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About Iaido

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.


Sword Parts

  • 1) To shin(sword blade)
  • 2) Nakago(tang)
  • 5) Nakagojiri(tang butt)
  • 6) Mei(signature)
  • 7) Mekugi ana(rivet hole)
  • 8) Yasurime(file marks)
  • 10) Hamon(temper pattern)
  • 11) Ha(blade)
  • 12) Yakiba(tempered edge)
  • 13) Ji(blade surface above tempered pattern)
  • 14) Monoda(striking area)
  • 15) Shinogi(sword blade ridge)
  • 16) Shinogiji(blade surface above ridge line)
  • 17) Mune(back of blade)
  • 18) Sori(measure of curvature)
  • 19) Yokote suji(line dividing point from body)
  • 20) Omo(thickness)
  • 21) Mihaba(width)
  • 22) Mitsukado(triangle)
  • 23) Kisaki(point)
  • 24) Boshi(point temper pattern)
  • 25) Fikura(curve)
  • 26) Koshinogi(ridge line close to point)
  • 27) Kaeri(turning back of point temper pattern)
  • 28) Tsuka(hilt)
  • 29) Kashira(butt cap)
  • 30) Same(stingray skin)
  • 31) Tsukaito(hilt binding)
  • 32) Menuki(hilt ornaments)
  • 33) Mekugi(bamboo peg)
  • 34) Fuchi(collar)
  • 35) Seppa(washer)
  • 36) Tsuba(sword guard)
  • 37) Habaki(blade sleeve)

Scabbard parts