Frequently Asked Questions


1.  Do I need to have my own sword to start Iaido training?

No.  You may use your own sword on approval of the instructor.  For those who do not have a suitable sword, there are swords available for use by students until they can purchase their own.

2.  What kind of swords do you use?  What kind of swords am I permitted to use?

Generally, students new to Iaido and to martial arts start with a wooden sword shaped and balanced like a Japanese katana ('samurai sword').  These swords are called bokuto or bokken.  The club has a limited supply of these swords for use by new students.  Some students may have a metal practice sword called an iaito.  These are permitted after passing inspection for safety and suitability.
3.  Can I use a sharp sword?  A sword I bought at a yard sale?   A 'ninja' sword?
No, you cannot use a sharp sword until you have practiced for many, many years.

 A sword from a yard sale is probably not suitable for practice, but it may be that someone may have sold a good quality iaito at a yard sale, so you could bring it in for us to look at.   All swords used for Iaido practice need to be inspected and approved for safety and suitability.

No, 'ninja' swords and any other swords besides those intended for Iaido are not suitable and may not be used.

4.  Do I need a uniform to start?  Do I need any other special equipment?
All you need to start is loose clothing and a positive attitude.  Volleyball-type kneepads are highly recommended though not entirely necessary for your first few practices.  Later, you will need to acquire suitable garments to wear for practice.
5. Can I train in Iaido if I have taken other martial arts / am currently taking another martial art?
Generally, yes.  Iaido can serve as a complement to other martial arts; in fact, many people train concurrently in Iaido and in other disciplines.  Iaido can facilitate deeper insights into other martial arts and vice-versa.  As a courtesy, you may want to check with your current instructor before you begin practicing Iaido.
6.  Do I need to be in really good physical shape before starting Iaido?
No, you do not need to be a paragon of fitness.  The better your physical fitness level, the easier you may find techniques to perform.  Iaido is not as physically demanding as some other martial arts, especially cardiovascularly; however, you do need to be prepared for a good workout that includes rising from and returning to a kneeling position as well as making repetitive motions using the arms.  If you have concerns or doubts, please consult a physician.
7.  What age should I be to start Iaido?
The ages of people practicing Iaido vary greatly.  In general, you need to be able to focus attention on techniques for extended periods of time.  As long as you can make it through a class, you should be fine in Iaido.  In general, the youngest students who prove to be successful are at least fourteen years old.  For such students, we usually request a parent join, as well.
8.  I have a physical disability.  Can I practice Iaido?
There is a good chance you will be able to practice Iaido.  Currently, there are many people around the world who practice Iaido with some sort of physical exceptionality.  Techniques can be modified and you might be surprised at the adaptability of the human body.  A positive attitude will go a long way!
9.  What styles and techniques are taught at the Kenshokan Iaido dojo?
We teach the modern Seitei Iai Gata (Zen Ken Ren iai) and the old school of Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu.  The latter set of techniques  is divided into three main levels:  Omori-ryu, Eishin-ryu, and Oku-iai.  In addition, the partnered forms of Tachi Uchi no Kurai will be taught.
10 I am such-and-such a level in such-and-such martial art.  Do I need to start at the beginning or can I get advanced standing?
All students starting Iaido are at the same level:  beginners.  If you have experience in another martial art, you may learn some techniques more easily than other students or may be able to focus differently; in fact, several Kenshokan practitioners are instructors in other martial arts who find Iaido to be an enriching complement to their other martial art.  Regardless, we all start as beginners.
11.  I once studied under a different instructor.  Is there a problem joining Kenshokan Iaido?  Does my rank transfer over to your dojo?
People move.  Life situations change.  There is no problem if you studied our style of Iaido with a different instructor.  Your rank will transfer over as long as it has been granted by the Canadian Kendo Federation (or similar affiliated body) in the same art.