This is where you will find most answers. If you still have questions, don't hesitate to contact us.
All jewellery must be removed except for wedding bands and simple studs etc. Hair should be tied back, and very long hair secured fully. Anything that can catch or snag is dangerous when weapons are in use, so common sense applies at all times.
You may wear a tracksuit or t-shirt and jogging bottoms. If you have a Karate/Judo Gi, please wear that, and if you have a hakama already, (aikido students, I'm looking at you), then even better!
In a 2 hour class we usually split the time venly between Iaido and Jodo. We warm up, perform basics/cutting/footwork drills and then train in kata.
We may focus on a single specific aspect of training for a class or cover a wide variety of topics, but always, there is lots of kata. The emphasis is usually on a good work-rate and repetition of kata as this is the best way to learn.
Students are loaned a wooden training sword and saya (scabbard) to begin with, but typically once you decide you want to continue training, an iaito, an alloy/steel unsharpened practice sword can be bought. All swords must be inspected prior to use within the club.
We don't care where your sword comes from so long as it passes a safety inspection. We do recommend ninecircles.co.uk for all weapons, especially your first iaito.
Beginners are fine with loose jogging bottoms/sweat-pants etc and a t-shirt.
When you are ready you will wear the traditional training outfit of keiko-go (similar to a lightweight karate jacket) and a hakama. The hakama is the traditional Japanese divided skirt with pleats. A belt (obi) is required to hold the sword. but is worn beneath the hakama.
Iaido and Jodo are practised barefoot in almost all circumstances. So clean feet with clipped nails are a must.
When you and your instructor feels you are ready, you will be eligible to test yourself in front of a grading panel who will determine if you have progressed sufficiently.
The grading system is like most other traditional Japanese martial arts; e.g through Kyu (coloured belts) grades into Dan (black belts) grades.
Kenmeikan tends to adopt the most traditional approach towards gradings and that is to dispense with most Kyu grades and train students towards Ikkyu (brown Belt) and onwards thereon. We may have gradings prior to Ikkyu to assess students and give them confidence in a grading scenario
With hard work and some good focus this could be achieved within one years study. After that it will be a minimum of 3 months before you would be eligible for your 1st Dan, another year before your 2nd Dan, two years for your 3rd Dan etc.
First of all, Iaido isn't about sword fighting in the sense that the purpose of training is to become better at using the sword for its original purpose. That is not to say that a skilled Iaido practitioner cannot competently wield a sword but facility in using the sword isn’t the ultimate objective since there is no longer a practical use for the sword in modern society.
To fill this void there needs to be some other reason for practising this art. The sword and the skills to employ it effectively are instead used as a vehicle for physical conditioning and personal development. (oh, and it's a lot of fun too!)