Iaido is the Japanese martial art of drawing and cutting with the sword.
Students begin their training by using a wooden sword (bokken), then a practice sword with a dulled blade (iaito), before graduating to a sharp edged sword (katana or tachi). Because Iaido is practiced with a weapon, the training is focused on the performance of solitary forms, or kata performed against imaginary opponents. Because of the danger of the weapons used in Iaido, this martial art does not practice sparring of any kind. Competition and advancement is is based on having the best form and technique.
Multiple person routines are known as Ken Jutsu and are taught to senior students. These routines are practiced with wooden swords for safety. Jo-Do is a similar martial art that practices using a short staff against a sword.
Test cutting, known as Batto Do, is occasionally practiced at the Kosho School of Karate. Our school is affiliated with the Mei Sui Kan Dojo in Naha, Okinawa. The head of this dojo, Sensei Chosho Fukuhara is the reigning Japanese National Champion in Batto Do
Kendo is the Japanese martial art of fencing with a bamboo sword. Because Jo-Do and Iaido fall under the jurisdiction of United States Kendo Federation, The Kosho School of Karate is a member of the East Central United States Kendo Federation. However, kendo is not taught at this school. If you are interested specifically in practicing Kendo, we are happy to put you in contact with qualified local instructors.
History of IAIDO
In ancient Japan there were many different competing schools and styles of the samurai sword. Local warlords would hire the top instructors to teach their soldiers, or fight on their behalf, against their rival neighbors. As Japan came into the modern era, peace was established and there were no longer warring factions. Eventually, even individual duels faded away.
In 1932 in order to preserve the traditions of Japan’s samurai past, a group of senior instructors were brought together to assemble a set of standard sword techniques that could be taught throughout Japan. The result was named Iaido.
Many of the old sword schools still exist, and are known as the “Koryu” styles. Despite their ancient traditions, the majority of these schools teach the standard Iaido forms first, before moving their advanced students into the older curriculum. For this reason, sword students throughout Japan are all able to have a strong foundation and fundamentals before they begin training in older and more advanced forms.