The Establishment of Zen Nihon Kendo Renmei (Seitei) Iaido
Kendo and iaido have a very close relationship. Kendoka can take account of various
aspects of iai: drawing (nukitsuke) and resheathing (noto) the katana, and moreover the right
way to wield the sword, (ki-power), the specific hand positions and so on.
People who practise neither iaido nor kendo often ask a kendoka whether he also trains iaido.
When this question is answered in the negative, the questioner often seems surprised and the
kendoka should be embarrassed too. This example shows the idea that kendo and iaido
belong to the same discipline and that a kendoka naturally has some understanding of iaido.
If kendoka would really practise with the genuine sword, the reproach which can be heard
time and again these days, according to which modern kendo is just shinai-kendo, would be
toned down soundly.
There are some problems in practising iai, however: there are various styles and each
individual school has a certain number of different techniques. In the time available, a human
being can hardly do justice to this multitude. This being so, it is hard for those who follow the
way of iaido to master the individual techniques. With respect to these facts it is desirable, for
kendoka as well as for the propagation of iai, to extract and summarize the essence of iaido
and also the fundamental techniques of the individual schools. This foundation should enable
a kendoka not only to possess elementary knowledge of iaido but also to be actually able to
draw and wield the sword. From this point of view there has already been a tentative attempt
to provide this foundation within the Zen Nihon Kendo Renmei. Fortunately this time, the
realisation of the intention can be expedited.
A design of a foundation, which appears suitable to us, was drawn and, to our common joy,
proclaimed in 1968 at the Kyoto taikai. Personally, I hope that those who practise kendo are
at least acquainted with these basics. The teachers who examined and laid down the kata for
the foundation of iaido of the Zen Nihon Kendo Renmei, are of the opinion that these reflect
the principal techniques for eighty to ninety percent. Therefore, this foundation is fully
appropriate as a beginning, but not exhaustive for the way of iaido. iaido has many
techniques and applications and comprises a profound spiritual aspect. Thus I think it
necessary that those who take the trouble to follow the way of iaido will develop themselves
further after this foundation and also seek to master the traditional styles.
Zen Nihon Kendo Renmei