The Way of the Sword
Iaido is the art of drawing and using the Japanese Samurai sword, with its origins in the feudal past of Japan, when the Samurai were the predominant caste.
Over hundreds of years of warfare, the art of swordsmanship was developed to an extremely high degree as individual swordsman would travel the country testing their technique at sword schools by challenges and matches. Probably the most famous was Miyamoto Musashi (1584-1645) who had over 60 duels, and wrote Go Rin No Sho (book of five rings) a book on technique and strategy.
However, one clan, the Tokugawa, subdued the country in 1600 after the battle of Sekigahara, this led to a relatively peaceful era which lasted almost 250 years.
Thus the Martial Art of Iaido was developed from one of war, to one of peace.
In Japan, as around the world today, there are many styles of swordsmanship, with people teaching and passing their knowledge on. Some have formulated Kata or set forms so that a standard can be used to rank practitioners, whilst others include cutting (tamagashiri).
Regardless of style or school each in their own way are contributing to keep this ancient art alive.
At The Mid Sussex Martial Arts School Iaido is sometimes used to build a better understanding of the other Martial Arts practiced in the Dojo, thus knowledge of Zanshin, Maii & Bushi are prized, above the simple knowledge of perhaps many varied techniques, as favoured by some Iaido Groups.