Iaido, a form of Japanese swordsmanship, involves the study of kata (forms) in which the practitioner draws a katana (Japanese sword) from its scabbard in a smooth, controlled movement; cuts down one or more visualized opponents; removes the blood from the blade; and then replaces the sword in the scabbard. The essence of Iaido is the unification of body, mind, spirit, and sword, so that all work together in harmony. Through this practice one cultivates self-respect, courage, poise, and the ability to relax when facing difficult situations. The ability to harness physical action and mental concentration in a single effort, and in a “natural” and efficient manner, is cultivated by the effort to be completely in the present moment, fully aware of one’s surroundings. Iaido is focused on cultivating the mind and conditioning the body through rigorous and focused training, with the objective of improving the self rather than preparing to harm others. This objective can be summarized as the cultivation of fudoshin (不動心, “immovable mind” or “immovable heart”), a state of psychological and spiritual equanimity or imperturbability.

Study of Iaido at Kyoseikan dojo focuses mainly on the Muso Shinden Ryu tradition, although the Seitei Iai kata and the Shindo Munen Ryu single and partnered forms as developed by T.K. Chiba Shihan may be introduced. Practice is held on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday evenings. You are welcome to come observe practice at any time. A brief interview with the instructor is required before joining the program.

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