I-ai is an abbreviation of "itte" and "awasu" from the phrase "Tsune ni itte kyu ni awasu" which means to aways be prepared for what might happen.
By training kata correctly and in ever increasing detail the student gradually develops an understanding of personal strengths and weaknesses that allows them to be increasingly well prepared for whatever life throws at them. In this sense “self-defence” does not mean only to be able to fight off an assailant, but to maintain control in all life and work situations and ultimately be more successful in work and private life due to better understanding of your relationship with people and how strong or weak you are in the situation.
Iaido is trained as a sword art, developed over 400 years by Japanese master swordsmen.
We begin by learning the All Japan Kendo Federation basic forms (Seitei gata) and then progress to older forms of the Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu founded by Hayashizaki Jinsuke Shigenobu in the 16th Century.
Our senior instructor in Iaido is Peter West 7th Dan Kyoshi, originally a student of Fujii Okimitsu Sensei of Kenseikai Dojo and later of Haruna Matsuo Sensei (Pictured here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sensei_iaido-rework.jpg). He now trains with Oshita Masakazu Sensei 8th Dan Kyoshi.
In 2006 Peter won Gold Medal at the European Iaido Championships (6th Dan division) and in 2007 won silver medal and Fighting Spirit award at the European Championships before passing 7th Dan the same day. He has travelled to Japan many times and has performed at the famous Kyoto Taikai.
Top Haruna Matsuo Sensei (d.2002) 8 Dan Kyoshi
(with Oshita sensei watching)
Middle: Oshita Masakazu Sensei 8 Dan Kyoshi
(NB Oshita Sensei does not teach at Myoken Dojo)
Bottom Peter West Sensei 7 Dan Kyoshi