Iaido (pronounced ‘ee’-‘yai’-‘doh’) is the traditional Japanese art of drawing, cutting, and sheathing 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. 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.
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(s) (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, exacting 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.
The Iaido Sword
Iaido is practiced by beginners, and those 3rd degree black belt, 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, but are not suited for any form of martial combat.
Why Practice Iaido?
People choose to train Iaido for numerous and varied reasons. Here are some of the more 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.
- 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. Come see what our program has to offer.
Why Practice Jodo?
The main purpose of Jodo lies in defeating the opponent without attacking. It’s spirit is not to injure the opponent, but to utilize the techniques thereby demonstrating the true versatility of the weapon. The meaning of this spirit lies outside the normal understanding of the traditional “combat” image. Learning and studying Jodo is in effect training your mind and body. What one learns is not only dexterity of movement, but also development of the spirit. The protective, self-defense benefits derived from Jodo training are obvious, but those thought to be of greatest value are less so. They include:
- the development of courtesy, truthfulness, sincerity and patience;
- the body becomes stronger and more active;
- improved posture and more efficient breathing;
- you gain self-confidence and project such outwardly;
- you cultivate a better sense of judgment in everyday life; and
- you will have better overall relationships with others.