Know About Iaido Iaido, as approximately translated in English means “the way of harmonizing oneself in action”.

Iaido is one of the modern forms of Japanese martial art, more precisely swordsmanship, which first originated around 19 !. "he crux of Iaido lies in #ris$, smooth and controlled mo%ement of drawing the sword out of the sca##ard, attac$ing the opponent with a direct stri$e or slash, ta$ing off the #lood from the sword and replacing the sword #ac$ in the sca##ard. &lthough, the techni'ues of drawing swords ha%e #een pre%alent in older periods of Japan, the importance of Iaido lies in its genesis of emphasizing more on the philosophical or spiritual component of martial art, where greater importance is gi%en to self impro%ement, #oth mental and physical than on com#at. Iaido and Zen "he practitioner of Iaido is $nown as Iaido$a. &n Iaido$a wields a sword, not with the offensi%e purpose to attac$ the opponent #ut more with the intention to control himself(herself. "his martial art is practiced using forms, or )ata. "he Iaido$a performs $ata against single or multiple imaginary opponents. &lthough, the performance of $atas has imaginary opponents, it ne%er comprises of sparring com#at mo%ements. &s the emphasis of this martial art is more on controlled, fluid and precise mo%ements, it is sometimes also referred to as “mo%ing *en”. "he Iaido$a practice to prepare themsel%es for a surprise attac$. "he o#+ecti%e of Iaido is to do away with all the unnecessary steps and attain proficiency in deli%ering a prompt, controlled and effecti%e response to aggression. It re'uires the harmony of all mental and physical faculties of the practitioner. "he continued effort of Iaido$a is to attain this mental and physical #alance, which ena#les him(her to get control o%er the senses and #ecome extremely recepti%e to the surrounding. "he )ata is performed more li$e a meditati%e dance, where a proficient Iaido$a,s mo%ements are in total harmony with the surrounding and is well aware of his(her en%ironment. -tmost care is gi%en to each aspect of Iaido$a, including the posture, mo%ement, grip and swing of the sword. Different from kenjutsu or kendo Iaido differs from other sword arts such as $en+utsu and $endo. )en+utsu is a more com#ati%e %ersion of swordsmanship, while $endo, which e%ol%ed from the former, is the Japanese form of fencing. Iaido is the least com#ati%e. .hile Iaido focuses on drawing the sword, stri$ing and replacing it decisi%ely, )endo teaches techni'ues that #egin after the sword is drawn. Iaido gear /ractitioners of Iaido are typically dressed in traditional Japanese gear called ha$ama, a dress with pleats, an o#i which is a #elt and $ei$ogi which translates into training uniform. "he swords used %ary #etween Iaito, 0unsharpened1 and shin$en 0sharpened real #lades1. 2ome #eginners use wooden swords to practice.

Rankings 3uch li$e other forms of Japanese martial arts, Iaido has a dan system of ran$ings. "he only difference is the a#sence of colored #elts. /ractitioners ta$e up teaching not #efore they reach the fifth dan le%el. "he $yu system is also used in some schools or do+os, #ut also as a form of moti%ation to youngsters. Shu ha ri &s in most Japanese art forms, the concept of 2hu ha ri is also applied to Iaido. 2hu ha ri literally means the three stages of 4o#eying,, 4meandering, and 4separating,. It refers to the stages of progress a pupil ma$es #efore gaining mastery o%er Iaido. 5i is the highest le%el signifying freedom. 6ew e%entually get there, and if they do, it ta$es a decade or so of practice to achie%e it. History and roots of Iaido &lthough, the term and form is that Iaido appeared only in 19 !, it does ha%e its roots in the feudal era of Japan. Iai+utsu, which was a popular form of swordsmanship during the #attling times of Japan, is $nown to #e the parent of Iaido. &lthough, the exact origin of Iai+ustsu is hard to place, the techni'ues to draw the )atana 0traditional Japanese sword1 out of its sca##ard has #een in practice since the 7ara period 0819:89;1. Modern Era of Iaido "he &ll Japan )endo 6ederation 0&J)61 in 19<= created the standard set of Iaido $nown as “*en 7ippon )endo 5enmei Iaido”. "here are fi%e forms of Iaido which #asically originate from fi%e ma+or schools of Iaido> • • • • • 3aegiri 3uso Ji$iden Eishin:ryu *engogiri 3ugai:ryu )iriage 2hindo 3unen:ryu 2hihogiri 2uio:ryu )issa$igaeshi ?o$i:ryu

Contests @ontemporary Iaido is treated as a competiti%e sport and "he &ll Japan )endo 6ederation organizes many regular contests. "he European )endo 6ederation also organizes annual Iaido championships.

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