Sussex Bonsai Group are delighted to welcome Seishin Iaido who will demonstrate a traditional Japanese sword style called Muso Shinden Ryu.
WHAT IS IAIDO?
Iaido is a non-combative martial art that involves no direct physical contact or combat with other individuals. Practitioners perform kata (set forms) that represent confrontational situations against an imaginary opponent. The kata involve drawing the sword, making one or more cuts, cleaning the blade, and returning the sword to the saya (scabbard) with concentration and focus.
There are some two-person kata, but these are choreographed, with one person defending against a pre-defined series of attacks.
There are many styles of Iaido, most of which date back hundreds of years. The style taught at Seishin is known as Muso Shinden Ryu .
Like most Iaido, Muso Shinden Ryu can trace its roots back to Hayashizaki Jinsuke Shigenobu (1546-1621). As a young man he went to a Shinto shrine where he spent quite some time. According to a vision he got in a dream he developed the batto-techniques (techniques where one draws the sword and strikes with one motion). He called his style Shinmei Muso ryu. Later known as Shin Muso Hayashizaki ryu.
Over the centuries, these techniques have been refined and adjusted to those we have today. The older styles of Iaido, of which there are many, are referred to as Koryu and are practiced all over the world. Muso Shinden Ryu as we know it today was born in early 1900s. by Nakayama Hakudo-sensei, a man who had dedicated his life to the study of kendo and Iaido.
A strict traditional etiquette is followed at all times. Iaido is normally practised wearing hakama (baggy pleated trousers) and keiko gi (training jacket). An iai obi (sword belt) is worn under the hakama to hold the sword in place. The hakama is usually black or dark blue, and the keikogi, often a matching colour. Unlike in most other Japanese martial arts, there is no outward indication of rank by the clothing worn. The swords used range from bokuto or bokken (wooden sword) for beginners, to Iaito (blunt practice swords) for the more experienced. In fact both weapons are used.