Iaido

Bob Hubbard

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From the rec.martialarts FAQ

(Contributor: Al Bowers - [email protected])

Intro: The Art of drawing the sword for combat.

Origin: Japan

History:

This art is very old, and has strong philosophical and historical ties
to Kenjutsu. It was practiced by Japanese warriors for centuries.

Description:

The object is to draw the sword perfectly, striking as it is drawn,
so that the opponent has no chance to defend against the strike.

Training:

Usually practiced in solo form (kata), but also has partner forms
(kumetachi).

Sub-Styles: Muso Shinden Ryu, Muso Jikishin Ryu, and others.
 

arnisador

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Most modern styles include the practice of the standardized seitai iaido, 12 techniques drawn from and representative of various styles. It was only 10 when I studied iaido! They added two.
 
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Bob Hubbard

Bob Hubbard

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Wow. Still wish I could find a school local to me that does it. Closest is in Canada, and Syracuse. Too far on my schedule. :(

Have heard its great for medatative work.
 

arnisador

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Originally posted by Kaith Rustaz
Still wish I could find a school local to me that does it. Closest is in Canada, and Syracuse. Too far on my schedule.

Syracuse is where I studied it, under a Goju-ryu instructor who competed in weapons forms using the katana. He taught me the 10 techniques of seitai iaido. Great instructor all around (Sensei V. Grace). Not to tease you but yes I really enjoyed it.
 

Mao

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I studied Kogen Itto Ryu some years ago. We began offering Iaido at the school recently. Most of us are using Paul Chen swords. We also practice kumitachi in aikido. Fun stuff. Good for posture, timing, focus, speed and other attributes.
 

Yari

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Originally posted by Kaith Rustaz
Description:

The object is to draw the sword perfectly, striking as it is drawn,
so that the opponent has no chance to defend against the strike.


I don't totally agree on that. But that's more because Iaido has become something more that just a form to learn to kill. It has to do with what happend to MA in japan from around 16XX up to 1815. Even the name wasn't iaido before the tokugawa(sp?) periode. I've read that Hayasuizake Jinsule Shingenbu (1546 - 1621) Shinmei Muso Ryu ,has been credited for founding the system modern iaido is practiced by(iaido consists today of maney different styles, which are reflected in each "kata"). Since japan in this periode was in "peace", zen and other philosphies (sp?) were to influence MA alot. So today we see a very different kind of "iaido" than then, and for me it's more a question of timing than to draw perfectly. I would say that there is no technice, but just correct timing, corresponding movement and correct mind. But that's a totally different thread.
This was more on the mind aspect of it.

The more technical part:
Note that not all the iado katas draw first, some of them do an atemi first, before draw. And not all katas strike(cut) upon draw.
So techincal speaking it isn't correct to say that it's about to draw first., and that there is a cut in the draw.

I'm no expert, and just telling what I learned, so if anybody knows differently , please inform.
 
R

Ronin

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Anyone ever study Shinkendo I took if for a brief time and enjoyed it.
 

arnisador

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If memory serves, in addition to the standard katana there was a "dai-gatana" or the like that was four feet long. Did one use the same kenjutsu technques with this, or was it a separate art?
 

Charles Mahan

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Don't overstate the "peacetime" nature of the pax tokugawa. Small scale conflicts, political intrigue, and the prevelance of dueling meant that the arts were still practiced for practical reasons.

Iaido is nothing more and nothing less than striking down your opponent before he strikes you down. It is meant as both a reactive and preemptive form of attack, preferably preemptive. As such the fundamental precept in most forms of iai is "Saya no Uchi". A simple term translated literally as "inside the saya". This term has many implications.

One of it's meanings is that the battle should be won before the sword is ever drawn. In other words if your reputation as a strong iai man and your physical presence is strong enough to overcome your opponents willingness to fight, then you have won the battle without needing to spill blood. Or perhaps you have intimidated your opponent enough that he fumbles his own draw or in some other way hesitates allowing you to strike him down with impunity.

There are probably dozens of ways to interpret "saya no uchi", but perhaps the most relevant to technique, is that the cut begins while the sword is still inside the saya. In MJER, this means the sword litterally begins it's arcing cut with the kissaki still just inside the saya. The left hand is responsible for pulling the saya out of the way as the cut is taking off. Tricky concept to really get down, and one of the primary reasons most MJER students don't start with a live blade for several years after shodan.

"Saya no Uchi" is the key to understanding what seperates Iai from kenjutsu.

I suspect "yaido" is a mistranslation.
 

Charles Mahan

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I can't really speak to other styles or organizations, but within the Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu Seitokai, in which I am a member, the use of a shinken is usually started in the 5 to 6 year time frame at around 4th or 5th dan. Sometimes sooner. Sometimes later. Depends on the instructor and the student. MJER does not have kyu ranks, as a result Shodan comes at around a year to a year and a half and indicates that the student has demonstrated a genuine desire to learn the ryu.

In my dojo, the five 4th dans all have between 5 and 7 years of experience. Around 6th dan the time between dan rankings grows drastically. All of our 4th dans have been encouraged by sensei to purchase and use live blades, although as of yet only two of us have been able to swing the $1500+ for a decent blade.
 

arnisador

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My iaido instructor let me play with one for a few days after about a year, but just a taste.

Was this common hundreds of years ago--samurai would train with a live blade only after many years of practice? I suppose they started pretty young back then.
 
K

Kempo Guy

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In our ryu we start with live blades right away. Having said that the first few months include training almost exclusively in reigi, noto and various kamae (with bokken)...

KG
 
R

Reprobate

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At our TSKSR dojo, most junior students learn the iai-kata with a bokken. There is a dojo-iaito - old, cheap and battered - for practice before a student acquires his/her iaito.

Since we do not practice tameshigiri in our dojo, a shinken is not necessary for iai, but senior students are allowed to use a shinken instead of iaito. Students with iaito/shinken practice to the front, junior students with bokken behind them [but not in line!], so they can watch and mimick the advanced students.

Generally, the advice given is to start with a iaito after reaching 'senior' level, since a sword can be fastened better when a student wears hakama [juniors don't wear hakama]. If, however, a junior student has a iaito, he is allowed to use it in iai practice.

All iaito/shinken are subjected to examination by the instructor to ascertain they conform to the safety regulations in our dojo.
 

Charles Mahan

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I understand that it was not uncommon for iaidoka to begin with wood and then quickly transfer to katana which had had the edge removed. After the student is deemed capable of not seriously injuring himself, he was switched to live steel. I suspect this happened sooner in the "good old days" in part because there was more free time to practice, and in part because it was necessary to get people up to speed faster so the tolerance for injury was a bit higher.
 

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