Simple means not easy
Learning the ›basics‹, technical term Kihon, translated: the basic technique or elementary school, will not come to an end, that said in advance. In learning Iaido, we are entering a complex field. A simple sword strike is not a simple matter as we all know. If a cut were done easy just like that, we would have an unconscious movement, one that is not worth improving any further. In everyday life we notice many simple movements that we no longer think about. It’s so easy, opening a door, slicing a slice of bread, breathing. Why think big? ›It just works like that!‹
Small mistakes with consequences
Cutting with the sword obeys different habits than everyday movements. Since it is quite big and heavy (an Iaito should fit very well to an Iaidoka for the following reasons and therefore must carefully chosen), you have to do more. The whole body has to connect with a sword movement! If there is no suitable connection, then the sword does something with our body, not we with the sword. A typical example is injury to the attachments of the tendons, causing irritation and inflammation. One has often heard of the ›tennis elbow‹. Maybe the Tenouchi was too strong. In the case of shoulder problems, the cut was too powerful and the rest of the body was not involved in building strength with flexibility. We can explore a blockage-free ki flow with TaiChi without weapons.
Kihon as the basis for complex things
As Iaidoka, we have the opportunity to explore essential movements through patient kihon exercises in a simple, experimental arrangement. In other words, the complex movements of Iaido are first simplified. Not only because ›just simply simple‹ it is. The supposedly easier one should be carefully observed regardless of stubborn repetition. Each repetition is a test of the previous like a test of something new. Kihon is also the constant practice of ›simple‹ kata. Seitei-Iai is very useful for the training of a physical elementary school in the sense that a cutting exercise is conjugated through in the various combat situations presented. Even the smallest deviation from the simplest, such as a different cutting angle, or the combination of different techniques can take years of practice.
Value of elementary school
Later you discover the value of good elementary school. In the higher sword schools that are available to us, we quickly learn to understand where there is a lot of catching up to do. Without proper physical training, the practice of Hasegawa Kata is almost a torture. Okuden-Kata will fail without correct movements and even lead to self-harm. Later, one likes to return to elementary school and to the quieter area of basic forms in order to learn to understand and work through what has been neglected and sloppily learned. Any carelessness will sooner or later take revenge. Since Iaido is long-term anyone who can hold out for a long time can understand these sentences. Beginners should be put on the right track through appropriate training!
Only through correct movement can all movement components converge, which enable us to understand Iaido in all techniques, combat situations and life situations. And btw: there are no shortcuts on the Budo path.