Bastinado: The Art of Foot Torture

I personally love this feeling, can be a great addition to impact play. Please do your research before attempting anything new, and use the correct tool for the job.

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An Abbreviated History of Bastinado

There are a few names for this specific sort of foot torture: “falanga, falaq” or “falaka” which originate from the Persian gulf area, and “bastinado”, from Europe, which literally translated means “to beat with a stick”.

Bastinado was used during the Inquisition. It is still used as a disciplinary measure in China, and is considered the equivalent of a western spanking. Iran is still a modern-day user of bastinado as a torture method, beginning with wooden sticks and varying in size and structure up to even lead pipes. The less you scream, apparently, the more severe the implements choice.

The Turks used bastinado as a form of punishment, and introduced it to the Greeks. It was used in schools in Greece, as well as in the army, and it is rumoured that it is still used by the secret police there, albeit illegally. Generally the feet are tied on a long rod (sometimes two rods were used-feet held between them) while being held by two other persons. In the army the feet were tied on a gun.

Additionally, it was used among the North American Indians when they captured and enslaved other tribes, to keep their captors in line. However, they took it a degree further, and cut the soles of the feet with knives, making

grooves which would prolong the healing process.

Bamboo provides a bastinado scene you’ll never forget. We can thank the Chinese for taking bamboo whipping and elevating it to “fine art” status. During the Manchu dynasty bastinado was practiced by ‘enforcers’ using very long and thin canes. Bastinado was not only about force; in fact these enforcers could strike the feet hundreds of times without ever cutting the skin. They could also draw blood with as little as three strikes. They achieved such skill by practicing on a block of bean curd, which has the consistency of heavy custard. Their skill was at its height when they were able to strike the bean curd repeatedly without ever breaking the surface of it.

The Physiology of Bastinado

Please keep in mind that feet are extremely delicate. They contain many bones and tissues that can be damaged permanently with only the slightest amount of effort. There are a multitude of nerve endings in the feet. These endings can affect nerves that run not only in the feet themselves, but throughout the body, as many nerves in the human anatomy have their endings in the extremities. It is not difficult to cause severe injury, not only in the feet, where walking or standing may be affected short-term, long-term, or even permanently – but in other areas of the body as well via the feet.

Bastinado and Modern BDSM

So you know what not to do, now on to what you can do. Small canes and switches work wonders. I have also experienced bastinado via rubber hoses, thicker canes, belts and bundled florist wire. This should be done lightly and with caution. It’s not particularly difficult to break the more delicate bones in the feet. Some choose to pad or protect the joints of the toes and ankles, and the whole area of the foot excepting the sole may be covered and padded to avoid accidental striking of an unintended location. This isn’t bad advice, particularly for beginners to this sort of activity. In essence, stick to instruments that produce a stinging effect, rather than a thuddy one. The goal is not to bruise the feet or leave marks on them, but to create varied sensations. Alternating with heat, ice, fur mitts, curry-combs used for grooming horses, smooth, cold large stones rubbed on the foot, sandpaper – the possibilities are endless in terms of providing contrasting sensations for the subject of your foot torture.

The strokes to the feet should be light and swift, you don’t want to proceed as if you’re swinging a baseball bat here. In doing BDSM bastinado for the first time, remember to keep it short. Lengthy sessions of such activity can result in your subject being unable to walk in the morning. If you should err, please do so on the side of caution!

From One Who Enjoys Receiving Bastinado:

Personally I like a fairly substantial cane, used with swift repetition, beginning very lightly and increasing in intensity. I also like wire hangers and the previously mentioned florist wire. Florist wire comes in a variety of sizes, and the smaller sizes allow one to provide the sting with relatively little likelihood of long-lasting injury. Though it is amusing to my dominant to see me get up out of bed, having forgotten the on-goings of the night before, and tumble once my feet touch the ground.

In Summary:

A lot of it boils down to simple common sense. Do a little research on foot anatomy, and get to know where the nerves, bones, joints and tissues are. You can’t be too careful or too light on feet that are unaccustomed to this practice. Listen to your subject and watch his/her reactions. And by all means, enjoy!

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