Heartland Kinbaku

Building values based rope community


About Us

Heartland Kinbaku is a values based community dedicated to exploring traditionally inspired Japanese rope bondage. Building positive, healthy community is our highest priority: see our values here, our guidelines for community citizenship here, and our code of conduct here.


Our instructor team bios are here.

We find deep inspiration and compelling beauty in traditional Japanese rope bondage and explore rope as a medium of intimacy, vulnerability, trust, altered states of consciousness, aesthetic expression, and deep connection.​

Our practice and teaching for the core curriculum is inspired by our intensive and ongoing studies with Nawashi Kanna, one of the leading kinbaku masters of Japan. Heartland Kinbaku is an official Kanna Ryu school, teaching a structured core curriculum we developed with review and contributions from Nawashi Kanna.

While we have tools and skills to adapt rope to all types of scenes, our primary interest and focus is in rope as an exploration of SM play, suffering, and surrender. Kanna ryu is a school of Japanese rope bondage often described as semenawa (tormenting/torturing rope) that focuses on compacting the body, restricting freedom of movement, and layering challenging sensations.


We’ll discuss in depth during the course the various ways this kind of tormenting rope can be enjoyable and how to approach it to cultivate a deeper appreciation for it.


In general, we’ll be demonstrating exercises and techniques the way that we like to play with them, as we learned from Kanna-sensei, but are happy to accommodate a wide variety of rope tastes and desires and will provide suggestions and modifications to suit your tastes upon request. Modifications and adaptations for each student as desired, based on body type or experience preference, are available! 

Accessibility and inclusivity are among our core values - if you're interested in learning but have any concerns about access, please reach out to us so we can do what we can to remove barriers and welcome you.

Our Educational Model

HK's programming is based on a modular, progressive foundational curriculum and ongoing advanced classes. We ask all students to begin with Module 1 regardless of prior experience level - this is to ensure that as we move on to more advanced material, everyone is on the same page regarding the the techniques, aesthetic choices, values, culture, and approach to safety.


While attendees are free to move on from participation after Module 1, our intention is to bring cohorts through the cycle of our core programs over 6 months, and integrate them into a longer term community for continuing education, social/play events, and as a student base to bring our Japanese and European instructors to Chicago for local workshops and private lessons.

Class is held at our studio in Logan Square, just off the Blue Line.

Class times vary depending on what cohort you join, but we have a Thursday night option and a Saturday afternoon option for Modules 1-3. Advanced classes are held on Wednesday nights.

For students who don't live close enough for these classes or can't make that schedule, we have a remote/in-person hybrid program here.

Open Studio practice time will be held Sunday afternoons from 4-7 and Tuesday evenings from 730-10. Open studio is only open to current/former students and their guests.

We don’t turn away students for financial reasons. If you’re interested in joining our community but money is a barrier, please reach out to discuss. We will find a way to accommodate you.

Participants in HK programming must be 21 or older.

COVID 19 Note: we constantly monitor the latest developments and data regarding COVID-19 and change our plans as needed. For the collective safety, we ask that everyone who applies be vaccinated, and that unvaccinated folks do not apply until such a time as they are able to be vaccinated. If you don't have your vaccination card, talk to us about your situation and we'll find a workaround. As of 3/18/22, we are currently requiring surgical or N95 (or equivalent masks) to be worn in the studio at all times, as well as proof of vaccination, including a COVID booster.


Module 1: Foundations (4 weeks)

The curriculum will cover basic physical safety; emotional safety, communication, power dynamics, and negotiation; cultural and historical context; body manipulation and physical connection, scene building, and a range of Japanese inspired rope techniques and patterns that will empower participants to confidently top and bottom a diversity of floor based (non suspension) rope scenes.


- August 2022 Module 1 (Thursdays 7-10 PM)

- Jun 2022 Module 1 (Saturdays 4-7)



Module 2: Partial Suspension (12 weeks)

The curriculum will cover more advanced anatomy and safety knowledge, foundational suspension ties adapted for partial suspension, more advanced tension and placement awareness, how to safely tie and evaluate suspension lines, and how to combine knowledge acquired thus far to create a diversity of partial suspension based scenes, and a variety of bottoming skills to prepare bottoms for the physical and emotional experiences of intense rope scenes.


- Jul - Sep 2022 (Sat)

- Oct - Dec 2022 (Thurs)

- Jan - Mar 2023 (Sat)

- Apr - June 2023 (Thurs)

*Only open to students who have completed Module 1, or equivalent private lessons.


Module 3: Basic Suspension (4 weeks)

The curriculum will cover a range of introductory suspension techniques, presenting themes and elements in exercises designed to give students an understanding of how suspension works, and how you can organically evolve and build suspension-based scenes adapted to each partner you play with. The final class will introduce techniques to begin transitioning in the air.


- July 2022 (Sat)

- Oct 2022 (Thurs)

- Jan 2023 (Sat)

- April 2023 (Thurs)

- July 2023 (Sat)

*Only open to students who have completed modules 1 and 2, or equivalent private lessons.


Advanced Classes (Ongoing, weekly)

This portion of the program consists of ongoing, open-ended continuing education for all members of our community who have completed our foundational curriculum. We'll cover more advanced suspension work, ties and techniques we didn't have time for in the core modules, present our interpretation of other styles beyond what was covered in the core modules, and use alternative class formats. 

Dates: Every Wednesday

*only open to students who have completed modules 1-3

Remote/In-Person Hybrid Program

We are also now offering a hybrid online / in person program that includes discord membership and support, access to extensive written guides and videos for the core curriculum, two zoom learning sessions per month, and two in person weekend intensives over a 6 month period.

This program available to anyone who is able to travel to San Francisco or Chicago. More info here.

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