What’s the Difference between Iaido and Kendo?

A Iaido Training Instructor Explains the Essentials of These Two Martial Arts

When talking about Iaido and Kendo, you need to understand that those are two very different things, and this article will try to help explain some of the major differences between the two.

Let’s begin with Iaido. It is the art of alertness that allows you to counter a surprising attack with a sword while sitting. The name means – “a way to harmonize oneself in action”. The most common exercises start and end with a sheathed weapon. From the drawing of the sword to the sheathing, the iaidoka has to perform a series of cuts and thrusts before wiping the blade and sheathing it again. The series of moves like that are called “kata”. They are performed mostly solo but are meant to protect you against multiple opponents at a time. Unlike kendo, where you can spar with a partner, iaido training is never practiced in a sparring manner.

Kendo, on the other hand, is a sports version of a traditional Japanese fencing style. Nowadays, it is very popular and practiced throughout the world. The name means “Way of the sword” and its roots can be traced to the time of the Samurai and the code of Bushido. Nowadays, kendo is a sport that helps achieve a higher state of mind and body. For many kendoka this is also a way of life that builds character. Kendo sparing and trainings are performed with bamboo practice swords called shinai, a body armor called bogu, along with a mask and a pair of sturdy gloves. This outfit allows the fighters to deliver strikes and thrusts without the risk of actually hurting the opponent. Another distinctive feature of kendo is the shouting. If you hear a group of people shouting intensively during a training session, then they are most likely to be kendoka. The shout or the aggressive and rapid exhalation of air from the lungs allows for the release of additional energy while striking with the sword. It also prepares the organism for a rapid counterattack. Furthermore, when receiving blows to the body, all kendo and iaido training instructors recommend that you exhale before the blow. This is important because if you are hit in the chest while it’s full of air, there is a chance your lungs will go into a shock for a couple of minutes.

To avoid injuries, we recommend you never train alone and unsupervised. If you need a good kendo or iaido training instructor in New York, NY, then just give Iaido Jiu Jitsu Kendo Club a call at (212) 807-7336!