What is Iaido?
Iaido is often confused with both kendo (剣道), kenjutsu and battojutsu (抜刀術). While all three are martial arts involving the Japanese sword, they differ in focus and methodology. Iaido can be described as a specialized version of kenjutsu which specializes in dominating the first few moments of combat, before the swords have even been drawn. Battojutsu focuses on cutting technique using bamboo or tatamitargets. Kendo, as an art, is not interested in drawing/sheathing since the shinai uses no scabbard, and adds a sporting aspect over the other two arts. Furthermore, Musonshindenryu iaido is performed individually against one or more imaginary opponents in pre-arranged situations (kata) and with a metal blade, while kendo is meant to be done in pairs and since there is free, full contact sparring, a flexible bamboo sword and protective armor are needed. Kenjutsu, which primarily uses a bokuto for practice, is also executed in the form of kata but in pairs, and does not draw or re-sheath. There are some Musoshindenryu and Muso Jikiden Eishin ryu kata, “Tachi-uchi no kurai,” which is a paired set of kata using bokuto with saya and is similar to the kendo kata.
The primary emphasis of iaido is on the psychological state of being aware. The secondary emphasis is on drawing the sword and responding to the sudden attack as quickly as possible. Starting positions can be from combative postures or from everyday sitting or standing positions. The ability to react quickly from different starting positions was considered essential for a samurai (侍).
In addition to iaido, we practice Seitei jodo, some kendo kata, and some kenjutsu in the form of Tachi-uchi-no-kurai.
Adult classes are held from 6:45 – 9:45 p.m. every Monday and Thursday at the dojo location in Fargo, ND. We’re sharing space with the ND Elite Cheer school, 758 34th ST N, Suite N, Fargo, ND 58102.
This link opens a calendar with the class schedule and other events.
We have a variety of experience levels in the dojo from unranked to dan ranks. Currently everyone trains together. As learners progress and start achieving higher ranking, we may offer advanced classes as well.
No appointment is necessary to come to the dojo and watch a class. During the break or after class is over, you may speak with Sensei or any of the dojo students to ask any questions that you may have. It is preferred that you call or mail ahead to alert the instructor of your plan to visit.