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Focus Weaponry
Hardness Forms competitions only.
Country of origin Japan
Parenthood Iaijutsu[1][2]
Olympic sport No
Official website International Kendo Federation (FIK):

Iaido (居合道 Iaidō), abbreviated with iai (居合),[3] is a modern Japanese martial art/sport.[4]

Iaido is 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.[1] While new practitioners of iaido[5] may start learning with a wooden sword (bokken) depending on the teaching style of a particular instructor, most of the practitioners use the blunt edged sword, called iaitō.[6] Few, more experienced, iaido practitioners use a sharp edged sword (shinken).[7]

Practitioners of iaido are often referred to as iaidoka.[8]


  • Origins of the name 1
  • Purpose of iaido 2
  • Moral and religious influence on iaido 3
  • Seitei-gata techniques 4
  • History 5
  • Kata under the respective iaido organizations 6
    • Tōhō Iaido 6.1
    • Seitei Iaido 6.2
      • Other organizations 6.2.1
  • Iaido schools 7
  • Ranks in iaido 8
  • International Iaido Sport Competition 9
  • Iaido organisations 10
  • See also 11
  • External links 12
  • References 13

Origins of the name

Haruna Matsuo sensei (1925–2002) demonstrating Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu kata Ukenagashi

The term 'iaido' appear in 1932 and consists of the kanji characters 居合道.[9][10] The origin of the first two characters, iai (居合), is believed to come from saying Tsune ni ite, kyū ni awasu (常に居て、急に合わす), that can be roughly translated as “being constantly (prepared), match/meet (the opposition) immediately”.[11] Thus the primary emphasis in 'iai' 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).

Last character, 道 is generally translated into English as the way. The term 'iaido' approximately translates into English as "the way of mental presence and immediate reaction",[9][12] and was popularized by Nakayama Hakudo.[9]

The term emerged from the general trend to replace the suffix -jutsu () with -dō () in Japanese martial arts in order to emphasize a philosophical or spiritual aspects of practice.[9][13]

Purpose of iaido

Iaido encompasses hundreds of styles of swordsmanship, all of which subscribe to non-combative aims and purposes. Iaido is an intrinsic form of Japanese modern budo.[9]

Iaido is a reflection of the morals of the classical warrior and to build a spiritually harmonious person possessed of high intellect, sensitivity, and resolute will.[14] Iaido is for the most part performed solo as an issue of kata, executing changed strategies against single or various fanciful rivals. Every kata starts and finishes with the sword sheathed. Notwithstanding sword method, it obliges creative ability and fixation to keep up the inclination of a genuine battle and to keep the kata new. Iaidoka are regularly prescribed to practice kendo to safeguard that battling feel; it is normal for high positioning kendoka to hold high rank in iaido and the other way around.

To appropriately perform the kata, iaidoka likewise learn carriage and development, hold and swing. At times iaidoka will practice accomplice kata like kendo or kenjutsu kata. Dissimilar to kendo, iaido is never honed in a free-competing way.

Moral and religious influence on iaido

The metaphysical aspects in iaido have been influenced by several philosophical and religious directions. Iaido is a blend of the ethics of Confucianism, methods of Zen, the philosophical Taoism and aspects from bushido.[15]

Seitei-gata techniques

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; consequently, iaidoka 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."[12]

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 part of iaido is nukitsuke.[16] This is a quick draw of the sword, accomplished by simultaneously drawing the sword from the saya and also moving the saya back in saya-biki.[17]


Early history (prior to the Meiji Restoration in 1868) read more in the article Iaijutsu.

Iaido started in the mid-1500's. Hayashizaki Jinsuke Shigenobu (1542 - 1621) is generally acknowledged as the organizer of Iaido. There were a lot of people Koryu ( customary schools), however just a little extent remain today. Just about every one of them additionally concentrate on more seasoned school created amid 16-seventeenth century, in the same way as Muso-Shinden-ryu, Hoki-ryu, Muso-Jikiden-Eishin-ryu, Shinto-Munen-ryu, Tamiya-ryu, Yagyu-Shinkage-ryu, Mugai-ryu, Sekiguchi-ryu, et cetera.

After the collapse of the Japanese feudal system in 1868 the founders of the modern disciplines borrowed from the theory and the practice of classical disciplines as they had studied or practiced.[18] The founding in 1895 of the

  1. ^ a b John Nauright, Charles Parrish, edited (2012) Sports Around the World: History, Culture, and Practice. ABC-CLIO. Page 226. ISBN 978-1-59884-300-2
  2. ^ a b Draeger, Donn F. (1974) Modern bujutsu & Budo - The Martial Arts and Ways of Japan. (Vol. III). New York: Weatherhill. Page 67-68. ISBN 0-8348-0351-8
  3. ^ Hall, David A., ed. (2012), Encyclopedia of Japanese Martial Arts, (Reviewing.) Irie Kōhei, Omiya Shirō and Koike Masaru., New York, USA: Kodansha USA, Inc., p. 168,  .
  4. ^ a b Christensen, Karen and Allen Guttmann (2001) International Encyclopedia of Women and Sports: H-R. Macmillan Reference USA, Page 553.
  5. ^ Katz, Mandy (2009-04-16). "Choose Your Weapon: Exotic Martial Arts". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-12-12. 
  6. ^ Armstrong, Hunter B (1995) The koryu Bujutsu Experience in Koryu Bujutsu - Classical Warrior Traditions of Japan (ed. by Diane Skoss).Koryu Books. Page 31. ISBN 1-890536-04-0
  7. ^ Warner, Gordon, ed. (1982), Japanese Swordsmanship - Technique and Practice, Donn F. Draeger., Boston/London: Weatherhill, p. 102,  .
  8. ^ a b Pellman, Leonard and Masayuki Shimabukuro (2008, 2nd edition) Flashing Steel: Mastering Eishin-Ryu Swordsmanship. Blue Snake Books. Page 314-315. ISBN 978-1-58394-197-3
  9. ^ a b c d e f Warner, Gordon, ed. (1982), Japanese Swordsmanship - Technique and Practice, Donn F. Draeger., Boston/London: Weatherhill, p. 79,  .
  10. ^ Draeger, Donn F. (1974) Modern Bujutsu & Budo - The Martial Arts and Ways of Japan. (Vol. III). New York: Weatherhill. Page 55-58. ISBN 0-8348-0351-8
  11. ^ Kim Taylor. "An Introduction to Iaido: Its Purpose and Benefits". Retrieved 2014-05-27. 
  12. ^ a b c Shaw, Scott (1999) Samurai Zen. Chapter 12. Weiser Books. ISBN 978-1-57863-104-9
  13. ^ Draeger, Donn F. (1974) Modern bujutsu & Budo - The Martial Arts and Ways of Japan. (Vol. III). New York: Weatherhill. Page 55-58. ISBN 0-8348-0351-8
  14. ^ Warner, Gordon, ed. (1982), Japanese Swordsmanship - Technique and Practice, Donn F. Draeger., Boston/London: Weatherhill, p. 100,  .
  15. ^ Warner, Gordon, ed. (1982), Japanese Swordsmanship - Technique and Practice, Donn F. Draeger., Boston/London: Weatherhill, p. 101,  .
  16. ^ Suino, Nicklaus (2007) Strategy in Japanese Swordsmanship. Weatherhill. Page 38. ISBN 978-1-59030-489-1
  17. ^ Craig, Darrell (1981) IAI The Art of Drawing the Sword. Tuttle Publishing. Page 64. ISBN 0-8048-7023-3
  18. ^ Draeger Donn. F. (1974) Modern Bujutsu & Budo - The Martial Arts and Ways of Japan. New York/London: Weatherhill. Page 57. ISBN 0-8348-0351-8
  19. ^ a b Dai Nippon Butoku Kai: Honbu, Kyoto, Japan (2012). Retrieved on November 13, 2013.
  20. ^ a b Dai Nippon Butoku Kai: History and philosophy (2012). Retrieved on November 13, 2013.
  21. ^ インドネシア独立運動と日本とスカルノ(2). 馬 樹禮 (in Japanese). 産経新聞社. April 2005. Retrieved 2009-10-02. 
  22. ^ "The Kingdom of the Netherlands Declares War with Japan". iBiblio. Retrieved 2009-10-02. 
  23. ^ Pape, Robert A. (1993). "Why Japan Surrendered". International Security 18 (2): 154–201.  
  24. ^ Draeger Donn. F. (1974) Modern Bujutsu & Budo - The Martial Arts and Ways of Japan. New York/London: Weatherhill. Page 48-49. ISBN 0-8348-0351-8
  25. ^ a b International Martial Arts Federation FAQ
  26. ^ Journal of Combat Sports and Martial Arts. MEDSPORTPRESS, 2011; 1(2); Vol. 2, page 50.
  27. ^ a b International Martial Arts Federation (IMAF) - Divisions.
  28. ^ The East: Volume 36; Volume 36, 2000.
  29. ^ a b "The History of Kendo". All Japan Kendo Federation (AJKF). 
  30. ^
  31. ^ Draeger, Donn F., ed. (1982), modern Bujutsu & Budo - The Martial Arts and Ways of Japan., New York/Tokyo: Weatherhill, p. 67,  .
  32. ^ All Japan Kendo Federation (2009). Zen Nippon Kendo Renmei Iai. Tokyo, Japan: All Japan Kendo Federation. p. 50. 
  33. ^ Hall, David A., ed. (2012), Encyclopedia of Japanese Martial Arts, (Reviewing.) Irie Kōhei, Omiya Shirō and Koike Masaru., New York, USA: Kodansha USA, Inc., p. 169,  .
  34. ^ Warner, Gordon, ed. (1982), Japanese Swordsmanship - Technique and Practice, Donn F. Draeger, Boston/London: Weatherhill, p. 90,  .
  35. ^ Hall, David A., ed. (2012), Encyclopedia of Japanese Martial Arts, (Reviewing.) Irie Kōhei, Omiya Shirō and Koike Masaru., New York, USA: Kodansha USA, Inc., p. 335,  .
  36. ^ a b Black Belt Magazine, May 1991. Page 64.
  37. ^ Warner, Gordon, ed. (1982), Japanese Swordsmanship - Technique and Practice, Donn F. Draeger., Boston/London: Weatherhill, p. 64,  .
  38. ^ Rules & Regulations of the 15th European Iaido Championships 2008.
  39. ^ "C.I.K. - Confederazione Italiana Kendo     Risultati Campionati Europei Iaido". Retrieved 2014-05-27. 
  40. ^ European Kendo Federation - Iaido Championships.
  41. ^ "What is FIK". International Kendo Federation. 
  42. ^


  • All Japan Kendo Federation (ZNKR/AJKF), a national organization for Kendo, Iaido and Jodo practitioners, member of FIK. (Japanese)
  • Dai Nippon Butoku Kai (DNBK) in Kyoto, a national - and international organisation for iaido in Japan.
  • International Martial Arts Federation (IMAF) in Kyoto, a national - and international organisation for iaido in Japan.
  • All Japan Iaido Federation (Specialized information site ZNIR). (Japanese)
  • Japan Iaido Federation (Nippon Iaido Renmei/NIR).

Following organisations are national iaido federations in Japan:

External links

See also

The World Musō Jikiden Eishin-ryū Iaido Federation, established in Tokyo in 2011, is dedicated to ensuring the orthodox transmission of MJER Iaido to future generations worldwide, as well as promoting and preserving the development of other schools.[42]


The International Martial Arts Federation (IMAF) was established in Kyoto in 1952 and is dedicated to the promotion and development of the martial arts worldwide,[25] including iaido.[27]

Dai Nippon Butoku Kai (DNBK) established in 1895 in Kyoto,[19] approved and recognized the discipline iaido.[20]

Many national and regional organisations manage and promote iaido activities. Organisations which on the international level include iaido are following organisations:

Iaido organisations

The 2010 European Iaido Championship finals can be seen at the following link to YouTube: Video from YouTube.

European Kendo Federation has arranged iaido championships since 2000,[39] where this competition are held every year.[40]

An iaido competition consists of two iaidoka performing their kata next to each other and simultaneously. The competitors will be judged by a panel of judges according to the standardized regulations.

[38][8] regulated by the All Japan Kendo Federation. The AJKF maintains the standardized iaido [4] Iaido, in its modern form, is practiced as a competitive sport,

Medals and cups are a part of iaido in connection with sport games.

International Iaido Sport Competition

Kendo and iaido have a really predictable nine dan arrangement of positioning. A commonplace advisory group for first dan would be six or more individuals positioned fifth dan or higher. Regularly, greater panels are utilized for higher positions, if enough qualified individuals are accessible. For IKF-partnered associations, obligation regarding meeting the positions rests with every part nation, yet every other nation is certain to perceive positions recompensed by part nations.

Kendo is unequivocally sorted out, with most kendo represented by a solitary league in every nation getting heading from the Global Kendo Alliance. There are exemptions to this, for example, the tragic part into two organizations in the United States. Iaido is generally associated with either the IKF/ZNKR or the Zen-Nippon Iaido Renmei (ZNIR). [37][36] The ranks in iaido is based on the modern

Read more in the article Dan (rank).

Ranks in iaido

The other line of Jinsuke-Eishin, called Tanimura-ha, was created by Gotō Magobei Masasuke] (died 1898) and Ōe Masamichi Shikei (1852–1927). It was Ōe Masamichi Shikei who began formally referring his iaido branch as the Musō Jikiden Eishin-ryū 無双直伝英信流 during the Taishō era (1912–1926).[35]

Many iaido organisations promote sword technique from the seiza (sitting position) and refer to their art as iaido. One of the popular versions of these is the Musō Shinden-ryū 夢想神伝流, a iaido system created by Nakayama Hakudō (1872–1958) in the 1932.[33] The Musō Shinden-ryū is an interpretation of one of the Jinsuke-Eishin lines, called Shimomura-ha.[34]

Iaido in the Czech Republic

Iaido schools

Single-style federations usually do not have a standardized "grading" set of kata, and use kata from their koryu curriculum for grading and demonstrations.

Other organizations

Seitei or Zen Nippon Kendo Renmei Iaido (制定) ("basis of the Iaido") are technical based on seitei-gata, or standard form of sword-drawing techniques, created by the Zen Nihon Kendo Remmei (All Japan Kendo Federation) and the Zen Nihon Iaido Remmei (All Japan Iaido Federation).[31] This standard set of iaido kata was created in 1968 by a committee formed by the All Japan Kendo Federation (AJKF, Zen Nippon Kendo Renmei or ZNKR).[32] The twelve Seitei iaido forms (seitei-gata) are standardised for the tuition, promotion and propagation of iaido at the iaido clubs, that are members of the regional Kendo federations. All dojos, that are members of the regional Kendo federations teach this set. Since member federations of International Kendo Federation (FIK) uses seitei gata as a standard for their iaido exams and shiai, seitei iaido has become the most widely practised form of iaido in Japan and the rest of the world.

Seitei Iaido

  • Musō Jikiden Eishin-ryū School founded during the late Muromachi period (ca. 1590). ('Mae-giri')
  • Mugai-ryū School founded in 1695. ('Zengo-giri')
  • Shindō Munen-ryū School founded in the early 1700s. ('Kiri-age')
  • Suiō-ryū School founded during the early Edo period (ca. 1615). ('Shihô-giri')
  • Hōki-ryū School founded during the late Muromachi period (ca. 1590). ('Kissaki-gaeshi')

The All Japan Iaido Federation (ZNIR, Zen Nihon Iaido Renmei, founded 1948) has a set of five koryu iaido forms, called Tōhō, contributed from the five major schools that comprise the organization.[30]

Tōhō Iaido

Kata under the respective iaido organizations

Despite the fact that the purposes of assault in current Kendo are entirely restricted, the strikes and assaults are performed with an opportunity of will that definitely prompts a component of rivalry. In correlation with shinai Kendo, Iaido focus on preparing to create right developments. Therefore, regarding specialized immaculateness it involves a level much higher than that of shinai Kendo. In short, Iaido can serve to enhance and keep up specialized virtue in shinai Kendo. Iaido aides guarantee that body developments are legitimate and compelling in light of the fact that they are regular, precise, and spry.

The role of Iaido in Kendo

Upon formation of various organizations overseeing martial arts, a problem of commonality appeared. Since members of the organization were drawn from various backgrounds, and had experience practicing different schools of iaido, there arose a need for a common set of kata, that would be known by all members of organization, and that could be used for fair grading of practitioner's skill. Two of the largest Japanese organizations, All Japan Kendo Federation (ZNKR)[29] and All Japan Iaido Federation (ZNIR), each created their own representative set of kata for this purpose.

In 1952, the All Japan Kendo Federation (ZNKR) was founded,[29] and the All Japan Iaido Federation (ZNIR) was founded in 1948.

In 1952, the Kokusai Budoin, Budō,[26] and has seven divisions representing the various Japanese martial arts, including iaido.[27][28]

As a result, the Dai Nippon Butoku Kai and its affiliates were disbanded by the Allies of World War II in the period 1945–1950. In 1950 when the Dai Nippon Butoku Kai was reestablished and the practice of the Japanese martial disciplines took up their activities again, including iaido.[24]

On 7 December 1941, Japan attacked the US naval base at Pearl Harbor and declared war, bringing the US into World War II.[21][22] After the Soviet invasion of Manchuria and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, Japan agreed to an unconditional surrender on 15 August.[23]


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