This summer I have decided to start training in the Japanese Martial Art of Iaido. Iaido (drawing way) is based on Iaijutsu (drawing art) and was practiced by the samurai until the mid-1800s when the Japanese Feudel system collapsed.
I have been looking for a new martial art to study for about a year now. At first, I was looking at the more practical arts like, Systema, BJJ, Krav Maga, and going back into Muay Thai.
But, with my current martial resume of holding black belts in Shotokan, TKD, American Kenpo, and Wing Chun, in addition to other auxiliary training in other arts, I felt is was time to engross into a more mental martial art. I love my Iron Palm training and that is mostly mentally focused.
I looked at Kendo, but that is too sport-ish for me. Then I came across Iaido, simple yet elegant.
The katas are short but intense. Iaido sword techniques are renowned for their practicality, immense cutting power and gracefulness.
I have selected 2 different organizations to take instruction through. Both come from different origins.
This style comes from the Toyama Military Academy in Japan. These are the techniques that were taught at the academy pre-world war ii when the academy was in operation. Much of the tradition and ceremonial movements were stripped from various techniques that were taken from the various branches of Iaido, in the goal of making the techniques as efficient as possible for use on the battlefield.
Muso Jikiden Eishen Ryu
This style is one of the most practices branch of Iaido in the world. It is one of the only branches of Iaido that has an unbroken Lineage dating back to its inception.
The techniques of Musō Jikiden Eishin-ryū are broken up into sets based on the principal starting position of the kata and by skill level. The majority of the study is focused on these solo katas.
Musō Jikiden Eishin-ryū has 45 solo katas and 45 paired katas; some of these paired katas are rarely taught.
Well, I am hoping to have the ability to decapitate a head or limb if needed with a sword, though nowhere near practical.
In all seriousness, I am looking to dive into the Samurai philosiphy and looking forward to the mental and physical challenges Iaido will present while I journey through the system and internalize all it has to offer.