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Iaidō (居合道), abbreviated with iai (居合), is a Japanese martial art that emphasizes being aware and capable of quickly drawing the sword and responding to a sudden attack.
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. While beginning practitioners of iaido 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. Few, more experienced, iaido practitioners use a sharp edged sword (shinken).
Practitioners of iaido are often referred to as iaidoka.
Sensei Kinji Nakagawa
The term 'iaido' appear in 1932 and consists of the kanji characters 居 (i), 合 (ai), and 道 (dō). 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".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).
The 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", and was popularized by Nakayama Hakudo.
The term emerged from the general trend to replace the suffix -jutsu (術) ("the art of") with -dō (道) in Japanese martial arts in order to emphasize the philosophical or spiritual aspects of the practice.
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.
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.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.
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, the purificatory rites of Shintoism and aspects from bushido.