Iaido is a non-combative martial art that involves no direct physical contact or combat with other individuals in the Dojo. Practitioners perform patterns, called “Kata,” that represent confrontational situations where he or she is attacked by one or more opponents. Almost all patterns are solo; that is, there is no physical enemy. There are some two-person Kata, but these are choreographed, with one person defending against a pre-defined series of attacks. Solo Kata involve drawing the sword, making one or more cuts, cleaning the blade, and returning the sword to the scabbard with concentration and focus.

Iaido is, perhaps, the most philosophically oriented of all Japanese martial arts, but it is also one of the least understood. One reason for this may be that the practical aspects of the art overshadow its true essence: perfection of character through commitment to martial practice. Iaido is much more than learning how to use a sword. It is, primarily, about non-combative physical and mental discipline. The true essence of Iaido is in its emphasis on fostering peace within an individual by learning to use the sword as a tool for self-realization.

What this says is that Iaido is not about learning to use a sword on physical enemies but, instead, to use it to develop a strong understanding of who you are and how your actions affect yourself and your environment. With this understanding comes a more developed ability to identify what elements of your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours you can change to improve your interactions with your environment and your understanding of yourself.

Though commonly known as the “The Sword Drawing Art”, translated literally the word “Iaido” means “The Art of Fitting into All Life’s Situations.” When we practice Iaido, we focus our minds on the moment and attempt to exclude all interfering thoughts. This intense focus on the perfection of all one’s motions, without mental or emotional distraction, in order to achieve calm, unimpeded awareness is the aspect of the art that is easily lost on someone who concentrates only on the physical technique as means to a practical, physical outcome. Iaido is an art of building one’s own character through constant practice and discipline, rather than of overcoming others through exercise of physical skill. The struggles we have with ourselves in our daily practice often mirror those we face in our daily lives. Take in this context, Iaido can be thought of as a metaphor for our lives. Those who understand this will find the practice of Iaido a way to change themselves and, ultimately, their lives.

Below are examples of Iaido Kata as demonstrated by Goyo Ohmi NanaDan and Kimberly Taylor NanaDan

ZNKR Iai Manual 2009

ZNKR Iai Manual Dec 2009-1

Articles on Iaido

Tachi Uchi no Kurai

Omori Ryu By Kim Taylor

Riai and Technique 2009

The Three Attacking Points on the Sword

What Kata Are Not by Peter Boylan

ZNKR Iaido Points for Grading and Refereeing By Kim Taylor, CI Sei Do Kai Guelph ON, Nanadan

ZNKR Iaido Points for Grading and Refereeing 2012

1. Ippon Mae Mae 2012

2. Nihon Mae Ushiro 2012

3, Sanbon Mae Uke Nagashi 2012

4. Yohon Mae Tsuka Ate 2012

5. Gohon Mae Kesa Geri 2012

6. Rappon Morote Tsuki 2012

7. Nahahon Mae Sanpo Geri 2012

8. Happon Mae Gamen Ate 2012

9. Kuppon Mae Soete Zuki 2012

10.Juppon Mae Shiho Giri 2012

11.Ju Ippon Mae Sou Giri 2012

12.Ju Nihon Mae Nuki Uchi 2012

Zen Ken Ren Iai(Seitei Gata Iai)

Tachi Uchi no Kurai

Iaido Registration: TBA

Haru Geiko April 2021 – TBA


Kim Taylor, Renshi, CI Sei Do Kai Guelph ON, Nanadan Iaido and Roukudan Jodo

Pamel Morgan Yondan CKF Iaido and Yondan CKF Jodo

Location Peterborough Multi Sport

The 2021 CKF International Spring Jodo and Iaido Seminar and Grading

University of Guelph, Ontario Canada, May 15 to 18


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