Iaido is the traditional Japanese art that focuses on the methods of drawing and cutting with the samurai sword. The purpose of Iaido is to develop awareness, centeredness and a calm mind, through the practice of traditional sword techniques. It is the Japanese martial art that is most closely associated with the samurai class and Japanese nobility. It is not considered a sport, but rather a unique and ancient art for the development of mind, body and spirit.
Iaido is mostly performed solo as a series of forms called katas. There is no contact in Iaido and its sequences of movements are executed against one or multiple imaginary opponents. Each kata begins and ends with the sword sheathed. All Iaido forms emphasize etiquette in the respectful handling of the sword.
An in-depth reading of the Japanese characters for Iaido is:
• 居 - i - being
• 合 - ai - harmony
• 道 - do - way
“The way of harmonising oneself in action”