The Kinbakushi In Residence At The NYC Nawa Studio

So, let me tell you about the Studio...

I didn’t want to do it, honestly. With the way my city's rope groups work, I thought that a class of continuing education rope in this format wouldn't make it here. As much as everyone wants intermediate rope, most people want “skill shares” where there is no one teacher, and no one path for the class. This method of learning totally works, but it has some flaws. I was hoping to offer another option with a whole other set of flaws that wasn't on the table here, and hope the benefits were worth it.

I also wasn't sure I could do it. If people would come to see me. You're always less respected in your hometown, and I wasn't sure enough people would be wiling to be taught by me. All your experience and rep don't mean jack if people wont respect it enough to give you a try. And with a lot of international talent dropping in to do intensives, I wasn't sure my “dojo” style classes would have a place. Add to that the negative things I've heard to my face or behind my back or the fact that it's a weeknight or too far (I hear that every week), and I was pretty sure that if we made it a year, it would be a miracle.

But I wanted to help raise the level of rope skill in our city. I wanted a place where everyone could learn and practice, and I wanted the baseline of rope in NYC to be better than the baseline anywhere else I've been. Which, of course meant that I was going to go headlong into the doing this crazy ass thing.

The first Nawa Studio had 8 teams at it, and Wyldcat and I taught column ties and their purpose. It went well, and I had hope it might keep going well. Then came the bumps of different learning styles, lack of practice in between classes, and having to adjust to newer people coming in. It was a bumpy few months, and As we lost some people, I was again sure that a year was probably our limit.

Then it happened.

People came and stayed. They made it worth coming and they practiced. They wouldn't give excuses. And if they had to, they made up for it the best they could. These people would give what they could for the rope. And I would do no less. Then there was the blindfold day. When they tied their harness blindfolded, They knew they had it. And there was no stopping them. They would train. They would learn. And I would help them.

No matter how tired or sick or busy I was, I made sure I was there for Studio. Even on days where I walked into a room and waited alone for 10 mins before people showed up. Even as I watched people walk in knowing they wouldn’t come back. I would be there for those students.... my students... who would listen and learn and find their paths.

Some of my students went to Shibaricon this past weekend, and I couldn't be prouder of them. I saw them in classes being amazing rope people, kicking ass and taking names. And getting the praise and respect of international presenters. As that happened, I thought that our time might be at an end. That right before we got to some of the heavier stuff, that my guys would wander off and not keep coming back. But every night, they would find me in the dungeon and watch their teacher blast out a tie or two. They always checked in and told me how they were doing. And one wrote about an intense experience they had at the con, and thanked me for my support. Well, I'm not too manly to say that I've cried tears of joy every time I've read it, and don't know how to thank them enough. And of course, they will all be at Studio. Tired. Con-dropping. Present. Ready. How can you not be proud of that?!?!

If you find a way to not, don't tell me. I don't want to know.

So here we are a year later and I'll be teaching at the Nawa Studio for as long as we can have one. Finances and such are always an issue. But barring something weird, you'll know where to find me on the second Thursday of the month. It doesn’t matter if you've never tied or have been doing it for years, we have a place for you. I encourage you to come through and make us part of your growing rope path, but I will understand that you may not want you to. And I only want you here if you wish to be here. But I promise to make it worth as much if not more than the time you invest in it.