Iaido,although closely related to Aikido and Aiki-Ken, is a different sword style. Literally translated, Iaido means "a way to be present and pull together where you are." Thus, Iaido has a strong meditative quality associated with it. Muso Shinden Ryu, the style of Iaido we practice, was originally developed by Hayashizaki Jinsuke Minamoto no Shigenobu (1549-1621), and later refined by Nakayama Hakudo (1869-1958).
Iaido teaches the proper way to draw, handle and return the Katana (Japanese sword) to its saya (scabbard). On a deeper level, Iaido endows the practitioner with a feeling of self control and inner discipline.
New members of the ASNJ Iaido group can explore the art by initially practicing with a boken (wooden sword) and without a hakama. This initial period can last up to a month. After that, the practitioner is required to practice with an Iaito (Iaido sword)
and hakama. New members are have the option to purchase this equipment right from the start. Both the Iaito and hakama are available for purchase through ASNJ.
ASNJ's Iaido group is a member of The North American San shin Kai under the direction of Shihan Roger Wehrhahn, 6th dan and direct student of Grand Master Mitsuzuka Takeshi. As such, ASNJ's Iaido group will follow all the rules and regulations, including ranking promotions, as determined by Shihan Wehrhahn. ASNJ welcomes Shihan Wehrhahn several times a year as a visiting instructor.
Joseph Roy has been appointed ASNJ's “study group leader” by Shihan Wehrhahn. Joseph has been studying classical Japanese swordsmanship for many years and is ranked Nidan (2nd degree black belt) by Shihan Wehrhahn. Joseph heads up the day-to-day instruction of the group.