Organizational Director, Founder, Lead Instructor of Heartland Kinbaku
SweetZephyr (they/them) found their way to rope after 14 years of serious recreational exploration of martial arts, circus and rock climbing. They are fascinated by rope as a movement practice, meditation, and rich experience of relationship. They identify as queer, nonbinary, and a switch, and have been tying for about 8 years.
Since 2018, they have traveled to Europe and Japan multiple times per year to study with various instructors. Over the years, their practice and teaching has been most influenced by Nawashi Kanna, Riccardo Wildties, and Naka Akira san.
They are a founder of Oakland Rope Collective in San Francisco and Heartland Kinbaku in Chicago, and served as a steering committee member of NARIX, a North American peer-to-peer education and community event/organization, from 2018 to 2022.
When they’re not playing with rope, they can be found rock climbing, boxing, riding bikes, petting dogs and cats, reading nerdy fantasy novels, or giggling at memes.
Instructor, Bottoming Instructor
ClaraRosa (she/her) is a rope fetishist and sadomasochist who had an unhealthy fascination with kidnapping scenes as a child. She has been bottoming and tying since 2016 and hosting rope events in Chicago since 2018. She believes firmly that rope is for every body, and she finds it deeply fulfilling to make kinbaku and semenawa practice accessible to people who desire it. She enjoys rope both as a medium for fantasy enactment and as a means of emotional connection and catharsis. ClaraRosa works in the medical field and has made her home in Chicago for over a decade.
We find deep inspiration and compelling beauty in traditional Japanese rope bondage. We explore rope as a medium of intimacy, vulnerability, trust, altered states of consciousness, aesthetic expression, and deep connection.
Our practice and curriculum is inspired by the work of Akechi Kanna, Riccardo Wildties, and Naka Akira. Please note that we are not authorized or official representatives of any style, and merely convey our interpretation and adaptation of what we have learned over the years.
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. The rope styles we are inspired by are often described as semenawa (tormenting/torturing rope). The style that inspires the core curriculum focuses on compacting the body, restricting freedom of movement, layering challenging sensations, and promoting a playful, intimate, engaged tying dynamic. In our intermediate/advanced classes, we also offer content inspired by a style that explores twisting, more extreme suspensions, objectification, surrender, and aesthetics.
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, 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!