Hardly anyone has the opportunity to enjoy full-time Iaido training. Also in Germany there is certainly no one who runs his own professional dojo of this kind. How can one seriously and sustainably practice Iaido in modern life with normal gainful employment?
Seriousness and Success
The sustainability of the Iaido practice is essential for the success of the exercise. When do we have exercise success? This concerns the question of the demands on the Iaido itself. There are external and internal factors that (should) show how successful your Iai is.
Learning progress and Kata learning
Iaido practice can be made dependent on the learning progress. This can be easily seen from the amount of katas that you have learned. Anyone who has practiced for a longer period of time will report that one should not be fooled by the relative brevity of the various kata. Learning with the sword soon turns out to be a delicate area. Some are so frightened that they do not want to learn any other kata than Seitei-Iai for a long time. Ko-Ryu forms (traditional school), for example in the various stages of Muso Shinden Ryu, however, offer a wide field of activity, also for Iaidoka who have not been practicing for that long. One only has to ask whether it makes sense to start with Muso Shinden Ryu right away, parallel to learning the Seitei-Iai or only after Seitei-Iai has been perfected?
External conditions of success
With the learning of Kata there is a clear indicator of knowledge gain. This can be reproduced, queried and evaluated. This external factor can be documented with tests. Furthermore, the comparison with each other is useful. Officially, Taikais (competitions) are widespread on various levels of official Iais. External comparisons of ›better, faster, harder, etc.‹ push Iai in the direction of exercise, with possibly negative consequences. I don’t want to attack competition as a practice area. It is another area of the Iai that is also developing. The initial question was the seriousness of practicing and the sustainability that can be achieved.
Inner conditions of practice
nner factors become clear in the interplay between person and exercise. I find this crucial in the question of sustainability and durability, if not the core of the practice itself. Example: a muscular injury can show that the harmony of sword technique and physical conditions is disturbed. 1000 times Hayasuburi (fast continuous cutting) uses a lot with athletic-technical aspect, but can disharmony negative reached by the circumstances. However, laziness would be the downside. Inner factors are measured by harmony. They are individual, but still visible to those who understand. Example: Ki-Ken Tai-Ichi, the interplay of body, mind and sword movement is difficult to achieve, but can be practiced again and again and only arises due to harmony.
Practice as a personal process
Harmony of the Iai cannot be achieved by practicing specific aspects in isolation. Examples: more muscle strength protects against injury, but makes excessive approaches and leads to disharmonies in movement, can produce stiff movements. More will can produce stubbornness — too little will can produce laxity. Much external success (exam, title) neglects internal growth. If we want to create Iai sustainably and permanently (›Eat, Sleep, go Iaido‹), then one should try to achieve good overall practice holistically. Not too little and not too much. The rating depends on the person, their goals and time.
Exercise can be done intensively. Real success is shaped by sustainability. Sustainability, in turn, depends on the type of practice.