IAIDO OR THE WAY OF THE SAMURAI SWORD
by Dave Lorrez
Iaido is a Japanese martial art that deals with Samurai Swords. Actually, it is the art of counter-attack using a Japanese katana.
Getting to the details, Iaido means “the way of harmonizing yourself in action”. The practitioner of this sword drawing art, or iaidoka, is using the samurai sword (or also know as the katana) not to defend himself against the opponent; he is using the sword to control himself in the fight. Iaido implies a smooth control of the sword, from the drawing to the putting back in a scabbard (saya).
The main steps are:
* drawing the sword
* cutting the opponent
* removing the blood
* putting back the sword
This is done very quickly and very precise, depending on the skill of the iadioka.
The katana sword is the most important item in iaido, it is the soul of the samurai. It has a curved & single edged blade which is very sharp and deadly when used properly. A less experienced iadioka will use an Iaito , which is an imitation of a katana sword with a blunt edge.
Iaido kata is a form of fight with imaginary opponents. Here, the practitioner should concentrate exclusively on the movements, their natural flow and the speed of the execution. It is a good practice for concentration too because the iaidoka should have the image of his enemies in his mind. The quicker the kata is performed, the better the samurai warrior is. The Kata is performed with a real katana sword only by experts.
For the samurai, in the field of battle, every millisecond counts. So, in iaido, any unnecessary move is eliminated. The movement is refined in intense training, kata and other exercises. The strike is very direct, very surprising and lethal if executed correctly.
Iaido is preserved by teachers and students from various schools around the world, where the knowledge is preserved for the last 450 years. And will do so for the future, because there are still a lot of Iaido practitioners.
A real Samurai Katana is hard to find, but not impossible. If you want an antique one, you should be ready to pay the big bucks for it. The modern swords are somewhat different, because they are using new, modern, materials, and they are much cheaper.
If you are interested in learning more about the samurais, or dreaming to become like a samurai, my advice is that you should not try this without proper training, and not with a real blade, until you master the control of the katana.