You ain’t kidding. Going from an iaito to a shinken in practice is appropriately terrifying. When I do a draw sloppy, it shaves paper-thin slices of wood off the inside of the saya. At the end of practice, I tap on it and see how I did lol.
Basically, iaido is a traditional Japanese sword-art involving drawing the sword, performing several cuts, clearing the blade of blood, and returning it to the scabbard. The style I practice has three levels of kata, and then there’s a set of standardized “seitei” kata recognized by Japan’s official kendo organization.
Here’s some of my training weapons:
- On top is a US-made dotanuki (basically a “beater” made for practice cutting) which is super simple but well made and hardy.
- 2nd is my first legit iaito from Japan which feels like an extension of my arm. My instructor insisted I get a slightly longer blade than my height would suggest because it’s harder but teaches good habits (like learning on responsive lol?)
- 3rd is my baby, a nihonto I bought myself a few years ago. It’s the only one forged by a smith in the traditional manner. Love the green silk tsuka ito, and the dragonfly ornaments are a little tribute to my son. It’s sharp enough to cut through the saya, so gotta go careful (which is kinda the point of iaido lol).
- The little blue tanto is also from Japan and was a gift from my aikido instructor after passing shodan.
- The wooden bokken & jo are what we use in jodo & aikido.