Iaido memories

4 06 2013

Among the thousands of unsorted emails that I left pile up I found 2 interesting links to the Musō Shinden-ryū (夢想神伝流) Iaido teacher I was so lucky to meet in Sweden and Estonia: Takada Gakudo sensei, Iaidô Hanshi 10th Dan, 20th Headmaster of Musô Shinden Ryû Lineage.

The link was provided by one of the main instructors in the Finnish group, that has also an informative webpage.

Recently I had a small chat about Iaido with the people I met in Hong Kong Aikido. I miss that practice as well, and then the memories of Takada sensei came back.. a really special experience meeting a real Iaido sensei, after several years of practice with a teacher that revealed himself to be just a big fraud in life, and in Iaido probably something anchored to some odd little school of several years ago..

I always consider the Iaido technique I learnt as useful in itself for both Iaido and Aikido and helped to develop myself (as the encounter with that teacher helped to develop my personality and certainly made me stronger). In the years following my first approach to Iaido I learnt that most of my technique was based on some very old school forms, not anymore used among the usual Muso Shinden Ryu practitioner. One thing common though when practicing koryu, 古流, Iaido forms is that there are so many families and deviations from the mainstream that it is normal to see lots of personalized and customized forms.

So I do not dismiss or dislike what I learned as useless: quite the opposite, it has been an important part of my formation.

As important it has then been meeting and practicing with Takada sensei and after him I was lucky to practice also with another European quite well known teacher, René Van Amersfoort sensei, 7.dan in both Iaido and Jodo, from Kiryoku dojo in Holland (and visiting often Norway, Bergen and Oslo the places where I practiced with him thanks to the local Kendo clubs).

As for Aikido, all different experiences you have with teachers that are not the only you usually follow might add something to your own vision, your technqieu, help you to understand and to practice better the way you choosed to do it!

Hope to take up again my iaito once back in Europe and check if my knees can stand some seiza on wood floor!

Iaido @ Vaulen

Bob holding tsuka and koiguchi, starting to draw..

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