IAIDO : Preparation, Harmony
The meaning of Iaido is hard to translate literally, but it combines ideas of alertness with harmony: wherever you are and whatever you are doing be prepared, so that if necessary a situation can be resolved by force of spirit and decisive technique. The Japanese sword is the tool used in this training, starting with a wooden sword (bokuto), and then progressing to a blunt training blade (iaito). Sharp swords (shinken) are only used by experienced practitioners. At Ojika men and women train in Iaido together but we only accept under-18s under exceptional circumstances.
Most Iaido training is done through learning and repeating solo forms (Kata), polishing and refining technique and spirit. At Ojika we practice modern seitei Iaido, used for gradings and competitions, as well as the classical Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu style which traces its lineage back to 17th Century Japan.
A number of Ojika members have represented the UK at international level in Iaido, some gaining medals at European Championship level. However taikai is only one part of training; mostly it's practice, change and polish. Learning the shape of an Iaido kata is just the start, there is always something more to adapt and alter to make an improvement. This is the -do, the Way, of Iaido.
Instructors: Martin Chambers (5th Dan), John Burn (5th Dan), Rob Townson (5th Dan), Kevin McNeill (4th Dan).
Higher level UK-based teachers guide our training, following the Harusuke-ha lineage of MJER Iaido as taught by Oshita Masakazu sensei, Kyoshi 8th Dan.