What is iaido?

Iaido is a Japanese martial art, usually referred to as 'the art of drawing the sword'. However, it's literal translation - 'i' (being) 'ai' (harmony) 'do' (way or path) or 'The way of harmonising oneself in action' - gives a much better indication of it's modern purpose. Although iaido is based on 450 years of exceptionally efficient samurai 'kenjutsu' (sword fighting techniques), it is now a path to the improvement of one's inner self and character, rather than for the development of lethal skills. Indeed, modern 'iaidoka' (iaido practitioners) wield a sword not to control an opponent, but to control themselves.

How is training carried out?

The foundation of iaido is the practice of the 12 'seitei kata' (basic forms). These forms are practiced against one or more imaginary attackers, from a kneeling, crouching or standing start. Every 'kata' includes drawing the sword from it's sheath, striking one's opponent, blood removal from the blade of the sword, then re-sheathing the sword, in a very calm, controlled and focused manner. More advanced practice includes study of the 'koryu' (old school) kata.

What will I need in order to train?

Before you can train with us, you will need to join the British Kendo Association in order to be insured. We can help you arrange temporary (3 month) or full (annual) membership of the BKA.

Equipment: Beginners start with a wooden training sword called a 'bokken'. More experienced iaidoka use 'iaito' - real swords with a blunt edge, specifically designed for iaido training.

Clothing: Traditional clothing consisting of 'hakama' (pleated, baggy trousers), a 'gi' (jacket) and 'obi' (belt) are usually worn, although a t-shirt and tracksuit pants will be fine for the beginner. Bear in mind that we spend a proportion of our time kneeling on a hard wooden floor, so you will find some knee pads very beneficial.

"mind, body, spirt as one"