Iaido is a traditional Japanese Martial Art which can trace it’s lineage over 450 years. 

It is basically the martial art of ‘Drawing the sword’ and is done in a formalised set of practices known as Kata. 

Kata are usually, but not always, done alone and are intended to help the student to practice sword skills that would be of use in any situation where swords may be drawn with intent. Of course, these skills cannot be used ‘for real’ nowadays and indeed it must be noted that modern technology has overtaken the katana as a weapon of warfare. A modern day Iaido-ka will have their own personal reasons for study but many will have reasons such as improving fitness, improving their outlook on life, improving their co-ordination and last but not least - wanting to learn a traditional Japanese martial art that will provide both physical and mental challenges. 

The Kata are broken down into various sets, the first is named below, which allow students to learn entire sets at a time before progressing to the next more advanced set. Of course the word ‘learn’ is used somewhat loosely here; perhaps ‘get a good grounding on the basics to enable the student be able to be taught further and to better develop themselves’ might be closer to the mark. This is because we are all still learning and improving on even those Kata that we were taught many years ago. We must also accept that by learning a more advanced set we may have to re-evaluate and re-visit our understanding of those sets that had preceded them. So it is quite clear that anyone wishing to learn Iaido fully must be prepared to apply themselves to their utmost and to spend many years doing so. 

SEITEI – Standard Set 

The following kata are the first set that are taught at the Budokan Dojo. This is in accordance with the British Kendo Association and the Zen Nippon Kendo Renmei. They are the ‘standards’ that students of most sword schools across the world will learn to provide the foundation blocks for understanding the basics of Japanese swordsmanship. A fundamental benefit of learning this set is that it gives a grading panel a template on which to be able to assess a student’s progress and whether or not they merit being upgraded. Given the plethora of styles out there it would be almost impossible for a Sensei of one sword school to be able to appropriately judge a student of a totally different sword school who was performing kata that that Sensei had never seen before. So the following are a universal set taught with a Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu flavour. 

1. Mae 
2. Ushiro 
3. Uke Nagashi 
4. Tsuka Ate 
5. Kesa Giri 
6. Morote Tsuki 
7. Sanpo Giri 
8. Ganmen Ate 
9. Soete Tsuki 
10. Shiho Giri 
11. Sou Giri 
12. Nuki Uchi

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