Iaido Information

August 14th, 2014 Leave a comment Go to comments
Application of kata being taught

Application of kata being taught

Iaido is the way of drawing and using the Japanese sword. It has no sporting side to it in the way that kendo encourages the students to strike each other with bamboo swords. Iaido, by its very nature is usually practiced alone, under the watchfull eye of a Sensei or senior (sempai). The training usually involves three main areas which normally include kihon(basics), kata(sequences), and application.Other elements of the training include pair-form training and Sumotogiri(tameshigiri, or test cutting).

Chris with Fukoshima sensei

Chris with Fukoshima sensei

 

Formal codified Iaido developed in the 16th century. This type of koryu Iai included many more strategical and physical elements, including jujitsu, armour grappling, the use of different sized blades, small blades usage, battle field fortification and military strategy. Other elements were taught as well, depending on the particular ryu(school). Hayashizaki Jinsuke Shigenobu(b.1549) is the founder of many of the modern styles, including the well known Muso Jikiden Eishin ryu and Muso shinden ryu.

Chris Teaching Iaido in Ireland

Chris Teaching Iaido in Ireland

The style which I train in is Muso Shinden ryu which evolved over the generations to the 17th grandmaster-Nakayama Hakudo(Hokushin).Nakayama Hakudo sensei was the driving force behind the founding of the modern collective group of Iaido kata known as the ‘Kendo toho’. More importantly he organised the group which designed the modern ZNKR Seitei kata. The commitee was made up of:

- Danzaki Tomoaki, 9 th Dan Hanshi, Muso Shinden Ryu
- Yamatsuta Jukichi, 9 th Dan Hanshi, Muso Shinden Ryu
- Yamamoto Harusuke, 9 th Dan Hanshi, Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu
- Masaoka Kazumi, 9 th Dan Hanshi, Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu
- Muto Shuzo, Hanshi, 9 th Dan Hanshi, Hasegawa Eishin Ryu
- Kamimoto Eichi, 9 th Dan Hanshi, Hasegawa Eishin Ryu
- Yoshizawa Ikki, 9 th Dan Hanshi, Hoki Ryu
- Tsumaki Seirin, 8 th Dan Kyoshi, Tamiya Ryu
- Suetsugo Tomezo 8 th Dan Kyoshi, Muso Shinden Ryu
- Nukada Hisashi, 8 th Dan Kyoshi, Muso Shinden Ryu
- Ohmura Tadaji, 8 th Dan Kyoshi, Muso Shinden Ryu
- Sawayama Shuzo 8 th Dan Kiyoshi, Hoki Ryu

It is this group of kata(sequences) which is popular throughout the world today. The original seven kata grew to ten in 1980, where the commitee was composed of:
- Danzaki Tomoaki, 9 th Dan Hanshi, Muso Shinden Ryu
- Kamimoto Eichi, 9 th Dan Hanshi, Muso Shinden Ryu
- Hashimoto Masatake, 9 th Dan Hanshi, Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu
- Wada Hachiro, 8 th Dan Hanshi, Muso Shinden Ryu
- Mitani Yoshisato, 8 th Dan Hanshi, Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu
- Sawayama Shuzo, 8 th Dan Hanshi, Hoki Ryu .

There was a major change to the kata in 1988 when some technical re-structuring occurred. Finally in 2000 two further kata were added.

Iaido today, even in koryu(old school) dojo is taught mainly from the point of view of the development of the individual, where the path to perfecting

Tameshigiri in Japan

Tameshigiri in Japan

the waza is more important than technical compliance. This being said, the path involves a detailed look at strategies which at their core are designed to be used to kill hostile opponents. Behind every innocent looking block or pull, their usually lurks a slice, or artery severing movement.

Modern Iaido concentrates on kata which always include four main elements. ‘Nukitsuke’ is the initial draw and cut. This is followed by ‘Kiritsuke’- the follow up cuts (sometimes including sudome). The third phase is the symbolic shaking off of the blood or bits, which is known as ‘Chiburi’. The final phase is ‘noto’-the resheathing of the blade.

In Iaido classes usually Seitei is taught as it allows students to master the basics and train with each other throughout the world. Classes then go on to teach a ‘Koryu’style which is much more involved. In North London I teach Seitei, Toho, and the Omori, Hasagawa Eishin, Okuden, and kumitachi from Muso Shinden ryu. Classes are taught in a manner which usually include kihon-the basic training, kata-the strategies, and application. Application involves working with the bokken(wooden sword) on the finer points of the kata in a pair-form situation.Nakayama Hakudo taught Danzaki sensei, who in turn taught some of my sensei, including Fukoshima sensei, Takayama sensei, Yanagihara sensei, and Matsubara sensei.

  1. Duncan Williams
    April 1st, 2017 at 17:40 | #1

    I’m interested in starting Iaido with a view to learning Bushido and Test cutting. I live in Apsley
    and work in East London so training anywhere in London or Herts is possible.

    Many thanks

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