Complete Shibari The Better Built Bondage Book

Here's what people are saying about Complete Shibari!

JD of the Two Knotty Boys says...

Douglas Kent did an amazing job with Land and Sky - two solid books!

- JD of Two Knotty Boys

John Baku says...

I am a big fan of Douglas Kent's books on Shibari!

- John Baku

Lochai says...

AMAZING BOOKs! I use them on set...

- Lochai

Tatu says...

Re.Complete Shibari Vol 1 & 2

Doug:

I looked over your books and they are fantastic, my friend!!!

What I love about them is this.

1) The images, with brilliant colors is by far the best of any English language "how to tie" instructional on the Japanese styled tying arts. We all loved Arisue Go's original instructionals with their beautiful color images, but the text was in Japanese, which is of course frustrating for us westerners. With your books we have it all; beautiful eye popping images and clear text on how you guide us to construct these ties. While you mention the Japanese names for these ties, you use language to identify and describe each tie that we can understand here in the west.

2) The preparatory materials are right on target. They are factual, accurate, clear and to the point. I know some people like to go on and on about endless possibilities of sa fety etc... but you provided what was needed.

3) I love your unique icons for showing movements & turns etc.

4) I love the publishing quality. I don't see the cover falling off this one like others I've seen.

5) Price - you just can't beat the cost here... frankly this is amazing what you have done for such a reasonable price.

6) Your models are all gorgeous and a delight for the eye to take in. (and your rope ain't bad either.... LOL)

I have studied Kinbaku / Shibari for some 15 years now and it has been a long, tedious and expensive road finding and learning techniques of the Japanese Rope Arts. This is by far the finest instructional we have in English. You have done a great service to the community. My hat is off to you my friend. Everyone should be ordering your book....

I rate it 5 our of 5 Hershey Bars!!!! Great going....

- Tatu

Graydancer says...

These books belong... with Arisue Go's Five Rings books.

- Graydancer

(Excerpt from his Ropecast review (April 15, 2010); review runs from 11:45 to 22:50)

Philip the Foole says...

Hi Douglas,

My copies of your new "Complete Shibari: Land and Sky" books arrived yesterday. Thanks very much for the inscriptions!

Your "Better Built Bondage Book" is the most useful "do-it-yourself" construction book I've ever seen, kink or non-kink, so I was looking forward to your "Complete Shibari" books.

I was not disappointed.

Both books are beautifully illustrated with clear,detailed, and sexy photos packing every page. The emphasis is on step-by-step photos, with minimal text. I like your use of icons to indicate features of a tie such as "fast," "similar to another tie," and "stoptional" (optional stop).

I also like the fact that the beautiful "glamor" ties that open each section are composed entirely of elements presented in the books. I particularly liked the hilarious (and yet still very sexy) "motorcycle jump" and "basketball player" photos in the "Sky" volume.

Douglas is an exceedingly thorough, systematic thinker. He is also an excellent writer, photographer and teacher. I highly recommend all three of his books to every kinky crafts-person and bondage enthusiast.

If you work through these two books, you will definitely become one of the better bondage riggers in your circle of perverted friends, unless you hang out with one hell of an advanced circle of perverted friends.

These will make superb "coffee table" conversation starters. "Hey, let's try this tie!"

Are all of Douglas' techniques traceable back in an unbroken chain of true dominant, old-guard Japanese shibari masters to the first samurai who tied up his geisha girlfriend?

Who cares?

Your Humble Jester,

- Philip the Foole

Q. "How many shibari experts does it take to tie someone up?"
A. One hundred -- One to do the tying and ninety-nine to say, "I could do that -- but it's not really SHIBARI."
- Ancient Kung Foole Proverb by Graydancer quoted in Douglas Kent's "Complete Shibari, Volume 1 - Land"

Dov says...

Complete Shibari, by Douglas Kent (also the author of The Better Built Bondage Book), has just been released.

The set is a very good way to get started in Japanese style bondage if you already have a fundamental understanding of how rope functions. I wouldn't recommend these if you are still learning how to tie a knot or don't know what a bight or a bend is. Beginners to rope would be better served by books such as Lee Harrington's Shibari you can use or Jay Wiseman's Erotic bondage . However, if you are an intermediate level rigger with an interest in Japanese bondage (and who isn't, these days?) these are the books for you.

Book 1:Land Land is a very complete introduction. It covers everything from what types of rope to use, to a very in-depth safety primer, to diagrams of knots and basic rope structures. After this, the book delves in to such material as basic box ties, chicken wing ties and variations, and hogties. These are explained not only in a formulaic way, but with descriptions that allow the reader to understand how these ties function. This understanding prepares the reader for Book 2:Sky.

Book 2:Sky covers specific safety issues in regards to suspension. It also covers suspension hardware and has a massively detailed section on understanding the physics of suspension. After this, it takes you through a position by position section on the various lifts and elements that make each suspension up. The rest of the book contains clear and detailed images of various types of partial and full suspensions as well as the elements needed to accomplish them.

Just a note towards full disclosure: I did do some editing and feedback on the books right before they went to print. Regardless of any bias, I believe these books should be on everyones Bookshelf and would be invaluable to any rigger or rope aficionado looking to develop a broader skill set.

- Dov

Original review

Mackenzie Cross says...

I have been interested in bondage for as many years as I can remember, and in particular, Japanese-style bondage (shibari) for at least the last 10-12 years.

Shibari differs from Western style bondage in many ways, and trying to find books, workshops, or tutorials to learn how to do it has always been a challenge for those here in North America. While there are some very good workshops done by people like Midori, most of the printed material has been in Japanese. The same applies to much of the video material, so trying to learn it on your own can be a challenge. I know, because I have been trying for the last ten years to find some good material.

So you can imagine how excited I was to learn about Douglas Kent's new two- volume set called "Complete Shibari". Not only was it written in English (and by a fellow Canadian to boot!) but also it is specifically intended for both beginner and intermediate riggers. I ordered it a couple of weeks ago, and after a few days it was delivered.

Overall, I have been very impressed.

Both books are soft cover, well bound, and have about 100 pages each. The paper is high quality gloss. Both of my copies were signed by the author and included a very nice business card with a wonderful shibari photo. There is a lavish use of photographs and illustrations throughout both books, not simply to show the beauty of the bindings, but more importantly to provide an excellent visual illustration of how to perform the binding.

Each book also begins with a visual index, a feature that I found very useful. Even if you don't know the Japanese name for a particular binding you can quickly find it via the index.

Volume 1 (Land)

Following the index is an Introduction section that talks about Kent's motivation and philosophy in writing the book. I was happy that he chose to concentrate on the actual mechanics of this bondage technique, rather than spending too much time on the spiritual side of shibari, which would have been a challenge to convey with written words. He also explains the best way to use the book, as well as some of his instructional techniques. For example, he has developed a set of icons for knots, wraps, loops, etc, which are used throughout the book to help the reader understand exactly how the binding has been done. These icons, or building blocks as he calls them, are a very Western systematic approach to the subject, and it works very well indeed.

The Introduction also contains a section on rope safety, which is critical for anyone starting out, and not a bad refresher even for those with experience, particularly the section on risks and their likelihood. There is also a section "Rope bottom's duties" which I feel should be essential reading for anyone who is going to be bound for the first time. In just a few short pages Kent is able to provide a solid foundation of rules and mind-set for the bottom.

There is also a brief section on preparing ropes. It doesn't contain any information on conditioning hemp rope, but that is probably because it is a rather time-consuming task that most people would not be interested in doing (which, of course, I am).

The Introduction section ends with the most important shibari tie, which Kent calls the Box Tie (also known as a chest harness, or a Takate Kote). The name is not really that important. What is important is how well it is shown, and here it is shown very well. Since almost all shibari depends on this binding, it makes sense for it to be placed so early in the book.

A Building Blocks section follows the Introduction Section. Here the author shows how to form knots, frictions, stoppers, loops, vines, etc, and all the other basic techniques required. Illustrations are done both with graphics and photos and are very easy to follow. Icons are introduced to represent the different knots, which come in very handy in the next section. Variants are also shown, which can be used for decorative effects or in situations where the standard approach might not work.

Finally, with the basics out of the way, the book leads into its Forms section. Here we find about seventeen different bondage positions, and how to tie them, pretty much complete. Some of them are for the beginner, while others will require more experience. Some would be quite comfortable for the bottom, while others will be a challenge. Certainly there is enough material to keep most people busy for some time as well as providing some ideas for other variants. I was very happy to see how well the bindings were laid out.

Volume 2 (Sky)

This volume concentrates on suspension bondage. The layout of the book is the same as Volume 1, but contains important information about this more advanced technique. For example, the safety section now discusses the risks of suspension, anchor points for hanging ropes, suspension hardware, etc. And rather than going through a repetition of all the basic building blocks covered in Volume 1(Land), the book adds new knots which will be needed.

In other words, in my opinion Volume 2 is a true sequel to Volume 1 and should not be purchased separately. If you want to purchase Volume 2, make sure you also purchase Volume 1. You will be glad you did, and so will I (and so will Douglas, I expect!).

The suspensions shown are also intended for the beginner and intermediate rigger. And once again there is a great deal of material to try, and variants that can be created.

I am rather looking forward to trying them.

I should also mention that during my review of the books I ran into a couple of questions concerning certain illustrations, and how certain knots were tied. I wrote to Douglas directly and he replied in less than 24 hours. He seemed genuinely interested in answering my questions, and we exchanged a couple of emails over the next few days. He certainly knows his material, and did his best to resolve the problem I was having. In the end, all of my questions were answered.

I really don't have anything bad at all to say about these books. They are well organized, well written, well illustrated, and well designed. I have been reading them over and over, and also practicing some of the bindings. Everything works quite well.

If you are interested in shibari, either as a top or a bottom, I would seriously recommend buying both volumes of Kent's books. While there are many shibari books on the market, they generally only show the final binding with no instructions on how to perform it. The few books that do attempt to give instruction are generally quite poor, relying on the written word to try and explain how the bindings are done, which is a technique that generally fails. Kent's books focus on instruction, and do it well.

So while some more critical reviewers may say that his technique is not "real" shibari, or that it is not "complete", I personally welcome these two books to my collection. I think Douglas Kent has put together an excellent technical primer for those interested in shibari, which still provides enough sophistication to satisfy those of us who considered ourselves serious amateurs. His approach is novel and effective.

As far as the spiritual side of shibari... well, all I can suggest is that you try some of these bindings on your submissive and see what happens. You won't be disappointed.

- Mackenzie Cross

Original review

Guilty says...

Douglas Kent's books are not just good, they are exceptionally good, and for the first time in ages I think I can really recommend a book on Japanese style bondage without much hesitation.

The safety sections are up to the current state of the art and indeed the teaching system I thinks works very well. Teaching basic techniques that build the bondage instead of teaching one or two positions is a very good conceptual way to approach bondage. I don´t feel qualified to judge the authenticity of it all, but my gut feeling says it comes close. IF you are going to learn suspension from a book, I think this one surely is your best bet.

- Guilty

Jfoto says...

So... you want to learn a little about Shibari? I had the opportunity to contribute a few opinions when Doug was writing this series. The finished versions were delivered yesterday and I was completely blown away with the quality as well as these being a wonderful guide packed with information for beginners as well as experienced riggers.

- Jfoto

Cannon says...

Note: This is a satirical review in the form of a protest letter (written by Cannon)

Hey Douglas, I came across this on a second-rate BDSM forum, and thought I'd bring it to your attention...

- Cannon

An Open Letter to Douglas Kent

Dear Sir,

I am writing this letter concerning your recent publications, Douglas Kent's Complete Shibari vol 1 & 2. I have spent countless hours meditatively pacing my immaculate, authentic shibari dojo, struggling with the feelings that have been consuming my very soul. With each contemplative step on the imported Japanese bamboo floor, and with each sagacious stroke of my finely sculpted shibari master chin, my conviction grew: it is my sacred duty to all authentic practitioners of shibari (i.e. myself) to publish this letter.

There is one question which burns (like authentic hand-made jute of precisely 7m drawn swiftly across the flesh) most deeply in my heart and mind: what were you thinking?

Was it truly your intent to expose the great unwashed masses to the vast, ancient mysteries of our sacred art? In page after page, Land lavishly illustrates dozens of techniques that the shibari novice might wish to know. Even more insultingly, these same pages provide valuable insight to the experienced nawashi. Through text and illustration, each movement and tie is carefully explained from multiple angles. From rope selection, to fundamental ties, to advanced applications, no topic escapes your notice. To my dismay, you patiently describe the techniques which I spent years learning from ancient, traditional manuscripts that I found online here and there. Thanks to your book, even the most clumsy, unschooled beginner can begin to use our practice to form a deep, meaningful connection with his or her partner. My outrage, sir, is without measure.

It was not enough for you to devote an entire section to the various risks inherent to our art. Oh no—you had to go on to provide detailed discussion of how each risk might be minimized, AND how the consequences (or harm) associated with each risk can be reduced. The section on a "rope bottom's duties" is particularly offensive. Helpful tips on communication and physical preparation, as well advice on how to recover from a mishap, are entirely unsuitable reading for a rope bottom, whose sole duty is to serve as the silent canvas for the Master.

Sky is little better. You follow the same pattern observable in The Better Built Bondage Book, which more or less covers the basics of carpentry, house framing, upholstery, leathercraft, etc.- all so that the reader may create excessively durable, utilitarian, and attractive dungeon furniture and accessories. Do you truly believe that helping rope artists to understand the fundamentals of tension, compression, counterbalance, and pulley ratios will advance our art? Indeed, for reasons I cannot fathom, you felt compelled to present the mysterious art of rope suspension as though it were also a base science. I cannot agree that understanding the principles of how applied tension affects the human body from first principles (which you explain in the simplest terms imaginable, presumably to aid the least washed of the masses to tarnish the purity of our art) could possibly help anyone achieve true shibari mastery.

Fortunately, not all is lost. The models you chose for the books are so lovely to behold, that I can confidently state that no living human alive could bear to draw his or her focus away from their lovely curves and contours long enough to actually learn anything useful from these books. Moreover, Land is rife with errors! For example, on page 18, you claim that most riggers begin the box tie by passing the bight upwards between the wrists and back. Ha! Even the most casual observer with the merest passing familiarity with my authentic, traditional work would know that I begin by passing the bight downwards between the wrists and back. Verily, sir is your fraud exposed! I only hope that when you are carried out of town on a rail, someone with true knowledge of authentic shibari does the tying.

Yours in rope,

Sir Master Lord Nawashi de Sade III

P.S. The lovely, flexible creature on p. 57 of Sky wouldn't happen to be single, would she?

P.P.S. How, did you do the tie on p. 4 of Sky? Um, I mean, I know how to tie it myself. I just want to, um, know if you did it the right way.

Michael S. Moore says...

Sign me up for "Volume 3: Stars" today, Doug! I've never seen such a practical and beautiful fusion of the knowledge and understanding of the schools of thought put forth by different experts who otherwise conflict.

This series is a must-read for anyone who's prevented by ordinary real life from spending a fortune to seek out some faraway dojo, and who believes, like the author, that having a visual or verbal learning style isn't a handicap that should bar someone from learning to bind and suspend.

- Michael S. Moore (Chair, Columbia Erotic Power Exchange)

still says...

I went to Doug's book launch in Ottawa. The event was fabulous! The demo where Doug performed suspension bondage in less time that it took to finish playing Motorhead's "The Ace of Spades" alone was worth the price of admission :-). I also got a kick out of the the look of the passersby as they peered though the glass as Doug weaved his magic.

About the book. I purchased "The Complete Shibari" volume #1 "Land." I believe anyone who purchased the book will be delighted. For starters, I like the form factor. The book fits nicely in plastic comic book bag. At a distance it looks like a graphic novel. This is in contrast to the only other Shibari book I own, Midori's "Seductive Art of Japanese Rope Bondage" which is coffee book table sized (note - by sheer luck, I attended a Midori workshop in SF soon after her book came out. I had an amazing time. Consequently her book is dear to my heart). By the way, I also like the choice of models. In terms of structure, "Complete Shibari" reminds me of O'Reilly computer book. It has clear dos-and-don't. The book also has plenty of visual notation aids (and of course pictures) for newbies.

To me, "Complete Shibari"'s really big contribution is when Doug gets into what he calls 'frictions.' By frictions, how the Top ties and arranges the rope behind the bottom's back in order to make it hold properly AND get an appropriate aesthetic look. Doug goes though frictions in great detail, not skipping steps. Implying that there is no one way, Doug proceeds to illustrate seven ways! Consequently even a newcomer can achieve a clean beautiful look that suits their style.

- Still

JaggedWeaver says...

I was at the Toronto book release last night and it was a great event. Doug's demos were fantastic, and I was very impressed by a lot of work from other players as well; it is amazing to witness the emergence of individual styles.

I picked up both of Doug's books, and they are excellent; I like to savour bondage books, going through them slowly to prolong the impact, so I must confess, I have not yet read them cover to cover- you can spend hours just looking at the pictures. But from the reading I have done, what impressed me the most was that these books teach concepts and techniques as well as specific ties. There are many great books on the market that teach specific ties, but very few that discuss concepts and techniques which can then be applied to all ties. The advantage to this approach, as @Still mentions, is that it can be used to expand and develop personal styles.

And I also have to say that I was very excited to see a book that dealt with suspension. We've needed that for a long time. Many people insist that one on one or small group instruction is the only way to learn suspension, and it is certainly valuable and highly recommended. But Shibari Sky provides both detailed photos and a tremendous amount of information about concepts and techniques in order to ensure that the work is safe, beautiful and fun in equal measure.

So hats off to Doug for giving us such amazing tools to work with, and thanks to the amazing crew of riggers and kinksters that made this party an event to remember.

- JaggedWeaver

JaggedWeaver says..."just finished reading! Wow!"

After writing back and forth a bit about the Complete Shibari books, I decided it was high time to give them the cover to cover read. I finished Land last night and and Sky today. And I've gotta say, as impressed as I was after casual perusal, I'm even more impressed now.

I knew that Sky was going to be awesome- as I've said, we needed a suspension book badly, and yours being the first I've encountered, even if it had been a lesser book, it still would have been good. And of course, it's not a lesser book at all.

But I hadn't expected to be as impressed as I was by Land. I've been tying the box tie exactly as laid out in Midori's book for three years- just follow the pictures, step 1 through 25. Now Midori's book was also great, don't get me wrong- I cherish it- but I never thought about the scene/ utility implications of tying the component parts in a different order, or skipping some entirely. That alone was worth the price of the book, and of course, there's so much more than that in there.

When I said cover to cover, I meant exactly that. I noticed that Stars will be out in 2011, and I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to it. Hojojitsu is something that fascinates me- the idea of rope take downs, movement and really, dance, is very appealing. My wife and I have come up with some simple things on our own, but of course, there's no authenticity to them whatsoever. They're simple takedowns involving lark's head loops slipped over limbs after blocking strikes; they also use a chain braid that collapses from the bight end rather than the working ends and I always start with them up my sleeve, so that the attacker doesn't know that the person s/he's about to strike is armed with rope until it's too late.

Anyone who knew anything about "authentic" hojojitsu would probably laugh their asses off if they saw it, but whatever. So the short and the long is that I'm looking forward to the next one in order to expand upon the very minute amount of simple stuff I've managed to come up with on my own.

Anyway, thanks again. Your contributions to the lifestyle and the rope arts in particular are enormous. And sorry for the huge rambling message- you probably get hundreds of these.

- JaggedWeaver

boytoy says...

I got to see the CS books last night. They are incredible. The website descriptions are crap when compared the quality of the books.

The Suspension book has ~45 page devoted to physics of rope, and lifting, and nerves, and circulation (safety). Then it covers more suspension techniques than you could shake rope at.

All of the ties in both books can be followed from the first coil through to the completed tie. Every picture that illustrates a step in the tie is a real professional advertising quality photo with real people and real rope.

Both books are very easy to use and I saw a couple of people new to suspension follow along with the book to have a successful, safe, and fun suspension scene.

If you have been doing suspension for years, or are just starting out, the Complete Shibari books need to be on your shelf. Or better yet, in your rope bag.

Another feature of the books. The photos are beautiful. You could almost leave them out on the coffee table when you have vanilla friends over and they wouldn't think you were weird for having them.

I put my money where my mouth is. I did the pre-order and am just waiting for the books to arrive in the mail now.

- boytoy

The Eroticologist says...

Complete Shibari Series is True Genius...

It has been said that it takes true genius to take that which is complex and make it simple.

That is exactly what Douglas Kent has done with the Complete Shibari Series. If you have a passion for sensual rope bondage this set of books is a must have for your library.

- The Eroticologist

Shibari suspension

Copyright Douglas Kent