In short: iaido is a traditional Japanese martial art that focuses on drawing and striking with a sword in one fluid motion.

The total nature of iaido is more complicated, encompassing elements of Budo and Japanese etiquette to become a way of behaviour as well as a martial art. Iaido can be translated to mean “the way of mental presence and immediate reaction”. The important part of this word is “do“, which dictates that what we practice is a study of the art and the way of the sword, rather than the purely combative action. Iaido is a way of life and permeates many aspects of our daily life. Training should be enjoyable, but it should also be taken seriously. The successful Iaidoka learns to apply pressure with their mind on an enemy, with the ultimate goals of being victorious without even having to draw the blade.

Araki Muninsai Ryu iaido, although very much the “do” version of iai, sometimes resembles iaijitsu in the speed of the technique and the focus on the effectiveness of the cutting action. Although iaido does not focus purely on the killing action we must be aware of it in order to develop proper technique. In Araki Muninsai Ryu iaido we strive to understand the importance of combat, of being faster and more skillful than our enemy, and the rightful place that this has within the whole concept of iaido. Combat, drawing the sword and dispatching an enemy, is only part of the whole process, and iaido is applied both before and after the combat phase.

Iaido is practiced using a combination of real blades and wooden swords, called bokken. Techniques are taught in forms, or kata, and are usually practice alone. Kata involving multiple iaidoka, Kumi Tachi, use live blades and require high levels of skill. These techniques are only taught to iaidoka that have been training for many years.