Skip to main content

Musō Jikiden Eishin-Ryū Iaido

The style of Iaido I practice is called Musō Jikiden Eishin-Ryū Iaido, hereinafter referred to as MJER Iai. MJER Iai is a globally practised school of Iaido. Some refer to it simply as Eishin-Ryū, but Eishin-Ryū refers to a specific set of kata that is only a piece of the whole picture.

Within MJER Iai, there are several kata sets as follows:

  1. Zenkenren Iai (ZKR) a.k.a. Setei Iai

  2. Omori Ryū

  3. Eishin Ryū

  4. Oku Iai, Seated Set

  5. Oku Iai, Standing Set

  6. Farewell


Along with the kata sets, partner drills, where the application of the katas to a controlled sparring situation, are practised.

I enjoy the partner drills. At my dojo, we do them on the first Sunday of each month. The partner drills are where one can get a feel for how one might combine techniques from other arts with Iaido for those times where you are too close to draw your sword or simply to maintain control over your opponent.

Because I am petite, sometimes I have to do techniques different when it comes to partner practise. While doing kata, we make the assumption that our opponent is the same size as we are. When you’re 4’10 and some change and about 115 lbs, it’s rare your partner will be the same size in actuality. Partner drills allow us to do a little application with our theory and adjust for discrepancies. You also experience things like people unintentionally hitting your hands with their tsuba (sword guard) or you hitting them in the head with your bokuto (wooden practise sword).

With partner drills, we have to learn both attacker and defender sides of the kata, so we learn the katas twice.

Something to note: My dojo practises MJER Iai like many others, but that does not mean everything we do is exactly the same as another MJER Iai dojo. For example, our sensei may have a preference for the exact location of where to tie the sageo (sword scabbard cord) to the hakama (pants) that is different than the sensei from another dojo.

Grading is mainly performed on the ZKR set of kata because they are standardized. For 2-Dan and above, non-ZKR kata are added, but it’s not like karate where you perform every kata you have ever learned each time you grade. Sometimes you get to choose which kata and other times, the judges choose. The judges often travel from Japan and with hundreds of students to grade there wouldn't be enough time for that. More on grading can be found on the Canadian Kendo Federation site here: http://www.kendo-canada.com/CKF%20Grading%20info.html

The katas within the sets often change slightly as the governing body constantly reviews how well the technique works, whether or not it makes sense, if it looks aesthetically pleasing, and whether or not it fits with the rest of the set.

Your rank is not indicated by your obi colour in this art and the ranking structure is different. Currently, I am called a ‘No Kyu’ or ‘No Rank’. I have not graded yet. I probably should have at the seminar in Guelph, but I did not feel I was good enough as I couldn’t remember how to perform any kata beyond Ipponme Mae, or tie my hakama properly, or perform the etiquette. I will grade in December and hopefully become an ‘Ikkyu’ or ‘1-Kyu’. After Ikkyu comes ‘Kyu’ or ‘1-Dan’ or Shodan. There are waiting periods in between each level of black, so while it is quick to get to a first black belt compared to other arts, you won't be eligible to grade again for a while.

As per the Canadian Kendo Federation site the waiting periods are as follows: “Between 1-Kyu and 1-Dan is 6 months. Between 7-Dan and 8-Dan is 10 years. For all other ranks you must train for the same number of years as your current rank. (i.e. To grade for 2-Dan requires 1 year, 4-Dan requires 3 years, etc...”

To learn more about how long it takes between levels, check out the Canadian Kendo Federation site here: http://www.kendo-canada.com/iaido/grading.html

When you do grade, you have no guarantee that you will pass, so you need to work for it otherwise beyond the feelings that go with not passing, you've also paid grading fees and not been successful.

Special thanks to Jarvie Senpai for helping me with this post!

- Roy Iaidoka

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Hanna "Semi Precious" Murphy

A legend in the roller derby community is gone. How and why, I do not know. What I do know is that many are reeling from the news, myself included. 
Hanna was known for big hits and a brilliant personality. I experienced her hits first hand as she sent me flying a number of times. Then she'd smile and make sure I wasn't hurt. 
I stumbled onto this clip on Youtube from 2012 and I think it shows Hanna as many knew her.
She was a force off the track too.
As a cofounder of the award-winning Top Shelf Distillers, she gave much to the surrounding Ottawa Valley community.  
Hanna was a relatively petite woman and it was she who taught me that I could be mighty despite my size. I wouldn't be the woman I am today if I hadn't had the pleasure and the privilege of sharing the track with her. 
I'm shocked. I'm sad. I'm upset I'll never see her or speak to her again. 
R.I.P. #10.

Rae-Rae

Change is in the Air

I've been making a lot of changes lately around my home and some of them might seem a little odd, but they're making me happy. One thing I've done is taken apart my dining table. I never eat in there or have people over to eat. It was just another horizontal surface that would collect things like receipts, odd screws from various projects, and countless piles of paper. I had been frustrated because of the clutter it encouraged, but also because I didn't have a space for my Yamaha keyboard. I had been trying to use my keyboard in the living room, but it felt too cluttered and it wasn't sitting at the right height. With it now in my dining room, I was able to relocate my storage bench, which happens to be the perfect height to sit at while playing my keyboard. I now have much more breathing room. There is still a lot of mess to handle here yet, but I'm making solid progress. A lot of people suggest the bedroom is the place to start when decluttering, but I haven&…

Feeling My Age - ROW80 2020 R1-4

I've reached the age where my body has decided to have issues. Not constantly, but frequently. Sprinting for a bus can leave me with an injured ankle simply from using it, not from actually twisting it in ways it shouldn't move, just a fairly normal activity. I guess I need to warmup and stretch before walking to the bus now. About a decade ago, I was given a guard for my teeth due to grinding. And for the next month, I need to sleep with wrist braces because my doctor thinks I'm developing carpal tunnel. Really, I'm surprised it hasn't happened before now given my level of computer use. My mom had it years ago and had to have surgery. From reading books of all things. Anyway, he thinks if I sleep with braces on that it may be enough to keep it at bay because the nerves will get 7-8 hours of rest. After 4 days and nights, the tingling has been reducing, so I'm hopeful.
"Your body is like an elastic." -Georges St. Pierre I recently stocked up on health…