We teach the curriculum of the Zen Nihon Toyama-ryu Iaido Renmei, headed by Mitsuo Hataya sensei, and the U.S. Federation of Batto-Do, headed by Sang Kim sensei. Training is divided into three main aspects:
The three dragonflies in the kamon above represent each of these practices. Each one of them informs the other two. For example, a student should be able to carry the feeling of gekken into the kata practice, the form of kata into tameshigiri practice, the focus of tameshigiri into gekken, and on and on, in both directions.
The core of our practice, kata are prescribed forms that begin from the draw. We teach mostly solo kata, although we also have a set of partnered kata (kumitachi).
Kata help you learn proper form, posture, footwork, and integrated body movement.
To test our technique, we practice cutting tatami mats that have been soaked in water.
The mats are completely unforgiving, and will teach you aim, angle, proper grip, and power generation. Advanced cutting patterns include multiple flowing cuts.
We spar with special swords that are padded enough to minimize the risk of injury, but their weight and solid cores ensure that getting hit is an... educational experience.
Gekken teaches distance, timing, control of the center line, and reading your opponent's intentions while masking your own.