Iaido Demo for the 2014 Japanese Festival


The 2014 Japanese Festival was held in Marion Dewar Plaza (a.k.a. The Rink of Dreams in front of City Hall).

I arrived at 11:30 and got into my gi and hakama. Next up was some sunscreen.

My dojo, Tateyama Kendo and Iaido Club, and several others were there to show what we do.

As I was taking my sword out to get ready, the part (kuri-gata) that connects the cord (sageo) to the saya (scabbard), came loose! I ended up borrowing one that was longer and annoying to work with as I had to constantly have a firm grasp on the sword guard (tsuba) with my left hand or my sword would easily fall out of the saya.

I didn’t know what to say when someone suggested my sword might be faker than a theater sword. My sword isn’t ornamental… It’s a real sword, just unsharpened. The way it is made, it can’t be sharpened. That doesn’t make it fake. It’s made for practicing, not to look pretty in a theater or on TV. They don’t use live blades either and my sword is from Tozando in Japan.

At noon, we were up.

First our Jodo practitioners went. I’m not sure the crowd was feeling it. That could be because it was such a change from the Japanese sitar-style performer that came before.

Then it was Iaido. I kept trying every kata but Kesagiri as I was having trouble remembering how Kesagiri started. I performed Ganmen-ate like Tsuka-ate. I did a yoko chiburi instead of an o chiburi on Sanpogiri. I was a mess, but the crowd couldn’t tell and several complimented me later. I think I got a little taste of what grading will be like for me unless I practice my kata a lot more.

Kendo was next.

Next, Takahashi Dojo showed their Jodo, Iaido, and Kendo. They did some things slightly different than we did, such as explaining more to the crowd.

It got rather warm to stay in my gi and hakama, so I changed out of it and put more sunscreen on. I couldn’t afford to get burnt with my last roller derby game on tap for the evening.

There were Aikido demonstrations that also had some swordplay, but they would attack from behind. We don’t do that.

Judo came after that. I wasn’t clear on the difference between Judo and Jiu-jitsu while watching it.

I enjoyed the drumming segment. Here is a clip.

My boss was there and stuffed himself on complementary Japanese style hot dogs that came with seaweed on them.

My saya is currently curing to be ready for class on Tuesday.

– Roy Iaidoka

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