Ann Arbor Dojo Discusses Iaito Features

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Michimich -- Did you know that very few people use a shinken – a real sword with a sharp edge - during iaido training?

For most of your time practicing iaido, you'll use an iaito, which has no sharp edge. Iaito vary widely in length, quality, types of fittings, and price. We practice Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu iaido at JMAC, and there are many factors that make for a good practice sword for this style:

Sword Material – Consider an alloy blade, as they tend to have a better feel than steel, which has good feel only in very expensive iaito.

Sword Length – Japanese swords are typically measured in the ancient system of shaku, sun, bu - roughly equal to a foot, an inch, and a centimeter. A typical iaito for our practice is between 2-shaku 3-sun (27.4 inches) and 2-shaku 4-sun 5-bu (29.2 inches). To find the best blade length for you, hold your right arm out straight and to the side, parallel to the floor. The length of your blade should be about the distance from the center of your sternum to the center of your right palm.

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Sword Shape – The kissaki (sword tip) should be the standard shinogi-zukuri shape, which means it's sharpened on the cutting-edge side only. Stay away from variations like shobu-zukuri (sharp on both top and bottom) and the more geometric kamasu-kissaki, which doesn't work well with our style of drawing the sword.

Sword Composition – Along the blade, a bohi (groove) is ideal to create the whooshing sound when the blade is aligned correctly. Some blades have a double bohi, but a single, deep bohi is better. The hamon (temper line), is only decorative on alloy iaito – it doesn't contribute to performance, so the style is a matter of your personal preference.

Do you want to learn iaido in a safe, supportive environment?

Begin practicing iaido in Ann Arbor ( at JMAC today!

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About Japanese Martial Arts Center: Located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, JMAC is an authentic Japanese martial arts facility that focuses on karate, judo, Nihon jujutsu, and iaido serving the Ann Arbor, Dexter, Chelsea, Pinckney, and Canton areas as well as all of Southeast Michigan. Experienced instructors train the mind, body, and spirit of members at an individualized pace, offering martial arts to both experienced and inexperienced students.

Source: Japanese Martial Arts Center

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