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#379290 - 01/19/08 05:56 PM Does "Iai" have a specific meaning?
JoshuaMonjin Offline
Member

Registered: 10/13/06
Posts: 427
Loc: Fallon, Nevada
I have been thinking about this for awhile now. What do people here consider to be a meaning for the word Iai as in Iaijutsu/Iaido? I have come across alot of different takes on the word speaking from an Iaijutsu perspective. For example: "the art of drawing the sword" I don't understand this one because I don't see anything that means sword ex: ken or to.
Or, wikipedia has a unreferenced translation "art of mental presence and immediate reaction" another concept/translation(not from wikipedia) is "art of being centered and in harmony with your environment." Those I really don't have the language experience to have a valid understanding of what means what. Although I like the wikipedia one because it seems to express what happens during a kata. I was curious to see what other members here use as a meaning and any thoughts as to the whole group of different meanings.
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#379291 - 01/19/08 06:30 PM Re: Does "Iai" have a specific meaning? [Re: JoshuaMonjin]
JAMJTX Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 12/01/02
Posts: 585
Loc: Fort Wayne, IN
I = to exist, to be present
AI = to pull together, to concentrate (also harmony)
DO = a way


Iaido is a way of "pulling together" or "harmonizing" the mind, body and spirit.

Battodo and Battojutsu are the older terms for the arts.

It's funny how I just found this post as I am writing the script for my Yoshinkan Aikido video where Iaido will be demonstrated to illustrate the common principles of sword and aikido technique. The proper meanings of AI will be discussed.

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#379292 - 01/20/08 12:36 PM Re: Does "Iai" have a specific meaning? [Re: JAMJTX]
iaibear Offline
Veteran

Registered: 08/24/05
Posts: 1304
Loc: upstate New York
Many Japanese words do not translate exactly into English.

My sensei's translation comes as close as any I have heard.

"i" would mean "position" as in "form" or "location" as well as "being".
"ai" would mean blending harmoniously (The upward pointing arrow of the kanji suggests this, too.)

So Iaido would be the "positional blending" of movement between you and your (imaginary) opponent as he attacks and you counter.


Edited by iaibear (01/20/08 12:38 PM)

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#379293 - 01/20/08 06:19 PM Re: Does "Iai" have a specific meaning? [Re: iaibear]
JAMJTX Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 12/01/02
Posts: 585
Loc: Fort Wayne, IN
Iaibear's answer is in line with what I have been told about AIKI in the name Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu having been taken from Kenjutsu - blending with the attacker.

Although I would venture to say that this definition is a better interpretation for iaijutsu than iaido. JUTSU implies a combative art. Where the later DO implies the goal of personal development or to learn a way of life, the harmony of mind body & spirit is a better suited interpretation.

The definitions I possted came from the San Shin Kai web site and were given by Mitsuzuka Takeshi.

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#379294 - 01/20/08 10:47 PM Re: Does "Iai" have a specific meaning? [Re: JAMJTX]
iaibear Offline
Veteran

Registered: 08/24/05
Posts: 1304
Loc: upstate New York
Quote:

The definitions I posted came from the San Shin Kai web site and were given by Mitsuzuka Takeshi.




Then I absolutely accept them. I have nothing but the deepest respect for the gentleman.


Edited by iaibear (01/20/08 10:48 PM)

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#379295 - 01/20/08 11:04 PM Re: Does "Iai" have a specific meaning? [Re: iaibear]
JAMJTX Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 12/01/02
Posts: 585
Loc: Fort Wayne, IN
There is defineately room for interpretation here.
I actually really like both answers.

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#379296 - 01/20/08 11:11 PM Re: Does "Iai" have a specific meaning? [Re: JAMJTX]
Kusarigama Offline
Newbie

Registered: 07/23/04
Posts: 20
Greetings,

Katsuse Yoshimitsu Kagehiro, serving as the 15th Generation Headmaster of the Suio Ryu Iai Kenpo, has explained this concept as follows:

"Firstly if you break the characters down, 'I' (lit: sit/place in time/place where one exists) as we understand it means an environment or a threating moment in time which forces the practitioner into action.

The 'ai' (lit: harmonization/blending/ to meet) signifies the practitioner identifying the threat and applying the most effective action, reactive or proactive, to it to achieve their aims.

In our tradition we train in the use of the sword to achieve those aims. This being the 'Kenpo' (lit: methods/teachings/skills of the sword)

Therefore, Iai Kenpo= the use of the sword to effect the most beneficial outcome from any threat or action of our opponent or arising from our environment."
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Britt Nichols Suio Ryu Iai Kenpo USA Shibu AiTe wa Baka Ja Nai

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#379297 - 01/21/08 01:20 PM Re: Does "Iai" have a specific meaning? [Re: JAMJTX]
iaibear Offline
Veteran

Registered: 08/24/05
Posts: 1304
Loc: upstate New York
<< Although I would venture to say that this definition is a better interpretation for iaijutsu than iaido. JUTSU implies a combative art. Where the later DO implies the goal of personal development or to learn a way of life, the harmony of mind body & spirit is a better suited interpretation. >>

What you describe definitely outlines two contrasting views of the spirit of Iaido.

I treat the kata as "moving meditation". Great for smoothing the rough spots in a hard day. My world has been set right after a thorough kata workout with no harm to anyone.

But I keep in mind what my sensei told me: You must visualize your opponent, keep your eye on him and counter his every move as you follow the bunkai. If you do it right you eventually come to be able to actually see him. And if you are really good, the people watching you will be able to see him, too.

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#379298 - 01/22/08 05:07 PM Re: Does "Iai" have a specific meaning? [Re: iaibear]
JoshuaMonjin Offline
Member

Registered: 10/13/06
Posts: 427
Loc: Fallon, Nevada
Some good things to consider here. Thanks for the enlightenment. Some things I had run across just seemed to simplistic to me.
Quote:

Many Japanese words do not translate exactly into English.



I agree however, as seen here you can get a rough idea, it may just take more then one english meaning to achieve it. What the Japanese say with one word it can take in english three or more, it seems to me.
PS.
Hey Jim could you let me know when your video is done? That sounds interesting.


Edited by JoshuaMonjin (01/22/08 05:19 PM)
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