Paint Your Own Picture

“Paint your own picture” is something I’ve been challenging my students with lately. One of the hardest things about iaido is not only identifying that hidden opponent, but putting them in front of you and reacting to them as you move through your kata.

Seitei is pretty much a “by the book” style, so there’s not always that much room for creativity in some of the basic movements (kihon). It can become a routine of prescribed movements.

However, there is creativity in how you see your opponent and react to them. This emerges in timing (maai), distance (ma), pressure (seme), and continuing awareness (zanshin).

Much like an artist has to visualize the subject they are painting, the iaido practitioner has to visualize their opponent. Without seeing them, how can we effectively react? Without visualizing their movements, their spacing, and their timing, how can we avoid their cut and then counter?

Anybody can draw a stick figure and call it art, but that’s boring and uninspiring. It’s the composition, details, skill, and perspective that make it beautiful and unique. No two paintings are the same – ever.

If we apply those concepts to our iai every time we execute a kata, and start to “see” our opponents, we create something unique and beautiful.

I challenge you to “paint our own picture.”

2017 Iaido Summer Camp

It was a busy day of testing at the AUSKF Iaido and Jodo summer camp.
Iaido ranks received: Michael Jacobson 2kyu iaido, Michael Schuldt 1dan iaido.

Michael Jacobson 1kyu jodo, Adam Sandor 1kyu jodo, Michael Schuldt 1kyu jodo, Bradley Anderson 1kyu jodo.
This was the first AUSKF sponsored jodo rank testing to be offered at a camp, and ALL members who tested for 1kyu and 1dan this time PASSED.
Tomorrow rounds out the event with more jodo seminar, and then back to regular classes at home in Fargo.
Congratulations to all who passed, and a special thank you to everyone who attended and participated.

Nancy James wrote a very nice Facebook article and provided some excellent pictures of the event.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fnancy.james.92%2Fposts%2F10212666582967125&width=500

We just finished another awesome AUSKF Iaido summer camp. This year it was held in Bryn Mawr college near Philadelphia, PA. What a beautiful campus!
Attending sensei from Japan this year were Sakono sensei and Oda sensei, both 8dan in iaido.
Excellent teachings and seminar!
Two students from the Agassiz dojo placed in the tournament today. Adam Sandor won 3rd place in the unranked division, and Michael Schuldt got 2nd place in the 1kyu-1Dan division. Congratulations fellows,and nice job!
Tomorrow rounds out with the rank testing for both iaido and jodo, and then will be followed by the jodo seminar.
It’s been a great week so far!