Getting Started in Iaido

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Matsu Kai is open to anyone interested in Iaido (E’ eye Do), the Way of Drawing the Japanese Sword. We invite you to visit the dojo during a regular practice to watch a class but please contact us by e-mail ( before you visit to be sure that practice is scheduled on the day you choose . Afterwards, you may speak with us to answer any questions you may have.

To begin practice all you need is a wooden sword (bokuto/bokken), good-quality sports knee pads, a belt that can wrap around your body three times and comfortable clothes such as sweat pants and a t-shirt.

When you feel ready, you may purchase the practice uniform (traditional split skirt called Hakama and top called Iaido-gi). These can be acquired at local suppliers or on-line (see here).

Once you choose to stay with Iaido you will want to purchase an Iaito (practice sword). These range in cost from four hundred to several thousand dollars and we will assist you in purchasing the correct sword for you. Please do not purchase a sword on your own until speaking with your teacher. Unfortunately, there are many poorly made Japanese style swords that are unsuitable for Iaido.

Please note: decorative swords such as those sold at cutlery and souvenir stores are not suitable for Iaido practice. They are poorly balanced and often unsafe.

After years of practice you will want to buy a “live” blade. That is, a blade with a sharp edge. For safety reasons, we do not condone the use of live blades (shinken) until the student has attained enough skill. This is determined by the teacher and not by the student. However, when the student is ready, there is much to be learned in practicing with a shinken. We will help you to purchase one when the time is right.

To get started, please come to observe a class and ask questions. Once you have done that we can arrange to have you start practicing.