No. Contracts are not used. However we do require an Auto Pay billing feature for monthly class dues that can be utilized with either your credit card or debit card.
You will sign an Authorization Form permitting the Dojo to automatically charge or debit your designated account on a specific date each month. You may cancel the authorization only by giving the Dojo at least thirty (30) days written notice (by letter or email) of cancellation prior to your next monthly billing date. For example, if your recurring billing date is the 5th of the month, and termination is sought for July 5, notice of cancellation must be given and received no later than June 5. Using the same example, notice received after June 5 would be effective for August. We regret that we are compelled to strictly enforce this cancellation policy.
Ranking for adults begins at shodan, or first level. It takes about two years of training time to be considered for the first promotion testing for shodan. Opportunity for rank advancement only comes every other year in September or October in even number years. Therefore the next opportunity will be in 2020, then in 2022, etc. All tests are conducted by a quorum of senior members of the Japanese Iaido Federation.
It goes without saying that swords can be dangerous. That is their original purpose. Being safe while practicing Iaido is of utmost importance. Diligence in this matter is developed from the very start of one’s training in Iaido. Beginners will progress from using a wooden sword to an unsharpened practice sword, known as an iaito. While these tools do not cut they can still inflict injury if used improperly or not taken care of. They are always treated as if they were a real sword. Procedures are followed to minimize the risk of cutting oneself. Care is taken to ensure that other people are not placed in harm’s way during an exercise. A sharpened sword cannot be used until after the skills are developed to safely handle one at all times.
Kata are pre arranged forms practiced in a formal manner. There are many ways for practicing the kata. They can be broken down into their constituent parts. They can be performed very slowly or very quickly. They can be practiced on one’s own or in unison with a group. While Iaido can be thought of as a solo art it is impossible to learn everything on one’s own. A common teaching pattern is to observe the instructor have one group perform a kata while another group observes, making mental notes of good points and flaws. The observers will often be asked to relate their observations as an aid to those performing the kata. For those performing kata in this type of practice it is important to maintain an open mind and acceptance of corrections that will come from members of all ranks. The observers too are learning about Iaido, how to recognize subtleties in technique and provide an evaluation.
The actual practice is tangible and physical. The higher aspects of the art are developed through rigorous training and attention to detail. A typical class will start with a formal opening etiquette, warm up exercises to practice fundamental skills and cuts, performing kata and receiving feedback, and finishing with a formal closing etiquette. The skills that need to be developed include etiquette, footwork, maintaining correct posture, using a proper grip on the sword, basic cutting techniques, drawing at various angles, and sheathing the sword safely.
The Iaido Study Group leader is Luke Maranto with 15 years of Japanese Swordsmanship experience and 37 years of Japanese martial arts training. In addition to a yondan (4th degree) black belt in Mugai Ryu issued through the Japanese Iaido Federation, Maranto Sensei holds instructor grade ranks in Aikido and Yoshukai karate.
Alex Gurevich also holds a leadership role in the dojo and often teaches the class. Alex is a sandan (3rd degree) black belt in Mugai Ryu and a sandan (3rd degree) black belt in Aikido.
Our style of Japanese Swordsmanship is called Mugai Ryu and is a traditional (Koryu), feudal-era style of Japanese swordsmanship founded around 1700 by Tsuji Gettan Sukemochi. Practice centers on learning the formal sword drawing and cutting solo forms, as well as paired combative forms using partners. Iaido reiho, or basic sword etiquette and protocol, is also stressed. We are affiliated with the Japanese Iaido Federation (Nippon Iaido Renmei) based in Japan.
Several times each year we have supplemental training in the form of iaido seminars in Atlanta and Chicago. These are often multi-day intensive training seminars meant to take your iaido to the next level. They are scheduled periodically throughout the year and are optional for iaido students to attend.
There is no direct relationship. They are completely separate, independent, Japanese martial arts. Aikido is a modern art derived from older Samurai sword arts like iaido. Therefore the sword training in iaido is useful to Aikido practitioners and it is common to see students practicing both arts concurrently. However many iaido students practice only iaido.
Most of the training in iaido is performed solo, with the student imagining an opponent. Iaido techniques begin and end with the sword in the scabbard. There are numerous kata, both standing and kneeling, that are practiced over and over again. It is through the kata practice that students learn to control the Japanese sword in various situations. Classes are conducted in the traditional manner. Techniques are demonstrated and the students are expected to carefully observe and mimic the instructor. Verbal instruction also occurs but is supplementary.
Our classes are open to all adults. Children showing the willingness, self-control and patience necessary to learn are also welcome as we do have some teens and pre-teens who do quite well. There is no falling, rolling or contact involved so older adults are often able to train into advanced age.
Initially, nothing other than comfortable gym clothes are required. You may borrow a belt and wooden sword from
Eventually students will need to purchase the traditional clothing and equipment worn in iaido including hakama, keikogi, belt and iaito.
Iaido classes are $60/month for iaido classes only. Iaido students who are also Aikido students at Aikido Association Atlanta pay $20/month beyond the Aikido class fees. Additionally there is an annual fee for membership in the Japanese Iaido Federation.
Class times are Saturday mornings from 8:30 – 10:00 a.m. and Wednesday evenings from 7:30-9:00 p.m.
Iaido is the art of Japanese Swordsmanship that involves the use of the Japanese long sword, or katana. It focuses on drawing a sword directly into a cutting techniques performed with a smooth and efficient motion. However, this is not the sole component of the art and most kata incorporate additional actions with the sword after it is drawn, covering a wide variety of scenarios. The mindset, though, is that one is practicing methods of using a sword from the outset of a hostile encounter with a potential enemy.