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WHAT IS IAIDŌ 居合道 ?

Iaidō is a Japanese martial art that emphasizes being aware and capable of quickly drawing the sword and responding to a sudden attack.

Iaido consists of four main components: the smooth, controlled movements of drawing the sword from its scabbard (or saya), striking or cutting an opponent, removing blood from the blade, and then replacing the sword in the scabbard.

While beginning practitioners of iaido may start learning with a wooden sword (bokken) depending on the teaching style of a particular instructor, most of the practitioners use the blunt edged sword, called iaitō. Few, more experienced, iaido practitioners use a sharp edged sword (shinken)

Purpose

Iaido encompasses hundreds of styles of swordsmanship, all of which subscribe to non-combative aims and purposes. Iaido is an intrinsic form of Japanese modern budo. Iaido is a reflection of the morals of the classical warrior and to build a spiritually harmonious person possessed of high intellect, sensitivity, and resolute will. iaido is for the most part performed solo as an issue of kata, executing changed strategies against single or various fanciful rivals. Every kata starts and finishes with the sword sheathed. Notwithstanding sword method, it obliges creative ability and fixation to keep up the inclination of a genuine battle and to keep the kata new. Iaidoka are regularly prescribed to practice kendo to safeguard that battling feel; it is normal for high positioning kendoka to hold high rank in iaido and the other way around.

To appropriately perform the kata, iaidoka likewise learn carriage and development, hold and swing.

Seitei-gata techniques. Because iaido is practiced with a weapon, it is almost entirely practiced using solitary forms, or kata performed against one or more imaginary opponents. Multiple person kata exist within some schools of iaido; consequently, iaidoka usually use bokken for such kata practice.


Iaido does include competition in form of kata but does not use sparring of any kind. Because of this non-fighting aspect, and iaido's emphasis on precise, controlled, fluid motion, it is sometimes referred to as "moving Zen." Most of the styles and schools do not practice tameshigiri, cutting techniques. A part of iaido is nukitsuke. This is a quick draw of the sword, accomplished by simultaneously drawing the sword from the saya and also moving the saya back in saya-biki.

History

Iaido started in the mid-1500s. Hayashizaki Jinsuke Shigenobu (1542 - 1621) is generally acknowledged as the organizer of Iaido. There were many different Koryu (customary schools), however just a few remain practiced today. Just about every one of them additionally concentrate on more seasoned school created amid 16-seventeenth century, in the same way as Muso-Shinden-ryu, Hoki-ryu, Muso-Jikiden-Eishin-ryu, Shinto-Munen-ryu, Tamiya-ryu, Yagyu-Shinkage-ryu, Mugai-ryu, Sekiguchi-ryu, etc

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After the collapse of the Japanese feudal system in 1868 the founders of the modern disciplines borrowed from the theory and the practice of classical disciplines as they had studied or practiced. The founding in 1895 of the Dai Nippon Butoku Kai (DNBK) 大日本武徳会 (lit. "Greater Japan Martial Virtue Society") in Kyoto, Japan. was also an important contribution to the development of modern Japanese swordsmanship. In 1932 DNBK officially approved and recognized the Japanese discipline, iaido; this year was the first time the term iaido appeared in Japan. After this initiative the modern forms of swordsmanship is organised in several iaido organisations. During the post-war occupation of Japan, the Dai Nippon Butoku Kai and its affiliates were disbanded by the Allies of World War II in the period 1945–1950. However, in 1950, the Dai Nippon Butoku Kai was reestablished and the practice of the Japanese martial disciplines began again.

The Zen Nippon Iaido Renmei, All Japan Iaido Federation (全日本居合道連盟, Zen Nippon Iaido Renmei) (ZNIR) was founded in 1948.

In 1952, the Kokusai Budoin, International Martial Arts Federation (国際武道院・国際武道連盟, Kokusai Budoin Kokusai Budo Renmei) (IMAF) was founded in Tokyo, Japan. IMAF is a Japanese organization promoting international Budō, and has seven divisions representing the various Japanese martial arts, including iaido.

Also in 1952, the All Japan Kendo Federation (ZNKR) was founded.

Upon formation of various organizations overseeing martial arts, a problem of commonality appeared. Since members of the organization were drawn from various backgrounds, and had experience practicing different schools of iaido, there arose a need for a common set of kata, that would be known by all members of organization, and that could be used for fair grading of practitioner's skill. Two of the largest Japanese organizations, All Japan Kendo Federation (ZNKR) and All Japan Iaido Federation (ZNIR), each created their own representative set of kata for this purpose.

Seitei Iaido

Seitei or Zen Nippon Kendo Renmei Iaido (制定) are technical forms based on seitei-gata, or standard forms of sword-drawing techniques, created by the Zen Nihon Kendo Renmei (All Japan Kendo Federation). This standard set of iaido kata was created in 1969 by a committee formed by the All Japan Kendo Federation (AJKF, Zen Nippon Kendo Renmei or ZNKR). The twelve Seitei iaido forms (seitei-gata) are standardised for the tuition, promotion and propagation of iaido at the iaido clubs, that are members of the regional Kendo federations. All dojos, that are members of the regional Kendo federations teach this set. Since member federations of International Kendo Federation (FIK) uses seitei gata as a standard for their iaido exams and shiai, seitei iaido has become the most widely practised form of iaido in Japan and the rest of the world.

Many iaido organisations promote sword technique from the seiza (sitting position) and refer to their art as iaido. One of the popular versions of these is the Musō Shinden-ryū (夢想神伝流), a style of iaido founded by Nakayama Hakudō (中山博道) in 1932. Nakayama Hakudō studied under Hosokawa Yoshimasa, a master of the Shimomura branch (下村派) of Hasegawa Eishin-ryū, and Morimoto Tokumi, a fellow student of Ōe Masaji of the Tanimura branch (谷村派).

International Iaido Sport Competition

Medals and cups are a part of iaido in connection with sport games.

Iaido, in its modern form, is practiced as a competitive sport, regulated by the All Japan Kendo Federation. The AJKF maintains the standardized iaido kata and etiquette, and organizes competitions.

A iaido competition consists of two iaidoka performing their kata next to each other and simultaneously. The competitors will be judged by a panel of judges according to the standardized regulations.

European Kendo Federation has arranged iaido championships since 2000, and this competition is held every year.