The Iaito is known as a modern practice sword made out of metal that also does not feature any cutting edge; these Iaito are also commonly used for practicing Iaido and is also used for decorative purposes. The word Iaito literally translates to imitation or mock weapons; these weapons are different from the Shinken since these are swords that have a sharpened edge, and are made specifically for combat. Each of the Iaito, despite not having a sharpened edge, has the same quality of its counterparts with sharpened blades and it features a strong yet blunt edge that is made safe for developing a persons sword fighting abilities.
Unlike the Shinken, the Iaito are specifically designed for batto or iai practice and are not really suited for combat or sword to sword contact. Keep in mind that the Iaito are not the fake swords that are around today since those are primarily created for decorative purposes and are also unsafe for practicing any type of martial arts. The Iaito Katana is made specifically for Iaido practice and is also created with the use of quality materials to ensure safety and proper training.
The Iaido is also a specific type of traditional Japanese swordsmanship and its practice almost entirely consists of pre-arranged sets of motions or Kata that specifically responds to a certain type of attack that is executed by another practitioner. The Kata is commonly made of a few simple steps and these include drawing the weapon, parrying, executing a major cut, a motion that exhibits the cleaning of a blade, then re-sheathing the weapon; practicing the Iaido is quiet, calm, and relaxed since most of the parts that are featured in this martial art is the development of a calm and reflective mind which is called the Zanshin. Although it may sound simple and easy, the major difficulty and challenge of the Iaido is its exceptional prerequisites for attention to detail; it is also another art that is more popular with older individuals as well as non-athletes since the art features slow yet fluid motions that are generally not as taxing and tedious to an individuals cardiovascular system compared to other martial arts that are more active and challenging.
When practicing the art of Iaido, an individual needs to have a solemn and calm spirit, increased concentration, and profound skills; each executed motion such as arm, leg, and body movements should correspond accordingly to the opponents offensive motions. It is also vital that the individual practicing the martial art follows all the given rules of discipline that have been carefully and thoroughly applied in the practice of Iaido.
Construction of the Iaito
Most of the Iaito katana are made from quality aluminum-zinc alloys which are usually lighter compared to steel that features a blunt edge. The Iaito is also made specifically as a practice weapon but not suited for any type of weapon to weapon contact. Generally speaking, the most excellent alloy blades are outstanding reproductions of the real authentic Japanese swords since these replicate the original shape, weight, as well as the high-quality fittings and finish of the traditional weapons; additionally, the Iaito may also feature a mock hamon which is basically the temper line of a steel blade that has been tempered.
One should remember that there are some imitation swords that are made in other countries aside from Japan and these are sometimes made from folded steel which is just like the real samurai Katana yet still with a blunt edge. Even if these swords have a blunt edge, the Iaito would still face the same ownership and usage restrictions as the genuine swords in Japan, yet would not be called the Iaito in the country.
The Iaito Katana for Training
There are a couple of dojos in Japan that only allow alloy blades to be used for practicing Iaido until the individuals skills have been honed and are consistent enough to utilize sharp-edged weapons; furthermore, there are also a few Iaido schools that require an individual to begin using a shinken as soon as they start training, yet other schools prohibit using the shinken completely. It is vital to match the weight, length, and also the balance of the Iaito Katana with the users strength and build since this will allow them to adequately perform the numerous kata in Iaido.
Proper Care for the Iaito Katana
Compared to the steel Shinken, the Iaito Katana do not require too much maintenance and it is also not necessary to regularly oil the blade since it is the type that does not rust; however, applying oil on a regular basis is highly suggested to keep the strength and beauty of its wooden saya and also avoid utilizing Uchiko powder (which is commonly used for the Shinken) since this may damage the alloy blades of the Iaito. Although the weapon does not need regular maintenance, it is still suggested that the Iaito should be cleaned every after use; this is to ensure that the weapon lasts long and it is also to avoid any safety issues and concerns.
For those planning to purchase an Iaito for sale for training, one should first ask these simple questions: Will the Iaito be used on a regular basis or rarely, is it going to be utilized for every class, and what type of Budo is being practiced? One should also be cautious when purchasing an Iaito Katana for sale since the recommendations could vary depending on the school and teachers.