Iaido is a traditional Japanese martial art whose origins date back to the 16th century. It is organized into groups of prescribed movements which are practiced without a partner. Each of these techniques consists of drawing a sheathed sword, making one or more cuts and then re-sheathing the sword. Some techniques begin from a kneeling position, some from a standing position and most end with the practitioner standing. Emphasis on etiquette, repetition, proper posture, breathing and timing makes Iaido physically and mentally rigorous.
Iaido practice is done wearing a hakama, pleated flared trousers, and with a metal sword. Beginners and intermediate students use an iaito, a metal sword without a cutting edge. Most students practice Aikido for at least 6 month or are training in another martial art before starting Iaido. Permission of the Iaido instructor is required. Those interested in starting Iaido are welcome to come watch a class on Mondays or Wednesdays 4:45-5:45 PM.
At Portland Aikido we follow the teaching of Mistunari Kanai Sensei and his interpretation of the Muso Shinden Ryu style in addition to forms from other Iaido styles. From 1966 to 2004 Kanai Sensei was chief instructor of New England Aikikai in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Prior to his death in 2004 he gave his Iaido sword or shinken (a live blade with a cutting edge) to Claude Berthiaume, chief instructor of Aikido de la Montagne in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Berthiaume Sensei has dedicated himself to teaching Kanai Sensei's Iaido at seminars throughout North and South America and Europe. Per Kanai Sensei's wishes, Berthiaume Sensei founded Kiyoikaze Iaido Federation to carry on Kanai Sensei's legacy. Portland Aikido is a member of Kiyoikaze Iaido Federation (KIF) and our Iaido students attend several KIF seminars per year. Berthiaume Sensei comes to our dojo every October to teach Iaido and administer Iaido tests.
SOME IAIDO TERMS
- Iaido the way of Japanese sword drawing
- Ryu system of Japanese martial art or cultural art
- Katana long sword
- Iaito a metal sword without a cutting edge
- Shinken a metal sword with a cutting edge
- nuki-tsuke drawing the sword
- kiri-tsuke cutting with the sword
- chiburi removing blood from the blade
- noto sheathing the sword Sometimes a deflection called uke nagashi is part of the intial drawing of the sword.
- Shoden first tradition or kata of Muso Shinden Ryu style
- Chuden second tradition or kata of Muso Shinden Ryu style
- Okuden third tradition or kata of Muso Shinden Ryu style. Okuden kugesa starts from a seated position. Okuden tachiwaza starts from standing.
- Mae front
- Ushiro behind or back
- Migi right
- Hidari left
- Chudan no-kamae(also called segan) sword in front, held about 30 degrees above the horizontal plane
- Gedan no-kamae sword in front held about 60 degrees below the horizontal plane
- Jodan no-kamae sword held above head
- Hasso no-kamae sword held upright at side of face
- Waki no-kamae sword behind and slightly below or above horizontal plane depending on the side
- Seiza formal seated position. The Shoden kata uses seiza as a starting position.
- Tate-hiza seated position more advanced than seiza used in the Chuden and Okuden kugesa katas.
- Ichimonji-Giri horizontal cut
- Suichyoku-Giri vertical downward cut
- Kesa-Giri diagonal downward cut
- Joho-Giri diagonal upward cut
- Morote-tsuki forward thrust with sword
- Tsuka-ate strike with butt of hilt or sword handle
- 1) Kojiri - butt cap
- 2) Koiguchi - mouth band on open end of saya
- 3) Kurigata - cord retaining knob, chestnut-shaped projection on the omote(front) side of saya
- 4) Sageo - flat, braided cord attached to kurigata)