I prefer to think of a kinbakushi as being a facilitator on stage. Yes, simply, merely a facilitator.
The really talented kinbakushi may be recognized even as a co-actor and will get more attention, if she/he is mastering also dramatic and theatrical talents, and being able to reflect that some form of exchange is (also) taking place on stage. But, I find this type of show talent very rare in the West, whereas the need to place one self in the focus to draw attention seems to be the purpose for many a rigger with a superstar in his/her belly. Some people start very early to think they are so very special, simply because they’re fairly ok at throwing ropes. They use this to boost, or strengthen their ego. They need to appear so-so dominant and showing they are in power and control. But, you can teach a monkey to throw ropes and be cruel without emotion. However a kinbakushi is maybe considered to ALSO have human capacity to pass on the deeper emotional aspects that reflect what is happening on stage. Not just the ropes. But much more important the (any kind of) exchange between the rigger and the model/partner.
The kinbakushi works with an array of changing sensations, moods, emotion, passion. Etc. All reflected through the interaction and communication with the model/partner. The biggest difference between east and West I believe is exactly that kind of exchange, or the lack hereof. What is going on between the people on stage. Never focused on the technical aspects.
Does the show reflect any Authenticity? Any real Emotion? Any kind of exchange going on between them? Or, is it just about control, pain and suffering, like a power-showoff? Look here what a talented guy I am…. So many Self proclaimed twuwe rope Artists and Masters of the Universe…
Maybe we need to buy a mirror. What about, as part of learning basic rope skills to also practice some humbleness and modesty. What about practicing self reflection, and not just feeding our own needs for attention. Those are things that most people start to learn very early in life. Basic human skills, some may say. I’ll never forget what a good friend once said, “Ropes don’t lie!” We just can’t hide our true selves in rope. So, why not take the opportunity to develop ourselves personally as well as technically when we do ropes together with another human being. What a truly excellent training ground? Maybe as important skills to become a respected kinbakushi, working steadily with ones Ego?
Too often I see riggers entering stage and limelight, driven by a deep urge to show off their seemingly (and maybe very excellent) raw, technical rope skills simply to boost their Ego. The type that seems to be tying like a shibari robot on steroids – watch me! Admire Me! My amazing speed and control! I find this kind of performance so utterly uninteresting after a few minutes, or seconds. I find it boring when a live show/session lacks that emotion and exchange, like if it was only designed, and rehearsed to show “how great a rigger I am”. And of course a true Artist, yeah right…. Did someone ever feel after, or during a show that something essential was missing in the “picture”? Maybe you can put better words on this than me. My Enguish sucks. So, what do YOU want to see in a live show/session/performance? What rocks your boat?
Well some shows are specifically designed to attract audience to pay for entertainment. Typically they want some hardcore high-pace action, some pain and suffering, and some tits and ass. A type of shows optimized to sell drinks and tickets. It’s when rope becomes commercial and enters Adult Showbiz. Designed for good sales and salary. Sure I’m fine with that. But find it usually pretty boring to watch after a while when attempted by Westerners, except on rare occasions with a few really outstanding talents (maybe a handful or two of them in the entire World outside Japan?. In my view it’s people who prove that it takes a LOT more than just simply excellent rope skills to become an attractive performer on stage to keep people’s attention. Again, it’s that thing about the exchange and emotion, or lack hereof?
The kinbakushi as an Artist…. oohhh, well ok, maybe yes in case he/she is staying behind, and not craving the focus from the model/partner/canvas/motive…. Otherwise it’s like when you can’t really see the artwork, because the “artist” himself is covering the sculpture with his body at the gallery.
Which may raise another question… When does a ropester become a rope artist. Who is to decide. And who cares about it besides the rope artist. What is it, this need to call one self an Artist?