Iaido vs Kendo

Iaido vs Kendo

There are different types of traditional Japanese martial arts that make use of a sword; some of these utilize moves that exhibit formal techniques while others focus on sparring. Yet despite the differences, all of these have valuable elements that aid every practitioner to develop a strong character, strength, mental acuity, and coordination. Traditional martial arts that employ the use of swords include Iaijutsu, Kenjutsu, Battoujutsu, Battodo, Iaido, and Kendo.

When it comes to Iaido vs Kendo, there are a few individuals who do not really understand or know the difference between these two: basically, Iaido is the art of skillfully drawing a sword directly from its scabbard while Kendo is the art of fighting with a sword. If there is still some confusion between Kendo and Iaido, here are the following differences of Iaido vs Kendo:


Iaido is a simple word but is made up of three parts: “I” which means to exist, “Ai” meaning unification or harmony, and “Do” which means way. The word generally refers to the formal sword style that is widely practiced by a lot of people and it is usually composed of the waza (solo forms). Each of the waza is arranged in a series of motions that are made specifically to simulate a defense against sword attacks. The primary motions or moves executed in Iaido include drawing, slicing, whipping any remnants of dirt or debris from the blade then returning the weapon back to its sheath. However, the trademark of the traditional Iaido is a fast and efficient draw that removes the sword from its scabbard while simultaneously cutting its attacker.
For those who are practicing the art of Iaido for the first time, they may begin learning with the use of a bokken depending on the teaching method of the instructor; however, a lot of practitioners make use of the Iaito (a blunt edged weapon) while those who are more experienced in this martial art already make use of the shinken which is a sharp edged sword. When it comes to the iaito, it appears just like the traditional Japanese katana but the only difference is that the blade has no edge. The sword is forged using a certain type of metal that is too soft to take a cutting edge. Making use of these types of swords prevents the practitioner from accidentally injuring or slicing themselves during Notto (the sheathing process); yet despite the fact that this weapon does not have a cutting edge, it is still considered as a dangerous weapon. Those who practice Iaido are called Iaidoka.


Kendo is another form of Japanese martial art that allows each participant to try and score points by striking their opponent with the use of a shinai (bamboo swords). It is said to be a modern type of Japanese martial art that came from the art of Kenjutsu. Kendo makes use of the Shinai and these weapons may just be made of bamboo but are hard enough to cause enough pain when struck; although this is the case, those who are hit by the weapon will not suffer from cuts or broken bones. Those who engage in Kendo are called the Kendoka and these individuals make use of a padded armor and each participant can score with a strike on another┬ĺs wrist, abdomen, head, and even the throat. Kendo may be physical but it is an art that also exhibits deep philosophical roots.

When comparing Iaido vs Kendo, a lot of people consider these two martial arts similar but in fact, there are other differences between these. The primary difference between Iaido vs Kendo is that Kendo is known to be a competitive sport while Iaido is generally known as a traditional art. Also, since the Iaidoka rarely practice with katas or real opponents, they do not have any protective gear unlike with the Kendokas.