NYC Budo

Aiki Jujutsu | Iaijutsu | Kendo | Self Defense | Goju-Ryu

NYC and Long Island's School of Traditional Jujutsu, Classical Japanese Sword Arts and Kendo

History of Iai


Iaido (居合道 Iaidō?), abbreviated with iai (居合?), is a modern Japanese martial art. Iaido is associated with the smooth, controlled movements of drawing the sword from its scabbard or saya, striking or cutting an opponent, removing blood from the blade, and then replacing the sword in the scabbard. While new practitioners of iaido may start learning with a wooden sword (bokken) depending on the teaching style of a particular instructor, most of the practitioners use the blunt edged sword, called iaito.


The term 'iaido' appear in 1932 and consists of the kanji characters 居合道. The origin of the first two characters, iai (居合?), is believed to come from saying Tsune ni ite, kyū ni awasu (常に居て、急に合わす?), that can be roughly translated as “being constantly (prepared), match/meet (the opposition) immediately”. Thus the primary emphasis in 'iai' is on the psychological state of being present (居). The secondary emphasis is on drawing the sword and responding to the sudden attack as quickly as possible (合). Last character, 道 is generally translated into English as the way. The term 'iaido' approximately translates into English as "the way of mental presence and immediate reaction", and was popularized by Nakayama Hakudo. The term emerged from the general trend to replace the suffix -jutsu (術?) with -dō (道?)