Iaido, is an offshoot of Kendo, a traditional martial art of Japan.
Kendo, though its origin lay in fighting by use of the real swords, nowadays is played between two contestants with bamboo-sticks (Shinai), whereas iaido is played singly with either the real sword (Shinken) or an imitation training sword (Iaito).
Iaido is an art of self-defence that you draw the sword immediately against an enemy’s sudden attack to win at the very moment when the sword leaves the sheath.
It was initiated about four hundred years ago and has been followed by many kendo players ever since. Its training or practice is very hard because the purpose of Iaido is to ultimately master the secret to win over your enemy without drawing the sword or to spiritually conquer your opponent with your sword left in the sheath, that is, you may settle problems without resorting to arms.
Iaido is the counterpart of TACHI-IAI and is also referred to as IAI, IAI-BATTO JUTSU etc., or SAYA-NO-NAKA (With A Sword Left In The Sheath).
Iaido was initiated as a martial art at the very moment when the sword leaves the sheath, taking a posture to respond promptly against the enemy’s sudden attack.”I” means where you yourself are, hence, we call these situations below “I”, where you are standing, while you are walking and when you are running. “AI” means such actions as you may respond timely and quickly according to your opponents actions. In this situation, if you pull your sword out of the sheath, it may be called KENDO.
Iaido and kendo are just like the two wheels of a cart, being so closely related and have been practiced together through the long history of Japan’s martial arts.
The All Japan Kendo Federation lately developed a new program for practice called Zen Nihon Kendo Renmei (Z.N.K.R.’s enacted IAI instructions). It reflects various old schools of Iaido in that their representative or basic forms, techniques, manners, etc. have been adopted in this new program. It is highly useful, therefore, to both beginners and experts.