View Full Version : Aikido and Iaido...together?

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04-22-2006, 01:56 PM
I would like to know if anyone has any opinions or knowledge on whether practicing Aikido and Iaido together has postiive or negative effects on either discipline?

04-22-2006, 02:12 PM
My brother trained in both for years, he is a Nidan in both arts...no negative effects for him,

Pauliina Lievonen
04-22-2006, 02:37 PM
I do both aikido and iaido... positives from iaido practice into aikido: chance to practice balancing in a wide stance with a weight in my hands, getting more familiar with handling a sword (my cuts have definitely improved), focus, moving up and down to seiza and standing while staying upright in balance.... Negatives from aikido to iaido: I tend to stand like I do in aikido which isn't correct for iaido. In general the two disciplines don't seem to interfere too much. I guess they could though, there are so many different styles of aikido and iaido, it might be somewhat dependent on the respective styles you plan to study.

My sensei had two questions when I wanted to start iaido: 1. Do you enjoy doing it? and 2. Do the classes clash with aikido practice? :)


Tennessee Mike
04-22-2006, 02:44 PM
I hopefully will finally get an opportunity to practice iaido. Will one day a week suffice? Unfortunately a second day will conflict with my aikido. Also the iaido shihan is a shotokan karate teacher. Does there seem to differences in MJER like in aikido between schools?

Dennis Hooker
04-22-2006, 03:06 PM
I do both, many of my senior studens do both also. see www.shindai.com

04-22-2006, 06:58 PM
Shoji Nishio Sensei considered the two to be inseparable. Read his book "Yurusu Budo" or the books by Stephi Varjan, Ethan Weisgard and Michael Russ. Senseis Varjan and Russ are senior Nishio students. Weisgard has some good stuff about bukiwaza in general.

04-22-2006, 11:59 PM
It seems to be quite a common pairing of arts, from my experience.

As for benefits, probably the most obvious would be the individual learning how to strike correctly. Far too many aikidoka seem to utilise a bokken as a bashing implement, rather than the slicing one it is meant to represent.

04-23-2006, 02:03 AM
Some styles of Aikido benefits from co-practicing in some styles of Iaido. The two things will not per se be good for each other - it dependes on your or your teachers ability to connect the fundamentals of each art. Nishio sensei was - and many of his students are - proof that it is possible to make iaido (aiki-toho) a very interesting and positive influence on aikido - but others have a different approach to aikido.

Learning a sword art will not automatically improve your aikido. It all depends on so many issues. But if you think you would enjoy it, then just go ahead and do it. I would hardly think it would do any 'damage' to your aikido. Kendo though is - in my experience - not ideal. It can cultivate an agressiveness that is not usefull in Aikido - but I know many people here disagree, so find out for yourself or ask your sensei.

Happy practice...

- JJ

04-23-2006, 09:22 PM
Kendo though is - in my experience - not ideal. It can cultivate an agressiveness that is not usefull in Aikido - but I know many people here disagree, so find out for yourself or ask your sensei.

I will disagree in part.

There are some quite useful lessons kendo can impart to one's aikido practice. Perhaps the most notable is that of forceful movement from one's centre. While this is something that should also be gleaned from aikido practice, it seems to be more readily grasped in kendo.

There are other benefits as well, athough they are internal aspects that are not immediately obvious.

But then there are the ways of doing things that appear inimical to aikido practice. Finding a compromise is not always possible.

Jeffrey A. Fong
04-23-2006, 09:50 PM
I've had the good fortune to study both under the guidance of Marvin Bookman. To me, they both share the same formal and contemplative nature I've sought in my practice. Of course, so much of Aikido is born of sword, so therein lies the tie. :ai:

Jory Boling
04-23-2006, 09:53 PM
I've been doing aikido for a while, but just started iaido last week. Two of my friends say that iaido helped them in aikido, but it's too soon for me to know, yet.

So far, there are some differences being taught to me while doing sword work. In my case, the postures are different. To keep them separate, I'm only going to do iai related stuff with my iaito and if I have a bokto in hand, it's only for the aikido stuff. I hope that helps develop triggers in my mind for which way to do things. Heh. We'll see.

Shannon Frye
04-24-2006, 10:53 PM
I've found that the two (aikido and iaido) complement each other rather nicely.

There are several techniques (in AIkido) that I didn't quite "get" until a bokken was added into the technique. Then it became clear.

In iaido, my technique is better because I better understand the movements without the sword. Especially when we started in kenjutsu. Now instead of simply mimicing a movement, I find that I have a deeper understanding of not only how and why I am moving like I am, but also can visualize how a defender might counter.

04-25-2006, 01:50 AM
Although technically not iaido, I certainly found early on that doing ukemi with a live blade in your hand can deepen your awareness in a most profound way! ;)

04-25-2006, 08:50 AM
i do both mjer iai and aikikai aikido.
ive done iai a bit longer than aiki and can see easily the differences and similarities.
my advice would be to do one art for a while before doing the other aswell so as to avoid confusion.
but yes, they do compliment eachother, though perhaps not as closely as kendo and iaido.

incidently the headmaster of my iai school trained with ueshiba sensei for a bit.

what style iai is it that you are going to be doing?

04-25-2006, 08:57 AM
I hopefully will finally get an opportunity to practice iaido. Will one day a week suffice? Unfortunately a second day will conflict with my aikido. Also the iaido shihan is a shotokan karate teacher. Does there seem to differences in MJER like in aikido between schools?

at the beginning one day a week (with home practice should do) but the more you do it the more you will need.
i could do with lessons everyday, then that wouldnt be enough.
iai-aholic? moi?
if aiki is your main art then that must take precedence in when you can train of course.
iai is very personal. in the big seminars its easy to see who is from which club. even the senoir instructors are very different from eachother. part of this is because of their physical abilities etc. but also how they interpret the waza. yet still there is a standard way. it is a very intersting art.
then of course you have the different ryu and ryu-ha that have different overall styles and waza etc.
not that im bias, but you cant go too wrong with mjer. its the bestest school. make sure your teacher is a good one too though.

04-25-2006, 11:31 AM
The dojo I train at teaches Aikido, Muso-Shinden Ryu, and Toyama Ryu Iaido. Aikido and Iaido are taught as completely separate arts and there is no attempt to 'cross over' (there is some sword-work in Aikido but it is taught as traditional aikido kumitachi). Students study both if they choose to, and everyone I've talked to about it seems to 'get something' out of studying both arts. I, however, knowing myself, just stick with aikido so I don't confuse myself. Likewise there are several students that just come to the dojo to train purely in iaido.

04-25-2006, 01:45 PM
Sorry if I posted this twice? Can I practice Iaido along side of my Aikido, or do I have to be invited to practice Iaido within my own dojo. What are the positives/negatives if any. Thanks :)

04-25-2006, 01:49 PM
I should clarify I haven't asked yet! My first class in three years is tonight, but i have been practicing on my own Iaido, by DVD education. Yes?No? Or should I just wait! Thanks again.

Jorge Garcia
04-25-2006, 01:53 PM
To me, Aikido and Iaido are two completely different martial arts. If a person took Katori Shinto ryu or Yangyu Shinkage ryu or one of the sword arts that influenced O Sensei, that might have more value than taking Muso Shinden ryu or other such Iaido arts less related to Aikido movement. I think what Nishio Sensei did with his Iaido was a good idea in that what he did does have relevant applications to our art.

04-26-2006, 02:06 PM
Just be careful you don't end up like this guy :eek:
This guy had a mis-hap during the "blind" re-sheathing
part of Iaido. Missing the scabbard his katana ran
through his left forearm protruding 6" out the other
side. He said he should have known better than to use
a sharpened blade.

warning: Pictures of stitched up wounds attached

04-26-2006, 03:45 PM
I know a ToyamaRyu instructor who has a video of a demonstration by an experienced Japanese instructor. In this video, you can plainly see a mishap as it occurs during a drawing of the instructor's katana, wherein a large portion of the instructor's thumb goes flying across the stage... :yuck: Food for thought...

peter martin-browning
04-28-2006, 01:25 PM
Hello Matthew

A year ago I started learning aiki jo and aiki ken with an aikido dojo, and Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu iaido at a different dojo. My iaido very definitely adds to the quality of my learning in aiki ken and aiki jo, and vice versa.
May I however advise caution. If you want iaido to enhance your aikido practice, do make sure that what you are learning is iaido. The power in aikido does not come from aggression, and this is also true with iaido. You would not expect your aikido sensei to tell you that you should attack with more aggression, or to make your technique more snappy. You would expect him to teach you to concentrate on basics for a long time, to fluidly engage your hara to deliver power, and to concentrate on correct technique as taught by the originators of aikido. Some people who are claiming to teach iaido will acknowledge the potency of hara, while at the same time exhorting you to be more aggressive/think about how it would be "on the street"/do it faster/do it with more snap/do it so the sword makes a sound as you cut, etc etc. Eventually the sword will make a sound. Eventually you will be fast. Eventually you will cut or block with potency. But if you start out with a teacher who tells you that by a certain stage you should be more aggressive, or faster, or that your sword should make a sound by now, you will not be learning iaido, and its benefits will not transfer to aikido. Indeed I would go so far as to say that if you train in iaido with someone who demands you be fast or aggressive, you will no longer be doing aikido, either.

At your service

Peter Martin-Browning

04-28-2006, 03:02 PM
Although technically not iaido, I certainly found early on that doing ukemi with a live blade in your hand can deepen your awareness in a most profound way! ;)

Do you mean rolling with a live blade !?!
If that is the case, I don't know what to say ! :freaky:
Rolling with the scabbard in your belt is also a very bad idea.

04-29-2006, 04:32 AM
Not rolling in particular, but taking falls in general. Learning to fall with a blade pretty much goes with picking one up at all. CAREFULLY, and with the direct instruction of a QUALIFIED instructor. Obviously, most practice involves a bokken or other safe device. Use of a live blade should NEVER be employed until a high level of skill is attained.

My point was that, despite any amount of practice without a blade, one's level of concentration naturally increases with real steel in hand, and that it is useful to try to harness that same level of focus for ALL training. My post was more "tongue-in-cheek" than anything else (notice the "wink" at the end). I would NEVER advocate that ANYONE grab the katana displayed on their mantle and head for the dojo to roll around with it. Please excuse me if I gave that impression.

Takao Hattori
05-21-2006, 09:23 PM

Can you open motto ,Tohoiai of above home page -Shunyoukai ?

I practiced Muso Shinden Ryu,Toyama Ryu,Araki Ryu ,TohoIai for Aikido. Finally I practice TohoIai to refine my Aikido.
In 1989,I enjoyed Aikido in Cincinnati,and now I am looking forward to seeing McGinnis Sensei again.
Yokosuka Japan
Takao Hattori