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The term Iaïdo is composed of 3 Kanji meaning approximately:

  • I:to live, to exist

  • Have :harmony, unity

  • Do:The way

Iaido can therefore be translated as the path of life in harmony, or exist in union with the path.


The Iaido (Often also called Iai) brings together a set of Japanese long sword (Katana) fencing techniques which consist of drawing and cutting in the same movement. And this preferably with a real Katana, whose unequaled cutting edge prohibits any recovery.

The first attack is never lethal, it can hinder the perception of the adversary, by wearing Atemi to his face, plexus and hands, or by cutting him superficially at the level of the eyes, of the chest.

The techniques consist of attacks, parries and counter attacks including lethal cuts.

The blade is then "wrung out" of the blood that stains it and sheathed.

The origins of Iaido date back to the Japanese Middle Ages during the war period (Sengoku-jidai between the 14th and 17th centuries).

Security was precarious and the warrior (Samurai or Bushi) permanently carried the Katana through the belt with the cutting edge facing upwards.

The Bushi had noticed that during unforeseen attacks (At the bend of a crossroads, inside a building), it was the speed with which one drew and chained a counter-attack that made it possible to acquire a fundamental advantage in combat.

It is from this observation that Iaido was born.

The practice of this martial art requires a solemn spirit, extreme concentration and skill. Every move, such as your arm, leg and body movements, must match your opponent's offensive moves and it is very important that the practitioner follows and applies the rules of the discipline completely and carefully.

The secret of Iaido, "A calm mind". With a serene heart, you put your hand on the Tsuka of your sword and in a fraction of a second your hand takes out the sword to make a cut, then you find your mind calm.

The serene mind must be cultivated at all times. It is said that the sword is like the mind. If the sword is upright, the spirit is upright, but if the spirit is not honest, the sword can never be used correctly.

Even if you devote yourself to its practice with all your heart and soul, it will be very difficult for you to master Iaido completely. However, it will be possible for you, through practice, to evolve step by step towards the ultimate goal.

In ancient times, the Iai was also called "Saya no uchi" (Litt: sheathed sword) which meant that the fight could be won without drawing the sword.

Iaido, whose ultimate goal is never aggressiveness, is a real school of moral and physical training, which seeks human perfection through practice. In Iaido, the training of the mind is even more important than the technical training. The purpose of Iaido is therefore not to control or cut off an enemy, but rather to master one's own EGO.



Our Western mind has great difficulty in conceiving how the idea of the sword, which precisely symbolizes a weapon of death, can be linked to an idea of wisdom and even more to the notion of Way or "Do", "Michi".

However, certainly more than the traditional wisdoms to which we are accustomed, more than the idea of contemplation, of work on oneself, of renouncing the world, of renouncing the things of life and more the ascetic idea that it supposes, "The Way of the Saber", in its ultimate definition, includes in itself all the most essential steps of wisdom and, in a certain way, carries their expression to the absolute.

Obviously, we are not in Japan and we no longer have the required conditions and it is even extremely difficult for us to conceive what the definition and application of "The Way of the Saber" could be in Japan.

Iaido can translate into the path of living in harmony, or exist in union with the path.

Learning Iaido is very difficult and not immediate. Like Budo, Iaido is a story of passion, will and serenity, it is the experience of a lifetime. Many practitioners give up their quest along the way, because the path is long, arduous, and full of illusions. Be hard on yourself and tolerant of others.

When a Martial Art becomes a "Michi", a way, Bu-shi-do becomes Bu-do.

The wish to perpetuate the tradition and to encourage an invaluable spiritual practice in accordance with the spirit of Budo.


The inner search

The notion of fighting against the other that today's society seeks to impose is more promising than the idea of personal and inner research. In the world of combat in the West, we generally find the notion of winning or losing, which provokes hatred and pride, engendering perpetual war, while in the meaning of Bujutsu, it is a question of adopting the attitude of not to be defeated. In the Tokugawa era (17th century), this attitude made peace reign for 300 years.

It is difficult to understand the true way only by the practice of Iaido or the sword. You have to know the smallest and the biggest things, the most superficial (Knowing all aspects of life) and the deepest as if there were a straight line drawn on the ground. This straight road is a reference to the Japanese "Michi", ie the path whose ideal permeates all the actions of Budo. You must constantly seek to deepen the technique of the sword by learning to know yourself.

For those who persevere in this way, Iaido is a discipline that makes people real. Japanese Budo is life, it's natural. After many years of practice, one always discovers and one always advances in one's research. We open doors all the time, we become aware of the true value of things. The truth is immediately found in Iaido. You can't cheat. As soon as we start to draw the sword, we discover ourselves. It is the story of a life.

In this spirit, lovers of wisdom practice Zen, in the art of Iaido. Indeed, the method and the goal merge, because the training has no other object than one's experience: "By accepting one's limits, one becomes limitless", taught Dogen Zenji.

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