The Iaido Journal  Apr 2010
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Why I Do Iaido

copyright 2010 Jason Wong, all rights reserved
              
I began iaido as a substitute for kendo. The activity was, primarily, to get me out of the dorm room and into something active. Doing Iaido merely as a physical activity, however, became an exercise in futility, as running after the bus was more physically demanding than precisely swinging an iaito. Clearly, this new art also demanded a new way of thinking about the Japanese Sword Arts.


Today, I do iaido as a way to keep a venerable Japanese tradition alive. As a student of history, it is in my prerogative to learn about the past. I believe, however, that we must not simply read and memorize facts from dusty old books. It is important to experience and study history in its entirety. Iaido helps me understand the culture and the mentality that caused some of the most important events that shaped South East Asian history. Through training, we see the kind of working relationship people had with one another, and how it affected their world view.


Iaido is meditation in motion. Instead of the fear, chaos, and ferocity of a kendo match, iaido provides a measure of peace. It allows me to concentrate on performing one action after another, and trains me to shut out distractions. Understanding this skill is key to block out distractions when studying or working. Focusing on technique and repeating proper form in iaido will improve my kendo, because good form and posture will become automatic, allowing me to concentrate harder on timing and anticipating an opponent in a match. Therefore, iaido is good mental preparation for many aspects of life.


My reasons for studying Iaido have changed rapidly in the short time I have been practicing. In the future, I foresee that these reasons will continue to change as the art changes me. As a person ages, it is important to keep moving. The techniques in iaido could become important in improving joint and bone health, along with muscle strength.


Jason is currently a student at the Rai Un Kai in Thunder Bay and is a 2010 recipient of the Haruna Scholarship to the Guelph Iaido and Jodo seminar: http://seidokai.ca/iai.seminar.html

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