Here is a demonstration of Iai from Ame Agarau (After the Rain), a great Samurai flick.
Iaido is the art of Japanese Swordsmanship. How to draw, cut and sheathe the Japanese Sword. It is also a highly detailed and involved study of military strategic thought and samurai philosophy in motion.
The word itself has a number of meanings and interpretations. Each is dependant of a subjective translation as the word itself, like many Japanese martial concepts does not translate into English at all easily. The word is comprised of 3 Japanese characters: i-ai-do.
Roughly, “I” comes from Iru, to be; Ai (as in Aikido) means coming together, harmony, or love; and Dō means road, or Way (in the Buddhist sense). Loosely translated then, Iaido means being in harmony with one’s surroundings, always being prepared for any eventuality.
Training in Iai involves a number of distinct yet interrelated disciplines:
Tanren - This is physical conditioning as taught in feudal Japan. It is comprised of a series of body weight and equipped drills. These drills increase psychical conditioning, fitness, strength and improve body movement and co-ordination. They also, importantly contribute to the spirit of the practitioner, training them to develop endurance, perseverance, humility, dedication and more.
Waza - These are the techniques of Zen Ken Ren Iai, this is a syllabus created to introduce the correct use of the Japanese Sword. All our senior instructors are also students of Koryu Iai (these are the centuries old styles of Iai). ZNKR Iai is the core teachings of our club and teaches the foundations of Iaido. In virtually all schools of Iai, the kata/waza are composed of four essential elements. These are:
Practically all kata have these fundamental parts in some combination or other, but may also include blocks, deflections, thrusts, and multiple cuts, depending on the scenario. Iai kata are performed solitary against imaginary opponents, called kassoteki, or teki. (There are also partner kata at more advanced levels).
The fact that there is no real adversary means the Iaido-ka (Iaido practitioner) needs to be aware of where teki is at all times, and to focus his techniques accordingly. This demands intense concentration from the Iaidoka. Each kata, though outwardly simple, has myriad technical details that can make it fiendishly difficult to master. Indeed, a single kata could easily take a lifetime’s study, and still not be perfected. However, it is this quest for almost unattainable perfection that makes Iai what it is – a Way of strengthening the body, developing the character, and forging the Spirit.
It's really easy. Just come along to one of our training sessions. 🙂 Don't worry about equipment, you just need comfortable workout clothes, like a tracksuit or martial arts uniform and we will provide the rest. Our beginners' course is €60 for three months. Some people choose to train in one art only, others practice two or even all three.
See our Training Times and Locations below, to find out when and where would suit you. And if you want to talk to one of our instructors just click here to send us an email.
Our beginners' course has a rolling start date, so you can join any time. The beginners' course will run for three months from when you start, although we can make allowances for missed dates. Beginners can attend one or more sessions a week, how much you choose to train is up to you!
The beginners' course and regular training fees also allow you to practice any of the martial arts that we teach. Some people choose to train in one art only, others practice two or even all three. Your first session is free.
All beginners' courses costs €60. This covers you for three months of training, as well as temporary membership of the Irish Kendo Federation (the National Governing Body for Kendo, Iaido and Jodo in Ireland).
After your beginners' course training fees are as follows:
Iaido - Beginners
8 - 10 pm *
St. John Bosco Youth Centre,
Iaido - Intermediate
8:15 - 10:15 pm
Nagle Rice Hall,
Marino Institute of Education,
Iaido - All levels
11 am - 12 pm *
The Ballybough Community,
Youth & Sports Centre,
49 Ballybough Road,
* Due to building restrictions, Saturday and Monday classes are unfortunately cancelled on bank holiday weekends.
The following are some recent clips from our seminars and public demonstrations.
A short fun video showing the members of Dublin Kendo Demonstrating Iaido, Jodo and Kendo. And some general fun behind the scenes moments as we enjoyed the 'con. 🙂
"At last weekend's Irish National Kendo Championships and Ambassador's Cup, a demonstration of the Japanese martial art of Iaido was held. Iaido translates into English as "the way of mental presence and immediate reaction" and derives from samurai tradition". Courtesy of the Embassy of Japan in Ireland.