The art of drawing the sword in an instant, and dispatching an enemy swiftly and cleanly. A neccessary part of the samurai’s arsenal, but not practical for the modern era. So iaido is more a study of polishing the self, cutting down the demons within, but always with the traditional spirit of the samurai.
Whilst iaido uses the sword as a tool for developing ones-self through the study of dispatching an opponent, iaijutsu is the study of the manner by which an enemy is dispatched.
It can be likened to picking up an egg. If one carefully picked the egg up without damaging it and preserving it through a considered approach – this would be iaido.
But if the approach to the egg was direct, and instead of picking the egg up it was smashed instantly, this would be the iaijutsu aspect. Whilst there is some iaido in iaijutsu, there is also iaijutsu in iaido – this is In-Yo, or Ying-Yang – both studies are valid in the modern world, but todays sword is replaced by confidence, preservation, honour and intention without the need for arrogance or ego.
Iai is mostly performed solo, as a series of kata, executing varied techniques against single or multiple imaginary opponents. Each kata begins and ends with the sword sheathed. Students are often recommended to practice kendo to preserve that fighting feeling, and it is common for high ranking kendoka to hold a high rank in iaido and vice versa.
Practitioners learn posture and movement, grip and how to swing a real sword. Sometimes students will practice partner kata (Tachi uchi no kata, Kurai and Tsumeai no kurai). Unlike kendo, iaido is never practised in a free-sparring manner.
At Tsubaki, we follow the study of Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu iaijutsu – Yamauchi-ha; as taught by Honda Masayoshi Sensei, Jyushin Jyuku (Menkyo Kaiden). His teacher was Oueno Sensei, 21st Soke of the style. This line recognises Oueno Sensei as the last Soke of the Yamauchi-ha.
One other dojo following this style is located in Kent.
You must be over 14 years old to study iaido/iaijutsu at Tsubaki.
If you are interested, please contact us.