The Way of Iai
Iaido (居合道) or the “Way of Iai” is a means of training the body and mind in the manner of the ideal classical warrior, embodying resolute spirit in the calm comportment of drawing the sword and cutting in a single motion.
Iai primarily translates conceptually, meaning “always adapting, harmonizing, meeting with the environment while prepared to respond to any situation.” Older traditions of combative sword drawing often used more plainly descriptive terms such as battojutsu (抜刀術) or bakken (抜剣 literally “drawing the sword”), nukiuchi (抜き打ち or “drawing and striking”), and others. All described an austere practice of mental and physical organization and weapons manipulation allowing the practitioner to instantly deploy a sword in either attack or defense, often at very close quarters including while grappling.
The Muso Shinden-ryu (夢想神伝流) practiced at School of Budo is a modern art of Iai with deep classical roots, founded by Nakayama Hakudo in 1932. Nakayama was a highly regarded swordsman and teacher in Japan in the early 20th century. He based his Muso Shinden-ryu on studies in two branches of the Hasegawa Eishin-ryu (長谷川英信流) which in turn traced its lineage back to Hayashizaki Jinsuke Shigenobu (1542-1621) whom some consider to be the founder of iaijutsu (居合術).