public marks

PUBLIC MARKS from Takwann with tags iaido & japanese


JJSA - Journal of Japanese Sword Arts

The Journal of Japanese Sword Arts began life in 1989 as a monthly newsletter. More than 90 issues and almost ten years later it is still being produced. The Journal contains news, reviews, announcements, and in depth articles concerning all aspects of the Japanese sword. The Journal contains all the copy in The Iaido Newsletter, plus much more. Check out the JJSA Awards for sword related websites. The editor, publisher, and chief inking boy is Kim Taylor, a long time student of Japanese sword, and associate editor of the Journal of Asian Martial Arts.

Komei Juku - Maui, Hawaii Iaijutsu

The first line of each couplet describes a natural phenomenon and the following line makes the point for the first line’s statement. This poem is not haiku but has a similar structure that sets a scene and follows with an allusion to an iaijutsu waza. The placement of the poem after the listed description of the Chuden wazas in the makimono suggests that it is not intended to be descriptions of or technical advice about the Chuden wazas. Rather the poem’s purpose seems to be to communicate the spirit and attitude that the practice of iaijutsu should develop. Therefore the poem should lead to understanding the spirit of iaijutsu.


The term “Iai” is taken from the Japanese phrase: “Tsune ni itte, kyu ni awasu”. The kanji (character) “I” can also be read as “itte” and “ai” as “awasu”. The meaning of this is “whatever we may be doing or wherever we may be, we must always be prepared for any eventuality”.


What's in a Name?

We are a strange people. Us western iaidoka, that is. We are all part of a rich culture that goes back to Ancient Greece and to the Roman Empire. Were we only interested in the martial arts of the sword, we would still find a number of Western ones teaching European, Italian, and Scottish swordsmanship, and even more. Yet we have instead opted to study arts which come from the far east, from a land and a culture that is foreign to most of us. We try to understand the culture and philosophy of those who came before us through our practice. One way to help this along is through the study of the Japanese language, and I hope here to perhaps enlighten some of our practice through understanding the names of our kata. By 'our', I mean here the kata commonly practiced in Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu and the Zen Nihon Kendo Renmei. Let's get to it, shall we?

2009 - The Study Of Iaido

This is the first in a continuing series of articles on the Japanese art of iaido the modern discipline or way of drawing the sword that was popularized in the 1930's. It was derived from iaijutsu, a sub-specialization of kenjutsu (sword arts) that was practiced by professional (samurai) warriors and involved methods of drawing the sword and cutting as a single motion. Future articles will focus on concepts that relate to practice and then on specific analyses of kata and basic techniques.