Members of the Matsu Kai Iaido club are preparing for a rare seminar with a master swordsman this Sunday.
Goyo Ohmi, head of Iaido for the Canadian Kendo Federation (CKF), will be coming to SFU to pass on the finer points of Iaido, the Japanese art of drawing the sword.
Iaido practitioners ranging in age from 12 to 75 from around B.C. will be attending.
Jusdia Greissel, 12, has been studying Iaido with her brother Mason, 14, for three years.
“Nothing comes quick in this world, only through hard work and dedication can you reach your goals. Iaido has taught me just that – patience and focus,” said Jusdia, who is preparing to for her first black belt exam this Spring.
“This wealth of knowledge does not happen very often,” said senior instructor Bruce Campbell, a 5th dan in Iaido with Matsu Kai Kendo and Iaido club.
The roots of Iaido go back to the days of the Samurai, late 15 to early 16 century. Iaido is the study of drawing the sword and cutting with smooth, controlled movements.
“It has many similarities to the Western gunfighter,” said Campbell, “but it has the etiquette and discipline of a Japanese martial art.”
But, unlike other martial arts, Iaido is practiced only against imaginary opponents. The emphasis in Iaido is on precision, control, and fluid movements and is sometimes referred to as “Moving Zen.”
For Joe Ng, 55, and a 1st degree black belt, the answer is different.
“The body at my age is just not up for the demands of a competitive martial art anymore. Iaido allows me to bring both my mind and body together, and through the sword bring it together as one.”
Spectators are welcome to come watchon March 10 at SFU’s central gym from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Also in attendance will be Mitsuru Asaoka, CKF Western Chairman of Iaido.