Iaido Testimonials

"I really enjoy how Iaido sharpens your mind and body in a totally different way from other sports and martial arts. It offers a fresh perspective that I have been able to apply not only to my own life but to the way I lead my men and approach the constantly evolving challenges we encounter here." 

- Anthony (US Army Lieutenant)
Colorado Springs, CO

"Shortly after I moved to Colorado I began searching for a martial arts school to continue my training. I was looking for a high quality traditional program with strong roots and good people. I was extremely pleased when I found Castle Rock IAIDO. The teaching is top quality and the atmosphere is focused, respectful, and enjoyable. I look forward to every training and take away something valuable every time."
- Matt
Highlands Ranch, CO

I’ve been seeking a mental and physical challenge that forces me to leave the workplace behind. Iaido provides that challenge while developing a strong martial spirit... Iwakabe Sensei’s instruction is demanding, but also very patient and encouraging.  It cultivates physical and mental strength, discipline, and precision in an environment of camaraderie and mutual commitment. Time spent in the dojo is the high point of my week, but this is a life long journey. 
- Martin (US Navy)
Colorado Springs, CO

Iaido training at Castle Rock IAIDO is the best two hours of my week. Iwakabe Sensei's knowledge, teaching expertise, and sense of humor enhance the traditional spirit of this dojo.  I truly appreciate and enjoy the focus and discipline that iaido requires. A great group to train with!
- Bill
Colorado Springs, CO

Iaido has given me a break from my busy schedule and allowed me a chance to work on not only my shyness, but my confidence as well. The art itself is beautiful and something I've wanted to practice for a long time. The class is focused and full of rigor, yet welcoming and patient towards beginners like myself.
- Jennifer
Highlands Ranch, CO

(Iaido) is just what I have been looking for!
- Robert
Larkspur, CO

I feel very fortunate to have found Castle Rock IAIDO and to be a student of Iwakabe Sensei. For me, Iaido has the right combination of mental and physical demands.  Each form requires continous concentration and precise coordination and timing.  Every class is different and after each class I leave with a deeper understanding of the art.  Iaido practice has become an integral part of my daily exercise.
- Stephen
Castle Pines, CO

I can see how Iaido can carry over to the rest of my life with a self-contained pursuit of constant improvement.  Iaido also gives me a much needed outlet of physical and mental exertion, and time to focus on myself in a stressful work week and career.
- Anders
Castle Rock, CO

Iwakabe Senei is a fantastic instructor.  She's patient, but demanding; commanding, but kind; has a great sense of humor and is a fantastic communicator.  The class attracts really nice people.  It's so much fun and I always look forward to attending... especially in the winter time when there's less to do outside.
- Sean
Castle Rock, CO

Thank you for your passion, vision and resolve in the creation of the Castle Rock Iaido program...  You have enabled me to pursue a long-held dream of studying Iai.  I know I (can be) coarse and heavy-handed and it is my hope that Iai will assist me in some modest personal refinement. Your aesthetic awareness and appreciation for excellence has created a powerful environment of which you should be very proud.
- Peter
Castle Rock, CO 

You have a great school, wonderful instructors, and friendly group of students.
- Joey
Littleton, CO

Becoming a part of Castle Rock IAIDO is one of the best things I've ever done for myself. Iwakabe Sensei is a wonderful teacher; she has a lot of patience and relates concepts in a natural way, as well as supportive and encouraging. Class is extremely challenging, and has allowed me to become stronger and more flexible as a result. Great group of students as well. I look forward to each class.
- Tim
Denver, CO

I absolutely LOVE Iaido… Iwakabe Sensei (has) showed me a new world and I find when I am completely run down and stressed out, nothing recharges my batteries like Iaido.
- Matt
Aurora, CO

The class is super fun and I love it. You guys, are awesome.
- Steve
Aurora, CO

"Practicing Iaido is challenging and enjoyable. It's helped relieve my stress, improved my posture, and it's just plain cool to swing a sword while dressed like a samurai."

- John D.
Highlands Ranch, CO

I cannot be any more pleased with my progress. The instructors are incredible and very supportive and the atmosphere is extremely peaceful. I would recommend this dojo to anyone who wants to take up Iaido and aikido classes.

- Jahzeel
Pre-Med Student
Castle Rock, CO
Katana Instruction
Learn the Traditional Art of 
Japanese Swordsmanship - 'IAIDO'

Iaido is a distinct, non-combative form of martial arts intended to cultivate a practitioner’s spirit.  Unlike other sword arts, Iaido is generally practiced as a solo exercise or ‘tandoku keiko.’  Like Aikido, Iaido is purely a defensive martial practice.    

The art of Iaido involves four stages of sword mechanics: 

1. the draw (Nukitsuke)
2. the cutting action (Kirioroshi)
3. the removal of blood from the blade (Chiburi); and 
4. the return of the blade to its scabbard (Noto)  

In the proper practice of Iaido, each of these stages must be performed in an efficient manner and smoothly blended into a single unit of performance over which an unbroken state of relaxed alertness and awareness or ‘Zanshin’ is present.

Mastery of the art of Iaido is immensely challenging because the ultimate purpose of Iaido is to acquire the ability to win over your enemy without drawing your sword; that is, to spiritually conquer your opponent with your sword left in the sheath.  

About Iaido

Iaido (pronounced ‘ee’-‘yai’-‘doh’) is the traditional Japanese art of drawing, cutting, and retracting the Japanese samurai sword or 'katana.'  The word Iaido literally translates as "the way of mental presence and immediate reaction."  The art of Iaido is a product of Japan’s 17th and 18th century Edo-period, more commonly known by Americans as the era of the Shogun.
The Iaido Sword

Iaido is practiced by beginners, and those ranked 3rd degree black belt and below, with an unsharpened Japanese katana sword. This sword is called an Iaito (pronounced ‘ee’-‘eye’-‘toe’) and it is often made of a zinc/aluminum alloy or a similar substance.  Even though the blade of a Iaito is blunt, it is still very much capable of harming a person, so it must be handled with the utmost of care.
Some higher ranking black belts often use a real, live blade, called a Shinken, when practicing Iaido.  A good Iaito is identical or nearly identical in size, shape, weight, and decorative fittings and finishings to real Japanese samurai swords.  However, they are for practice only and are not suited for any form of martial combat.  To properly and safely practice Iaido, a student’s Iaito must fit them in length, weight, and balance.
The Iaido Uniform

The art of Iaido is practiced wearing a traditional martial arts uniform or 'keikogi' (pronounced 'kay'-'ko'-'ghee'), which includes the stylish pleated pants called a 'hakama.' Hakama were traditionally worn by samurai and courtiers during the Shogun period of Japan (1603-1868).  

The hakama is also worn by students of other Japanese martial arts including KendoKyudo (Japanese archery), and Aikido.  Aikido students who have reached a certain level of proficiency, for example, wear hakama.  However, in the art of Iaido, all students begin their training wearing a hakama.

Most hakama have seven pleats in them, five in the front, and two in the back.  Some contend that these seven pleats are symbolize the seven virtues of Bushido.
The 'sageo' (red cord pictured above) is tied to the 'saya' or scabbard of the sword on one end and to the Iaido student's 'obi' or belt at the right hip.  Proper control and manipulation of the sageo is an important aesthetic element in the art of Iaido.  

Our Iaido classes are separate from our Aikido program.  You do not have to be an Aikido student to take our Iaido classes.  Students can start training with us at any time.  Please fill out the short form below for class times, prices, and more information about our Iaido classes.

Click Here to learn more about our Iaido instructor, 4th degree black belt, Iwakabe, Monica Sensei.
First Name:
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Please come watch an Iaido class with us!
There is no financial commitment to completing this form.
No martial arts experience necessary
Now Enrolling new Students!
READ  From Iaijutstu to Iaido: The Evolution of a Killing Art to a Spiritual Discipline
Why Practice Iaido?

People choose to train Iaido for numerous and varied reasons.  Here are some of the most common ones:

  • You have always been enamored with samurai culture and you want to learn more about the art, philosophy, and discipline of Bushido.

  • You want to forge a powerful spirit of self-confidence within yourself and take that spirit deeper into your personal and work life.

  • You still want to practice a martial art, but think you may be too old or believe your body isn't up for a more dynamic activity.  You're never too old or too out-of-shape to begin Iaido.  There is no falling, no rolling, and no contact.  So injury is very rare.  This means you can still learn a fun, powerful martial art without having to go to the office the next morning covered in bruises!

  • You want to strengthen your muscular core in your back, torso, pelvis, legs and shoulder, but you want to do so in a fun way!

  • You want to improve your hand-eye coordination, balance, and graceful economy of movement.

  • You have a stressful work or home environment and you need a weekly mental escape.

  • You're looking for a martial art that you can practice just one evening per week!

Through Iaido training, you can learn to project a powerful aura in everyday situations.  In time, you can cultivate a commanding confidence and demanding respect of and within yourself by mastering your physical body and projecting it to the world.  Please come see what our program has to offer you.
The Purpose of Practicing Iaido

The purpose of practicing Iaido is:

To mold the mind and body;

To cultivate a vigorous spirit;

And, through correct and rigid training,

To strive for improvement in the art of Iaido;

To hold in esteem human courtesy and honor;

To associate with others with sincerity;
And, to forever pursue the cultivation of oneself.

This will make one be able 
to love his country and society;

To contribute to the development of culture;

And to promote peace 
and prosperity among all people.
iaido near denver
Instructional DVD
Iaido video iaido dvd
iaido instructional manual
Practice IAIDO on your own with this 
supplemental DVD and manual!
Call (720) 221-3665
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IAIDO Manual

Zen Nippon Kendo Renmei IAI
English Version Manual
2014 version
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IAI: All Japan Kendo Federation

Planning, Production & Supervision 
by the 
All Japan Kendo Federation
All 12 Basic Seitei Iai Kata
From the DVD's back cover:

In 1969, the All Japan Kendo Federation established a set of seven Iai forms incorporated from vaious schools and added three new forms in 1980, resulting in a set of ten.  In the year 2000, two new forms were added to the set.  this video introduces the main point of each of the 12 forms, with special emphasis on the newly introduced Jippon-me (So-giri) and Junihon-me (Nuki-uchi), comparing common mistakes with the correct movements.  There's also a model demonstration at the end which expresses "Ki-ken-tai-itchi" - an ideal state achieved when spirit, sword and body are united in harmony.

Iai do Kyoshi 8th Dan, Noboru Ogura

DVD contents:

How to Enter the Dojo
How to Bow to Your Sword (Opening)
How to Grip Your Sword

Form 1: Ipponme - Mae (Front)
Form 2: Nihonme - Ushiro (Rear)
Form 3: Sanbonme - Ukenagashi 
Form 4: Yohonme - Tsuka Ate

Standing Set
Form 5: Gohonme - Kesagiri 
Form 6: Ropponme - Morotezuki 
Form 7: Nanahonme - Sanpogiri
Form 8: Happonme - Ganmen Ate
Form 9: Kyuhonme - Soete Zuki
Form 10: Jupponme - Shihogiri
Form 11: Ju Ipponme - Sougiri
Form 12: Ju Nihonme - Nukiuchi

How to Exit the Dojo
Common Mistakes & Remedies
How to Bow to Your Sword (Closing)
Instructional Summation

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Manual Contents:

General Etiquette & Opening Formalities
Performance: Execution of Forms

Kneeling Set (Seiza No Bu)
Form 1: Ipponme - Mae (Front)
Form 2: Nihonme - Ushiro (Rear)
Form 3: Sanbonme - Ukenagashi 
(Receive, Parry & Cut)
Form 4: Yohonme - Tsuka Ate
(Striking with the Hilt)

Standing Set
Form 5: Gohonme - Kesagiri 
(Diagonal Cut)
Form 6: Ropponme - Morotezuki 
(Two-Hand Thrust)
Form 7: Nanahonme - Sanpogiri
(Three Direction Cut)
Form 8: Happonme - Ganmen Ate
(Hit to the Face)
Form 9: Kyuhonme - Soete Zuki
(Joined Hand Thrust)
Form 10: Jupponme - Shihogiri
(Four Direction Cut)
Form 11: Ju Ipponme - Sougiri
(Complete Cuts)
Form 12: Ju Nihonme - Nukiuchi
(Sudden Draw)

Additional Protocol Explanations
Points for Grading and Refereeing
Sword Anatomy
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IAIDO Manual
English Narration, Length approx. 48 minutes  
Paperback: 50 pages  
Renowned Japanese martial artist, Nakayama Hakudo (1873-1958 ), is generally credited with coining the term Iaido and is the founder of the style of Iaido practiced in Castle Rock called  Muso-Shinden-Ryu

Below is a short video of some beginner and intermediate level students performing some basic Iaido forms or kata.
Serving Douglas County and the South Denver Metro Area
Below is some old film of Muso-shinden Ryu's founder, 
Nakayama Hakudo Sensei performing Iaido.
Iaido Denver
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Traditional Japanese Swordsmanship for Adults
Castle Rock IAIDO
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