The art of drawing the sword quickly

"The Japanese sword art Iai-Jutsu or Iai-do, once a discipline of the knightly samurai in Japan, today serves to open up and expand the abilities in every human being, through which he can fill his life with awareness and knowledge.

(Erwin Steinhauser)

The meaning

What's the point of learning how to use a katana sword these days?

  • Strengthen your physique and psyche
  • Training your senses and sensitivity
  • Promotion of self-awareness/self-control/self-regulation
  • Development of patience, frustration tolerance, self-discipline
  • Harmonization of your Yin-Yang energies and strengthening of the Ki flow
  • Promotion of your mental clarity, determination and assertiveness
  • Fostering the qualities of courage, openness, respect and compassion
  • Access to your spirituality

No matter how long you "walk with the sword": if you do it with dedication and serious effort, you will learn from it for life and personally gain strength and clarity! The sword serves as a mirror of your practice. Every emotion, every blocking thought, every attachment, every hindrance to your full presence in the moment becomes immediately visible in the diminished quality of the cut.

With which inner attitude should Iai-Jutsu be practiced?

One should be aware of the centuries-old tradition and history of its creation. Then you will understand better what this is about – about Cultivation of body, mind and soul.

The samurai art of wielding a sword has nothing to do with competition, sport, or self-defense, although it does contain elements of it. In its entirety, Iaijutsu-Do describes a school of self-discipline and self-improvement. This requires the willingness to practice patience and not to shy away from effort - without intention, without goal, without end. The effort, the practice does not stop at the doors of the DOJO (room of practice). Practicing Iaijutsu-Do seriously becomes a way of life - martial arts become an art of living.

This attitude of earnest effort in the practice process intensifies over time, is part of the personal learning path, and lends itself to the development and refinement of one's human qualities. The sword shows the way here too. Those who do not practice with dedication, who are not willing to work on themselves, remain on the surface, lose interest and will never experience the depth and treasure that the way of the sword offers.

How do I learn this traditional martial art

Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu IAIJUTSU-DO is like any traditionally practiced martial art in rules and ritual (etiquette/REIGI) and will be embedded in a closed exercise room that should not serve any other purpose (DOJO) exercised. All of this serves to ensure the physical safety of all participants, to ensure the necessary respect for the exercise process (KEIKO/TH) and all those involved, as well as the development of mindfulness (NEN). The learning content is developed within a trusting and responsible teaching-learning relationship (SHITEI) between teacher (SENSE) and student (dechi) passed on.

The realistic practice in traditional clothing (Hakama, Gi, Obi) requires the use of suitable practice swords (IAITO), which are based on the so-called "old swords" from the Koto period (until 1553) in terms of weight, size and quality, which are still measured according to their suitability for combat and, even in the modern training process, require significantly more precise technology and greater attention than easier-to-handle katana could make it happen. Due to the "forced" constant challenge and improvement of attention and precision, there is a much greater potential for practice and development. That SHIN (sharp sword) may only be used during cutting test exercises (TAMESHIGIRI) and can be used from a high level of practice.

The simple Japanese bokken (wooden sword) is used at the beginning and in the context of partner exercises (here exclusively).

The basic sword techniques (KIHON-Waza) are used in the context of defined motion sequences (kata) , which simulate different combat situations. With a few exceptions, these are single kata against an invisible opponent (Kassu Teki) are executed. Partner exercises serve to understand the practical application and to develop a sense of the right distance and timing (MAAE), as well as for the role of Attack (UCHIDACH) and defense (SHIDACHI).

There will be 71 in our school KATA taught in successive stages.

Each kata is divided into 4 basic steps:

  1. Nukitsuke (From a calm, collected mindfulness, the sword is drawn)
  2. Kiritsuke(Awake and undivided, the cuts are made in unity of energy, body and sword)
  3. Chiburi (Observing the opponent or opponents, the blood is (symbolically) removed from the blade)
  4. Noto (Keeping ZANSHIN's open attention, the sword is returned to the scabbard.)

All of these sections of movement become a single, flowing sequence. After the action, the Iaidoka is in the state it was a few seconds before.

On the first level of learning, the outer forms are rehearsed over a long period of time by repeating them umpteen times (SHU). At the next level of learning (HA) the external movement sequences are brought into harmony with the internal (energetic) ones and the suitability for use is developed or deepened. At the highest level the swordsman leaves form (RI). This does not simply mean automation, but freedom from form.


The formerly martial art of IAI-JUTSU (formerly Battojutsu) is now mostly referred to as Iai-DO to describe the philosophical component and aesthetics of this martial art in the sense of a "way (DO) training”. As a holistic system of character training, all components of physique, psyche, ethics and spirituality are touched and moved in equal measure. Ideally, an ethically upright and clear attitude (SEISHIN) and an inner calm state (SHISEI), the mind becomes empty (MUSHIN) and can be in open attention (ZANSHIN) in harmony with the energy, unfold its power precisely (KIME). The harmony that is experienced and felt leads to spiritual knowledge through constant practice, the experience of unity, from which compassion and the inner desire for peacefulness grow.

What tradition is The Art of Swift Sword Drawing based on?

The Japanese Hayashizaki Jinsuke Shigenobu (1549-1621) is the founding of Iai-Do attributed, although the term has only been used since 1932. It was the beginning of the so-called "Edo period" (autocracy of the Tokugawa shogunate), which put an end to the centuries of constant military conflicts in old Japan and brought about a long period of peace. This created space for an inner development process of the samurai, who were now primarily occupied with administrative tasks as high officials. However, in order to maintain their fitness for war, but also to steer their strength and sense of honor in harmless ways, martial arts schools were established all over Japan, in which the samurai could continue to practice handling their swords without killing them. Samurai weren't just warriors. The word "samurai" evolved phonetically from "saburai" which was derived from "sabura"<. Stand by, guard, serve. A high sense of honor and bravery marked their character, which they constantly strived to perfect, also through the fine arts such as poetry and painting. In general, one can say that they maintained a lifestyle based on values and quality standards.

Today Iaido is becoming the traditional one Budo Disciplines counted as kyudo, kendo, aikido and judo. People who seriously practice a budo discipline (budoka) use learning martial arts as a personal path of further development.

The "Art of Swift Sword Drawing" is based on the martial strategy of defeating the opponent in a flash with just one blow, already with the drawing of the sword. The underlying philosophy is to be understood from the point of view of limiting any fighting and use of force to the minimum extent necessary. Because the samurai, who lived in the constant face of death, knew – despite all the brutality of military conflicts – to understand and appreciate the value of life, which was also true of the man-to-man warfare that was still common at the time. In addition to technical skill and precision, the absolute control of the mind was the necessary basis of this difficult martial art. A swordsman who balanced physical mastery of technique, mind and energy with wielding the sword KI KEN TAI ICHI. From a master of this level, at best, only the grip of the sword or a steady look is enough to dissuade the opponent from his possibly malicious intentions. If the warning sign was not understood or ignored, the potential attacker usually had to pay with his life.

Iaido is one of the "internal (soft) martial arts", since the external development of power (in the lightning-like action) is the result of an internal transformation process that requires the regulation and targeted control of breathing, energy, emotion and spirit. These are mutually influencing and determining factors which, if harmony is achieved, produce effectiveness in the function.

The line

KOKORO DO – Martial Arts Mentoring has established itself as a branch of TOSA JUKU AUSTRIA HONBU DOJO also dedicated to the care and cultivation of the more than 450 year old martial art Iaijutsu/Iaido with the samurai sword. This martial art is in the lineage of MUSO JIKIDEN EISHIN RYU, from the 21. Main Master Sekiuchi Komei, Komei Juku-Ha taught. This line is considered KORYU (old school) particularly difficult to learn and is based on authentic execution, far away from stereotypism or show elements.

TOSA JUKU AUSTRIA HONBU DOJO was created by the Austrian swordsman pioneer and commissioned representative (Shibucho) Erwin Steinhauser, 6th Dan (European Iaido Association) justified. In the effort to get as close as possible to the origin of the line with precise technique and spirit, there is the practice of Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu Iaijutsu-Do, under constant practical testing of realism and efficiency.

In April 2018, O'Sensei Erwin Steinhauser designated his longtime student Doris Nachtlberger as his successor during her lifetime. He authorized and commissioned them to pass on and maintain this ancient martial art, which should remain alive and accessible to interested parties through intensive, practical and theoretical discussion. Ongoing "eye to eye" training (Jap. Isshin Deshin - from heart to heart) between O'Sensei Steinhauser and his designated student ensure quality and further development.

The enraged will experience defeat - in battle, and in civilian life.

(samurai wisdom)