Iaido is a martial art that studies the movements associated with drawing and cutting with the Japanese sword.
Iaido is practiced by the repetition and perfection of predetermined movements in sequences called kata. These kata represent the opportunity to practice mental focus, physical endurance, and to understand ideal sword movement.
Araki Mujinsai Ryu Iaido consists of 30 sitting kata, 26 standing kata, and 13 paired kata.
There are four general movements common in iaido kata:
- Nukitsuke- drawing the sword from the sheath (saya) and initial cutting stroke
- Kiritsuke- overhead cut
- Chiburi- a movement of the sword symbolizing the removal of blood
- Noto- re-sheathing the sword
To practice we wear a keikogi (jacket), obi (belt), hakama (skirt-like trousers), and knee pads. We generally train with a blunt practice sword called an iaito.