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Can anybody tell me if Iai is a part of Aikido? I'm kinda new to all this and researching for college work.
Not generally, but some aikido teachers, as Mongo and Ted noted, inclue it or offer it a part of the school's curriculum. A couple of aikido folks (Nishio and Chiba come ot mind) have actually incorporated sword-drawing into their aikido and practice a form of iai as part of their aikido.
Just to follow up on Chuck's mail - Nishio sensei has studie Iai-do and has developed his own Aiki-toho. For some years it was recognised as a form of Iaido - but these days it's concidered a seperate budo. It incorporates the movements of Aikido combined with the use of the sword, and therefore can have a very nice influence on ones aikido (in my opinion ).