Shibari 101: Leg Tie

Welcome to Shibari 101, your chance to learn the building blocks of Japanese rope bondage! If you missed them, check out shibari’s history, rope basics and safety, and brush up on the foundational single- and double-column ties and basic chest harness.

Start a leg tie, which will immobilize one leg, by tying a single column tie on the ankle. It looks cleaner if you start the single column tie by spiraling the bight down the ankle, instead of up, so the working ends are on top. Once you’ve tied the single column, push the bottom’s shin to bring the ankle as close to the lower thigh as you can. (Note that, because it leaves most of your body and your arms free, this is a really fun tie to practice on yourself.) The muscles of the leg will relax as the bottom sits in this tie, and often the ropes will get slacky and loose if you do not do this step.

Next, spiral the working ends up the leg, making sure the first wrap is low on the thigh. Depending on the size of your bottom’s leg you can do anywhere between two to four wraps here (you can also extend rope and do as many as you want!). You can try with three as shown, and if you find you have run out of rope before the tie is done, back up and try with two, etc., or if you have too much left over rope, back up and try with four.
futomomo-step-1

Pass the final rope of your spiral over itself on the inside of the knee. Bring your finger through the triangle you just created, and grab the rope and pull underneath. Use your other hand to pinch where the ropes cross so they don’t slide. Take the working ends and bring them over the top rope, and then under the left rope.
futomomo-step-2

Repeat this knot on each rope working down the spiral, including the bottom rope. Pass the working ends through the leg and around to the other side.futomomo-step-3

On the outside of the leg now, pull the working ends to cinch tight. You’re going to repeat this knot again on the outside of the leg, but this time backwards, as your working ends are now running up the leg instead of down. Bring the working ends up over the bottom rope, back down on the right, then over the bottom rope, and back up under the left.futomomo-step-4

Repeat this step on each rope of the spiral until you get to the top.futomomo-step-5

On the top rope’s knot, finish it off by bringing the working ends through the loop, so they reverse direction and go back down the leg again.futomomo-step-6

If you have leftover rope, you can twist it around the stem. Tie it off with a hitch and tuck the ropes around the stem or between the leg.futomomo-step-7

You’re done! Next week, you’ll learn how to combine a few different shibari ties together.

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