Saburau – The Warrior’s Path of Service
Presented by Toshi (“Ronin” / T”)
Friday May 13, 2011 – doors open at 7:30pm

The samurai rose to power as the elite ruling caste of Japan, yet their title is derived from the word saburau, meaning to attend or to serve.

Whether you identify as dominant or submissive, top or bottom, master or slave, this workshop is designed to introduce you to various aspects of deeply interconnected and service-oriented interpersonal relationships as they have been successfully practiced for centuries.

Starting with a simple overview of the social and cultural constructs and aesthetics in which Japanese interpersonal relationships and practices of service are based, we will then look at the concept of the ideal of service as a fundamental core value and as a living practice of mindfulness that extends to and can greatly benefit every aspect of one’s waking existence.

We will discuss ways of maintaining a positive and harmonious balance in power-exchange relationships by exploring and addressing the basic and practical needs of those in the relationship, and some of the external factors that can affect how those relationships function.

We will cover the concept of Omotenashi and some basic strategies on how to develop and implement varying levels of anticipatory service, and ways in which the right mindset and effort can lead to acts of service both fulfilling and sublime.

We will explore elements of a code of ethics designed to teach warriors how to live a virtuous life of honor and dutiful service while paying attention to the practical considerations, decisions, and responsibilities they faced in everyday life.

We will also take a look at the living practice of being an uchideshi, or in-house apprentice. This will include their responsibilities and duties but we’ll also look at ideally what they are gaining through the experience.

Ultimately we will be discussing the benefits and challenges of applying all of these aspects to contemporary D/s relationships and how these practices might be of value on a much larger scale within the Leather/BDSM/Kink communities.

Presenter Bio(s)

Toshi (“Ronin” / T”) is a professional educator and performing artist with decades of training in traditional Japanese arts. With this background, T is able to speak to and share insights from a lifelong path to mastery replete with disciplined service and strict protocols – and that’s not even the kinky stuff! Never knowing there were events to go to and communities of people who shared similar interests until stumbling into an online chat room, T finally came out as a leatherdyke in the Southern California community in 1995. Yearning for a familiar path, T initially sought out training as a bottom and service submissive, earning leathers through acts of devoted service and occasionally assisting with event planning and production!. During that time T also sought out and found Elders and mentors within the community in L.A., and from members of the online community (seriously!), which basically meant from real leatherfolk scattered all over the country.

Collared for a time until an amicable parting of ways in 1998, T planned to leave all things Leather behind, except chatting with leatherfolk online, until finding the Vancouver Leatherdyke community (again, via the internet) in 2002. This opened up a whole new world of possibilities and T came out again as a genderqueer boigrrl polyamorous leatherdyke switch shortly thereafter. Before long, T was occasionally helping with event planning and production again, but also performing more at events, and occasionally stunt-bottoming for friends who were presenters. After some serious consideration, T decided to offer what would become a very popular workshop designed around the ergonomics of Impact Play. This led to an opportunity to develop more workshops which then led to an exploration of how all the different aspects of T’s cultural background and artistic path occasionally clashed with and otherwise synergistically integrated with T’s Leather life in beautiful, gratifying, and compelling ways.
Balancing passion, spirituality, and a mellow sense of humor, T has done workshops and performances for smaller community groups and organizations, and has more recently performed and/or presented at a number of venues and larger events. This includes Pacific Friction, Wicked Womyn, KinkFest, Desire, Lupercalia, Leather Life NM, and Venus’ Playground @ Folsom. T has also been invited to perform and present at IMsL this year and to drum for Fakir & Cleo’s Spirit+Flesh 2011 Ritual.

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