Bottoming for Semenawa

A 1-day workshop by Saara Rei

Photo by Steven Sonneveld

Semenawa can be defined as rope that creates a feeling of helplessness and endurance.

Helplessness is the inability to defend oneself or to act effectively, and endurance is to accept an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way. This is suffering.

There are many workshops and discussions on ways in which the rigger can tie that are said to provoke feelings of helplessness and endurance in the one being tied. This is a workshop in semenawa that focuses on the experience of the bottom, and how the rigger and the bottom can work together to reach a "semenawa state of mind."

This workshop is composed of exercises that are compartmentalized into three phases: Preparation, Helplessness, and Endurance. In the preparation phase, we will explore different ways to prepare both the body and mind for semenawa, as well as pain and body-tension management. In the Helpless phase, we will explore what it really means to feel helpless in the context of kinbaku, from being completely fixed in a position to being provoked. And finally, in the Endurance phase, we will explore how to find the "sweet spot" - the place where the situation is not too much for the bottom, but where they are in a struggle they can, or are will to, endure.

Every exercise will be focused on the experience of the bottom, with the aid or the rigger. That being said, there will still be a lot to learn for both parties in each exercise, and the material will require an advanced technical level for the rigger as well as the bottom.

As the person being tied you must have an interest in exploring semenawa and be experienced with being in suspensions. And as the person tying, you must be experienced with suspension, and be familiar with semenawa, its traditions, and some of the “classical” suspension shapes associated to it’s practice (such as the “Naka S-shape” or “M-shape”). There is a “higher” bar of knowledge required for the rigger, opposed to the bottom, as this workshop will not focus on the rigger learning technical skills, but rather expect the rigger to be able to confidently support the bottom through their learning process. As a couple you must have experience tying together and have a system for communicating while doing so.

Come as a couple. All exercises will be done in the couple. There will be no time for switching roles. All rope ties will be presented in variants of semi-suspension, easy-suspension, and hard-suspension.

If you are interested in booking this workshop in a part of the world near you, then please send an email.