Iaido (居合道) is a martial art that involves the use of the Japanese long sword, the katana. The term ‘Iaido’ acts as a designation for a number of related sword arts focused on drawing techniques performed with a smooth and efficient motion.
Iaido focuses on drawing a sword directly into a cutting technique. However, this is not the sole component of the art and most kata incorporate additional actions with the sword after it is drawn, covering a wide variety of scenarios. The mindset, though, is that one is practicing methods of using a sword from the outset of a hostile encounter with a potential enemy. To draw your sword ahead of time would be a display of aggression only serving to escalate the encounter. Practitioners of Iaido develop the use an imposing presence and mental pressure to dissuade an opponent until the use of the sword is the only option. From the moment the sword is released from its scabbard the practitioner maintains a mental acuity and uses deliberate motion to dispatch all opponents in an effortless, efficient manner.
The word ‘Iaido’ was first coined in 1932 by Nakayama Hakudō, the founder of Musō Shinden-ryū. Before then, the sword drawing koryū were known as Iai-jutsu.
Iaido encompasses hundreds of styles of swordsmanship, all of which subscribe to non-combative aims and purposes.
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.