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Iaido is a modern word and encompasses new forms for sword drawing and cutting, older forms of Kenjutsu (samurai sword arts) from different schools and other related sword 'play'. It does not include the Japanese sport of 'kendo'

Meidokan Kobudo - Sword practice

The core of the Kobudo syllabus revolves around the Japanese Sword (nihon-to), as most Japan Martial arts developed from kenjutsu (sword arts). Training includes:

      - Kenjutsu and iaido (drawing and cutting with metal katana.

¨ Batto - sword cutting & training against armed opponents

¨ Tachidori - unarmed defence against sword

¨ Tanto - knife attack and defence

¨ Nito - using two swords against sword

¨ Wakizashi (kodachi) - short sword against sword

¨ Naginata - bladed spear (glaive) against naginata & sword

          Tamashigiru (Sword cutting practice)



Iaido is a standardised form of Japanese swordsmanship. Training is based on the study and practice of kata or forms involving drawing, cutting and re sheathing actions from a variety of seated and standing situations.  The techniques taught have a long colourful history in Japan and have been developed and refined over hundreds of years.

Modern iaido is based upon ancient techniques that allowed Japanese warriors from the feudal period to be able to defend themselves by quickly drawing their swords and cutting down adversaries in the event of an unsuspected attack.  For the most part, forms are practiced in a solo fashion against an imaginary opponent with paired exercises being introduced at advanced levels.

Seitei Kata Training 

Training initially involves the 12 standard forms (Seitei Kata) laid down by the All Japan Kendo Federation or Zen Nihon Kendo Renmei (ZNKR).  The original Seitei Iaido curriculum was developed by a technical committee of the ZNKR and introduced in 1968. The committee developed a set of seven kata that were heavily influenced by the forms and techniques of a broad cross section of classical sword schools.  Since the original kata were introduced, three kata were added in 1981 and a further two in 2000 bringing the set to a total of 12.

Seiza no bu (kata commenced from the kneeling position Seiza)

1.  Ippon me - Mae
2.  Nihon me - Ushiro
3.  Sanbon me - Ukenagashi

Tate hiza no bu (kata commenced from the seated position Tate Hiza)

4.  Yonhon me - Tsuka-ate 

Tachi no bu (kata commenced from a standing position)

5.   Gohon me - Kesagiri
6.   Roppon me - Morotetsuki
7.   Nanahon me - Sanpogiri
8.   Happon me - Ganmenate
9.   Kyuhon me - Soetetsuki
10. Juppon me - Shihogiri
11. Juichippon me - Sougiri
12. Junippon me - Nuki uchi

The 12 Seitei Kata are the basis of a system of Iaido training that offers a significant challenge and at the same time is extremely rewarding.  The movements are often simple but can be very difficult to master. Ongoing practice builds the skill and understanding needed to perform each kata with precision and control.

Seitei is probably the most widely practiced system of iaido in Japan and has a significant following throughout the world.  The standard or seitei kata introduce the basic principles of sword handling and are widely used as a basis for grading and competition. The system teaches combative understanding and effectiveness, whilst safeguarding the learning practitioner, especially when using the shinken or live (sharpened) blade (not recommended at the beginning levels).

Koryu Iaido 

At more advanced levels, the techniques of traditional Iaido systems (or Koryu) are studied.  These koryu provides an avenue of deeper study of the art and an opportunity to participate in a tradition whose history can be traced back through the origins of Iai over hundreds of years.

Through Australian Kendo Renme links to other instructors in Japan and around Australia practice is also possible in the following Koryu systems:

     - Muso Shinden Ryu
    - Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu (Eishin)
     - Tamiya Ryu
     - Suioryu
     - Yagyu Shinkage Ryu

Modern  Application 

Whilst the practical applications of the art are obviously limited in modern times, iaido remains relevant in its own right and as a means of supplementary training to any martial art or other activity. Regular training develops overall physical condition including coordination and posture, whilst the meditative aspects of practice also develop mental qualities of decisiveness and focus.

AKR Grading 

ACT Kendo Renmei and students are eligible for internationally recognised grades issued by the Australian Kendo Renmei. (AKR). Opportunities to sit for gradings are held throughout the year in conjunction with seminars.

NOTE: Meidokan Kobudo Instructor J.R.Bear was a member of the AKR from 1994 until his retirement in 2014. He was Vice President of the ACT Kendo Renmei from 2006-2014. He attend all Annual Iaido Championships from 1994-2000 and most between 2006 and 2014. He attended the 1st AKR Jodo Seminar in 2000 and was graded to Shodan (1st dan) at that seminar, as he had been a practitioner of Shindomusoryu Jodo since 1994. This information is provided here becasue he is a strong supported of the AKR and his retirement was prompted by old injuries preventing his participation in contests and rigorous training in Japan. He graded to Sandan *3rd dan) in both AKR Iaido and AKR Jodo arts and was an Australian accredited coach in both disciplines. He also had concurrent study Muso Shinden Ryu Kenjutsu and SMR Jodo (He continues to train and teach these arts as part of the 'Meidokan Kobudo'.