I responded to an extensive post about the difference between Japanese and Western Bondage. I am not reproducing their post, but in my opinion, it didn’t cover a key characteristic, which I am remarking on below:
“I looked through the above responses, but I don’t think I found the following technical points that I see as the key differences between shibari and “western bondage”.
The tying in Shibari almost always starts at the “bight” of the rope, forming a single column tie around a limb. From this point, the doubled rope will form a pattern, such as a TK, a futo, a karada, etc. Because a single column tie will not collapse on itself and compress the limb, and because a doubled rope wrapping necessarily has more surface area than a single rope, shibari has a more “huggy” feeling that western rope application, in my opinion. This is often evidenced when I tie a new bottom in a TK and they remark, “This feels really good!”
By contrast, many western ties often begin either with a larks head, where the line has to be drawn all the way through the bight of the rope, which is awkward and time-consuming, and can effect rope burn, or a tie can start in the middle of a length of rope, and then individual lines are wrapped in opposition, and after a certain amount of wrapping, the opposing ropes are joined with some type of knot, such as a square knot.
You will almost never see a Japanese tier pulling 15 feet of doubled rope through a larks head, wasting time, boring the bottom, and risking rope burn.
In shibari, “knots” are really not that much of a thing. Sure, the single column tie and the double column tie does involve a knot, but ties usually finish with a “hitch”, and not a “knot”. Rather, “frictions” are used at key junctions to maintain the integrity of the bondage structure.
Properly done, a larks head start can be made to be non-collapsible, but I find that many ropesters will omit this very important step because they have not been taught how and are just going on the seat of their pants. So, many ties will begin with a collapsible band, crushing down on the column. Not good.
Another characteristic of western bondage, which I consider very disadvantageous, is that many Western tiers will “cinch” between two columns, which is taught in the Boy Scouts in the “lashing” instruction, which is used in building camp-sites, etc. Lashing between the wrists is a perfect way to cut off circulation and people who conceive of two wrists crossed behind the back as a pair of sticks to be lashed together, can cause considerable harm, and the tie will lack sustainability.
It’s not much fun playing in bondage when your wrists get tingly, and you have to ask your partner to release you after a few minutes.
Again, by contrast, a well-placed TK, or double-column tie behind the back can be sustained for a very long, time, making for fun and extended play, possibly in the hours. And, well-placed single column ties on the wrists and ankles can make for an extremely sustainable spread-eagle on a bed, again, sustainable for hours.
I guess you can tell which I prefer, no sense hiding it. I’m always ready to hear arguments to the contrary, however.”