Category: Osada-Ryû

9 Gates

The 9 Gates are the theoretical and philosophical core of Osada-Ryû, because they describe the essential elements of teaching. All techniques are related to or express these concepts. The basic principles of the 9 Gates shape the teaching and approach in Osada-Ryû.

They permeate all kyû, every pattern and every technique.They also connect the individual schools in Tokyo, Vienna (run by Vinciens), Königswinter, Bremen, the S56 in Vogelsang and of course the Harukumo-Juku in Koblenz.

9 Pforten des Osada-Ryû
  1. Tachi-ichi, 立位置 – (Position(ing)) – Describes the position and attitude of Bakushi and Ukete.
  2. Ma-ai, 間合い – (Proximity) – Describes closeness and distance.
  3. Sabaku, 捌く – (Rope Handling) – Elegantly guide the rope with efficiency and little friction.
  4. Urawaza, 裏技 – (Hidden Techniques) – Interactions between Bakushi and Ukete, but not recognizable from the outside.
  5. Ki, 気 – (Energy) – Life force or energy flow describing the exchange between Bakushi and Ukete.
  6. Kankyû, 緩急 – (Tempo & Rhythm) – Dynamics and rhythm that fill the shibari encounter with tension.
  7. Kan, 勘 – (Intuition) – Intuitively anticipating the next steps, and emotional states during the shibari encounter.
  8. Muganawa, 無我縄 – (Empty Mind) – A special state of mind.
  9. Kuden, 口伝 – (Oral Tradition) – Oral transmission of knowledge by the sensei.

This content is difficult to teach theoretically because it depends on the interaction between the teacher and the learner. In each technique and pattern, these elements can interact differently and create new and interesting interactions.

Since each level of training focuses on different of the 9 gates, indiviudal emphases are set and adapted to the development of the learners.

Aisatsu

Aisatsu (挨拶) means “greeting”. These shibari patterns are warm-up and familiarization exercises that are technically simple and easy to learn. Defined patterns are used in Osada-Ryû, but with the right mix of minimalism and concentration, each pattern becomes an aisatsu, for example, the wedding proposal (求婚縛り) or one-rope techniques (一本縄).

The aisatsu techniques are an excellent warm-up exercise. This makes the transition from everyday life to the shibari-encounter easier and bakushi and ukete tune into each other. A short duration of ten to 15 minutes is already enough to mentally tune into the shibari encounter or lesson.

However, these techniques have more than one function. One can also use aisatsu techniques to test ukete’s agility or explore the mood. By varying tension and distance, bakushi can make different offers to which ukete responds.

Depending on how ukete reacts, the next steps become clear. This basic technique can be further used later, when more complex patterns are executed.

Bakushi and ukete start a conversation in which bakushi asks and ukete answers. This allows both partners to steer and create a shared shibari experience.

Gentle leading plays a big role, because if bakushi works with too much energy, ukete cannot freely explore and express a reaction.

Osada Steve zeigt das Aisatsu-Shibari, 2018 in der Harukumo-Juku
Osada Steve zeigt das Aisatsu-Shibari. Harukumo-Juku, 2018

That is why slowness and attention are at the core of aisatsu patterns. Finding the right timing is also a preparatory exercise for later to be used in more complex patterns.

Technically, these patterns use simple braking techniques instead of knots and the rope does not yet have to be completely used up. That means that, for example, no Kazari is necessary. The concentration is fully on the interaction and on developing a feeling for the rope and the opponent.

Aomuke-zuri

Aomuke-zuri (仰向け吊り) means “supine suspension”. It is one of the simplest and safest suspensions taught. It allows clear, straight lines and is a good base for transitions, for example into Sakasa-tsuri.

Aomuke-zuri, Osada Steve, Studio SIX, Tokio
Aomuke-zuri, shown byn Osada Steve in Studio SIX, Tokyo

The basic position is horizontal. It is important to distribute the weight appropriately between the main hanging rope, the corset hanging rope and the ropes at the ankles.

The pattern is an integral part of Osada-Ryû and is taught as one of the first suspensions. The basis is the Tasuki Takatekote with a corset around the waist, but alternatively a hip harness can be used. However, since the corset is built faster, it is very suitable especially for performances.

The Aomuke-zuri allows many variations. That is why this pattern is a popular basic variant, from which creative transitions are often executed.

The relative safety of the basic technique is a plus point here. This allows the next step to be planned with a little more calm and deliberation than with other suspensions.

Aomuke-zuri, Variation des Themas, Harukumo-Juku 2021
Aomuke-zuri, Variation, Harukumo-Juku, 2021

Aomuke-zuri seem of something stiff, because there are only a few oblique lines in it. But this is quickly changed by the transition to the Sakasa. Ukete also has many possibilities to pose. This makes aomuke forms very interesting and versatile.

Kata-ashi-zuri

Kata-ashi-zuri (片足吊り) means “one-legged suspension”. This refers to a partial suspension in which one foot or leg remains on the ground. The kata-ashi-zuri is often used as a precursor to the yokozuri.

Kata-ashi-zuri, Harukumojuku 2021

This pattern is an important part of the 5th Kyû in Osada-Ryû. The main load is on the upper body while one foot remains on the floor. Ukete can thus feel directly if the upper body positions are correct. Furthermore, Ukete can lift the second foot independently and test the suspension.

Bakushi can create many different images even before a full suspension begins. The kata-ashi-zuri thus offers a variety that few other patterns can brag with.

The pattern is modular, which means that all suspension ropes are independent of each other. This increases safety, as every critical point is directly accessible at all times and can be adjusted, corrected or undone.

The ropes and the body form opposite triangles. This symmetry between body and rope creates an aesthetic connection between the two worlds. The appeal of this pattern stems from this connections between symmetry, shapes and the combination of body, rope and clothing.

The kata-ashi-zuri can be done on a fixed suspension point (for example a ring) as well as on a bamboo.

In a suspension point, the ropes between the upper body, thigh and suspension point form the upper half of a hishi. The lower tip of the hishi is the foot on the floor and the attachment points of the ropes to the torso and thigh form the horizontal points.

Kata-ashi-zuri, K2-Salon, 2016

Nijûbishi

Nijûbishi (二十菱) belong to a group of shibari patterns that play an important role in Osada-ryû. They are based on the hishi, a diamond. This symbol is a stylized water chestnut and also appears in Japanese heraldry. Numerous family coats of arms (Kamon, 家紋) contain this symbol and it also appears in the company logo of the Mitsubishi car brand.

There are many variants and they are popular mainly because of the symmetrical shape. In addition, they show the skill of a bakushi, as great dexterity is required. Dexterity and the ability to maintain contact with the partner at the same time come to full fruition here.

The back resembles a Takatekote, but there are also possibilities to use Hôjô-Nawa techniques. Depending on the construction, even suspensions with these techniques are possible. It is important here that the weight distribution and the tension in the rope are perfectly matched.

Teppô

When the first Portuguese arrived in Japan in the 16th century, they soon introduced firearms aka Teppô (鉄砲). It is these rifles slung over the shoulders of soldiers that first inspired the teppô shibari ( 鉄砲縛り) and later the teppozuri (鉄砲吊り) aka rifle suspension.

Teppô-Shibari

This suspension was popularized by the late shibari grandmaster Akechi Denki (明智伝鬼) and is very popular both on stages and in private.

Despite the traditional name, this pattern is not a classical pattern. There are no templates in hôjô-jutsu or other manuals and martial arts that show this technique. This pattern is a modern interpretation of traditional themes in shibari. It draws on historical imagery, but uses shibari aesthetics.

Yokozuri

Yokozuri (横吊り) means “lateral suspension”. It is the first and most basic form of suspension taught. The body weight rests laterally on the layers of takatekote on the upper body. This distributes the load evenly and provides a relatively comfortable feeling.

The Yokozuri is a creative, relatively simple and safe pattern.

One foot remains on the ground until just before lift-off, so that Ukete can test for himself, by lifting his foot, whether the ropes are properly seated and how great the physical strain is.

As a rule, this form consists of a stable upper body restraint. In Osada-Ryû, a Takatekote made of three ropes is usually used. However, other upper body patterns are also possible, such as a nijûbishi.

The preliminary stage is the kata-ashi-zuri, which is a partial suspension. Here, one foot remains on the floor, so that the load on ukete remains minimal. But already in this stage you can create many beautiful images and experiment with the partial suspension.

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