies as you are introduced to the subject. You don’t have to know beforehand what you like and don’t like. You need no desires or fantasies. Instead, the teaching style will provide you with a smorgasbord of experiences to try, of which some you might love and others you might hate.
Personally, looking at my rope bondage practice, I tend to always circle back to obeying the basics. So the more advanced I get, the more basic my longings become.
To question requires the courage to know what you want. And that takes some previous experience and practical knowledge. If ropes are involved, you should be able to wrap the upper and lower body, creating something stable that can take the weight and attaching new ties to existing structures for partly lifting the body. You should also have experience with how your body and mind react in vulnerable and intimate situations and how to communicate your boundaries. It’s beneficial if you also have an idea about the fantasies and desires that lead you to these explorations. You will probably also be introduced to new niche techniques and be given both practical training and time to play. The goal is to provide you with a journey where you can surprise yourself and hopefully question both your beliefs and my teachings on the subject.
To leave is the last step to become your own master. It requires you to already have a practice of your own. If ropes are involved, your technique must be good enough to suspend your partner or be suspended yourself, at least partially. You are assumed to have an understanding of consent, non-verbal communication, and all the grey zones that come with it. And have a sense of your traumas, triggers and possibly risky behaviours. The exercises are more ritualistic and experimental and go on longer without breaking the play for snack breaks and check-ins. There is less focus on practical skills, as you are assumed to already have a big enough pallet to play, and instead, there is more emphasis on creating an environment for you to master your craft.
literally ‘if that’s the way it is’.