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Samurai Sword Arts (Kenjutsu - Iaijutsu - Iaido)


Kenjutsu (sword fighting) along with Iaijutsu comprise the basic principles of swordsmanship.  Kenjutsu is the forerunner of Kendo, Iaijutsu, and Iaido.  It was outlawed in 1876 when the wearing of swords was banned.  Schools of Kenjutsu flourished from the ninth century on.  Ten centuries later, hundreds of Kenjutsu schools were still in operation.  Masters and students continually attempted to improve their techniques, adapting the methods of other schools if they proved effective.  As might be expected, numerous personal battles were fought among students and teachers of different schools to prove whose method was superior.  Over time, Kenjutsu developed into the art and sport of Kendo. 

Iaijutsu and Iaido

The primary goal of Iaijutsu is to be able to draw one's sword so quickly and accurately that one's opponent has no time to to act or react and therefore cannot defend and is cut in the unsheathing process. 

Iaido is the way of drawing the sword (sheathing and unsheathing the sword).  It evolved from Kenjutsu and Iaijutsu.  Iaido is more of a spiritual and mental discipline.  Practitioners of this art practice drawing the sword for many hours every day.  The draw is done at a slow, very controlled pace and consists of many movements for drawing, slicing, and cutting.  The practitioner is vying for perfection in all aspects of this art.