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|Hardness||Forms competitions only.|
|Country of origin||Japan|
Iaido (居合道 Iaidō or just Iai 居合 ) is a modern Japanese martial art associated with 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.citation needed While new students of iaido1 may start learning with a wooden sword (bokken) depending on the teaching style of a particular instructor, many of those who study iaido use a blunt edged sword (iaitō). Few, more experienced, iaido practitioners use a sharp edged sword (shinken).
Practitioners of iaido are often referred to as iaidoka.
Because iaido is practiced with a weapon, it is almost entirely practiced using forms, or kata. Multiple person kata exist within some schools of iaido, when iaidoka will 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."citation needed
Iaido forms (kata) are performed solitarily against one or more imaginary opponents. Some iaido schools, however, include kata performed in pairs. Most of the styles and schools do not practice tameshigiri, cutting techniques.
A very important part of iaido, is nukitsuke or the life of iaido. This is a very quick draw of the sword, accomplished by simultaneously drawing the sword from the saya and also moving the saya back in saya-biki.citation needed
The word iaido approximately translates into English as "the way of mental presence and immediate reaction." It was coined in the 1930s, replacing the earlier and more literal name battōjutsu (抜刀術 "art of drawing the sword").
Battōjutsu is the historical (ca. 15th century) term encompassing both the practice of drawing the sword and cutting (tameshigiri).citation needed The term iaijutsu (居合術) was known before the Tokugawa period (before 1603), and the term iaido was known from 1932. Iaido is due to the general trend (stemming from gendai budō) to replace the suffix -jutsu with -dō in Japanese martial arts in order to emphasize a philosophical or spiritual component.citation needed
Iai(do) is the usual term to refer to the modern self-improvement-oriented form taught e.g. by the All Japan Kendo Federation (AJKF), while Iaijutsu is used for the older koryū combative techniques. The primary emphasis in iaido is on the psychological state of being present (居). The secondary emphasis is on drawing the sword and responding to the sudden attack as quickly as possible (合).
In the book Bugei Ryuha Daijiten by Watatani Kiyoshi and Yamada Tadashi, Hayashizaki Jinsuke (Minamoto no) Shigenobu is credited with establishing the influence and popularity of the art early in the 16th century, that is today widely practised as iaido.2 However, around a century before his birth, the dynamic art of iaijutsu had been developed by Iizasa Ienao, the founder of the Tenshin Shōden Katori Shintō-ryū.citation needed
The Tenshin Shōden Katori Shintō-ryū (天真正伝香取神道流) included iaijutsu in its curriculum in the 15th century. The first schools dedicated exclusively to sword drawing appeared some time during the late 16th or early 17th century. Hayashizaki Jinsuke Minamoto no Shigenobu (林崎甚助源の重信) (1546–1621) is generally credited with being the originator of the first dedicated school of sword drawing. Little is known of his life, leading some scholars to doubt his historical existence as a real person. The two largest schools of sword drawing that are practised today are the Musō Shinden-ryū (夢想神伝流) and Musō Jikiden Eishin-ryū (無雙直傳英信流). Both schools trace their lineage to Hayashizaki Jinsuke Shigenobu through Hasegawa Chikaranosuke Hidenobu.
Seitei Iaido (制定) ("basis of the Iaido") or Zen Nippon Kendo Renmei Iaido is the standard set of iaido kata created in 1968 by a committee formed by the All Japan Kendo Federation (AJKF, Zen Nippon Kendo Renmei or ZNKR).3 The twelve Seitei iaido forms (seitei-gata) are standardised for the tuition, promotion and propagation of iaido within the kendo federations. Although not all dojo teach seitei iaido, the AJKF uses them as a standard for their iaido exams and shiai. As a result, seitei iaido has become the most widely recognised form of iaido in Japan and the rest of the world. Being an extremely standardized form, Seitei Iaido is practiced not only in Japan, but all over the world in very similar way.
The All Japan Iaido Federation (ZNIR, Zen Nihon Iaido Renmei, founded 1948) has a set of five iaido forms, Tōhō Iaido. This is essentially the ZNIR equivalent of the Seitei Iaido set. These five forms are from the five different major iaido schools.
- Maegiri Musō Jikiden Eishin-ryū
- Zengogiri Mugai-ryū
- Kiriage Shindō Munen-ryū
- Shihôgiri Suiō-ryū
- Kissakigaeshi Hōki-ryū
Although there are a wide range of koryū styles practiced in Japan, the two most popular koryū styles practiced worldwide are Musō Jikiden Eishin-ryū and Musō Shinden-ryū.citation needed They resemble each other quite strongly because they branched off from one style sometime in the 18th century, first forming the branches of Shimomura-ha, which was called Musō ShindenEishin-ryū in those days, and Tanimura-ha.
These two branches would co-exist for many years until Ōe Masamichi Shikei, the 17th headmaster, brought together the Tanimura-ha, Hasegawa Eishin-ryū and the Ōmori-ryū to form what is today's Musō Jikiden Eishin-ryū.
One of Shimomura-ha master, Nakayama Hakudō created a sword drawing art called Musō Shinden-ryū that was heavily influenced by his Shimomura-ha training, but also took elements from other iaido-arts and would later become the Musō Shinden-ryū. The original style Shimomura-ha ( Musō Shinden Eishin-ryū) is still exists in Japan.
Although the schools' techniques resemble each other, there are several differences. Outwardly the most obvious differences might be seen for example in the nōtō (sheathing the katana back into the saya). In Shinden, the start of the nōtō is done on the horizontal plane, then rotated to the vertical plane by the end of the nōtō. In Musō Jikiden Eishin-ryū, the nōtō starts in an almost vertical plane and continues in that plane throughout the nōtō.
There are several branches of Eishin-ryū and Shinden-ryū that are practised today. Different lines and Iaido organisations often recognise different people as their sōke.
Mugai ryu was once one of the more famous styles in Japan in the Edo period and was developed from a strong influence of Zen.citation needed It is characterized by short, direct movements. As it was developed in 1697 by Tsuji Gettan Sukemochi [or Sukeshige], a Zen practitioner, it has deep links with Zen Buddhism. The original style created by Gettan was a kenjutsu school rather than iaido. Today's Mugai ryu iaido was established by Takahashi Hachisuke Mitsusuke and his younger brother Hidezu in mid Edo period. They studied a style called Jikyo-ryū under the fifth and last generation headmasters Yamamura Masashige. There are several distinct lineages of Mugai ryu throughout Japan today.
Suiō-ryū is a traditional style that specialises in sword drawing, both solo and paired, but other arts, like jōjutsu, naginatajutsu, kenpō and kusarigamajutsu are practised as well. It was founded by Mima Yoichizaemon Kagenobu c. 1615.
Other styles that incorporate sword drawing in their curriculum are, for example, Motobu Udundi from Okinawa, Shindō Munen-ryū, Shinkage-ryū, Hōki-ryū, Tatsumi-ryū, Tamiya-ryū, Tenshin Shōden Katori Shintō-ryū, Takenouchi-ryū, Eishin-ryū and more.
A style of sword drawing art is Toyama-ryū battōjutsu. This is a style originating in the late 19th century, and taught primarily to officers in the Second World War.citation needed It is different from the Edo period styles primarily in that all techniques are performed from a standing position.citation needed Toyama-ryū was in turn the basis of three branches incorporating nōtō and kamae from older Koryū, notably Ōmori-ryū.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Iaido|
- Katz, Mandy (2009-04-16). "Choose Your Weapon: Exotic Martial Arts". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-12-12.
- Kiyoshi Watatani and Tadashi Yamada; Kiyoshi Watatani and Tadashi Yamada (1963-2003). Bugei Ryuha Daijiten. Tokyo, Japan: Tokyo Koppi Shuppanbu. ISBN 1-157-50999-1.
- All Japan Kendo Federation (2009). Zen Nippon Kendo Renmei Iai. Tokyo, Japan: All Japan Kendo Federation. p. 50.
- "Art of Japanese Swordsmanship: A Manual of Eishin-Ryu Iaido". Publisher: Weatherhill; 1 edition (Jun 1 1994).
- "Zen Nippon Kendo Renmei Iai", English Version Manual, 3rd edition, published December 2009, by All Japan Kendo Federation, Tokyo, Japan.
- "Japanese Swordsmanship: Technique and practice". By Gordon Warner & Donn F. Draeger. Publisher: Weatherhill; 1982.
- “Flashing Steel, 2nd Edition: Mastering Eishin-Ryū-Swordsmanship”. By Masayuki Shimabukurō & Leonard J. Pellman. Publisher: Blue Snake Books; 2008
- Craig, Darrell Max (1991). Iai: The Art Of Drawing The Sword. Charles E. Tuttle Company. ISBN 0-8048-7023-3
- De Lange, William, Iaido: History, Teaching & Practice Of Japanese Swordsmanship, Weatherhill, 2002. ISBN 0-8348-0500-6
- All Japan Iaido Federation (Specialized information site ZNIR).
- All Japan Kendo Federation (AJKF/ZNKR).
- International Kendo Federation (FIK).
- Japan Iaido Federation (Nippon Iaido Renmei/NIR).
- Art of IAIDO (AOI).
- "Kan ou-kan: Muso Shinden Eishin-ryu Iai Heiho(貫汪館：無雙神傳英信流抜刀兵法)" (in English). Retrieved May 14, 2013.