I started Iaido for no other reason than the ki society dojo I started in happened to have iaido classes taught by one of my aikido sempai after several of the aikido classes. He had been training in Iaido for 15 years at the time I began. It looked interesting. I liked my sempai, we became friends, I was going to all the aikido classes, he had a loaner sword. I started seriously after a couple of years of aikido. I was going to all the akido classes anyway so it wasn't much more of a commitment. It really wasn't a conscious decision to do so because of being relevant to aikido, but I did feel it helped my aikido and vice versa. I think Toby Threadkill's website essay on why he does what he does is relevant - basically it's fun. For me part of the fun is I have met many and have several good aikido friends because Iaido has been the bridge over any potential aikido organizational politics.
Now the question - why was Iaido classes so available to me? or why did my aikido sempai start iaido ? I can't answer that but partly it must be because Iaido classes were available at the place he started aikido. He started aikido at the New England Aikikai around 1979 and at the time Kanai Sensei was teaching Iaido classes as well as Aikido classes. Kanai Sensei was considered very good at Iaido even though he never officially ranked but he had students who did rank. About a year after starting aikido my sempai started iaido at NEA. NEA was hosting visits by Mitsuzuka Takeshi Sensei, Hachidan also around that time (I have seen the old seminar posters).
Now why was Kanai Sensei teaching and doing Iaido in addition to aikido at NEA ? I can't answer that but my undestanding is that Mitsuzuka Takeshi Sensei's teacher Nakayama Hakudo Sensei was friends with Morihei Ueshiba Sensei were friends (just google the names together and you can this believed to be true by reputable sources). AJ has old b&w video of my style of Iaido being performed at the Aikikai Hombu dojo when O'sensei was still alive (1950's?).
So for me Iaido and Aikido connection simply goes back to the founder of aikido and the relationships he had with other famous 20th century Japanese martial artists.
I also find it adds a bit of yang (yo) to aikido's yin (in) in the balance of my martial arts training. Also my physicality in the movement of my aiki-ken and aiki-jo is I believe quite a bit different than it would otherwise be because of iaido.
Last edited by kironin : 03-16-2007 at 11:21 AM.