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Iaido (ee-eye-doe) is an art of Japanese swordsmanship. Training is based on the practice of kata or forms involving drawing, cutting and re sheathing actions from a variety of seated and standing situations. For the most part, forms are practised in a solo fashion against an imaginary opponent with paired exercises being introduced at advanced levels.

Iaido literally means the way of meeting or dealing with one's immediate surroundings, with a philosophical approach that involves intuitively responding in the most appropriate manner to danger or challenging events. Modern iaido is based upon ancient techniques that allowed Japanese warriors from the feudal period to be able to defend themselves by quickly drawing their swords and cutting down adversaries in the event of an unsuspected attack.

Training initially involves the 12 standard forms laid down by the All Japan Kendo Federation. At more advanced levels, the techniques of a more traditional system, the Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu are studied. The standard or seitei kata introduce the basic principles of sword handling and are widely used as a basis for grading and competition. The traditional system or koryu provides an avenue of deeper study of the art and an opportunity to participate in a tradition whose history can be traced back to the origins of Iai some 400 years ago.

Whilst the practical applications of the art are obviously limited in modern times, iaido remains relevant in its own right and as a means of supplementary training to any martial art or other activity. Regular training develops overall physical condition including coordination and posture, whilst the meditative aspects of practice also develop mental qualities of decisiveness and focus.


Initial requirement is for loose fitting clothing and bokken (wooden sword). A limited number of bokken are available for use at the dojo. However, those taking up the art will soon require proper attire and a replica Japanese sword (iaito), which will involve additional expense. Contact the instructor for details and advice.

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