Sei Do Kai Press Release

For Immediate Release:

  Japanese Swordsmen are coming to Ontario!

                                           - Chris Gilham, Windsor (chris.gilham@3web.net)
 
The city of Guelph won’t actually be the filming set for a Samurai drama, but it sure will look like one this May 19 to 21. Every year for the past ten years, martial artists from around North America have been coming to the city of Guelph so that they can wear long pleated ‘skirts’ and Japanese swords in their ‘belts’. 
 
Why would anyone want to ‘play samurai’? To learn from a small group of Japanese swordsmen who teach a martial art known as ‘Iaido’ (ee-eye-dough).  
 
Iaido is concerned with drawing a Japanese sword from its scabbard and cutting in the same motion. Most practice is solo, eventually with a real sword, one that makes the butcher’s blades look dull. Actually, nothing gets cut, except air. 

Iaido is one of those martial arts that you don’t normally see in North America. When most people think of martial arts, they think of Steven Seagal and Aikido, or our old friend Chuck Norris and Karate. Every person on the continent knows the name Bruce Lee.  Iaido isn’t about fighting, or even self-defence. This Japanese sword art is about perfecting a form, known in martial arts circles as ‘kata.’ There are lots of kata to learn, but quantity isn’t important at all in this ancient Japanese way: quality is everything. 

Kim Taylor, a sixth dan, or sixth degree black belt (there are no coloured belts in this system, no new belts with each grade, in fact, you can’t see the belt because it’s under the traditional ‘skirt’, known as a ‘hakama’) emphasizes, “Students must strive to achieve power, precision and perfection in their form. Along the way they learn balance, grace, and control of the body and the mind.“ 

Iaido is about developing the self, character growth, stress release, and a great way to study a highly respected, ancient part of Japanese culture. 
 
Kim Taylor is the founder of the University of Guelph’s SEI DO KAI, a martial arts club largely devoted to the study of Japanese swording, though over the years he’s moved into other traditional arts, like the Japanese staff art, known as ‘Jodo’, and a very rare school of swording known as the ‘Hyo Ho Niten Ichi-ryu’ (two heavens as one school of strategy) that was developed by Miyamoto Musashi, author of the "Book of Five Rings" and Japan's most famous swordsman. The school dates from the early 1600s and its most distinctive feature is its use of two swords at once.  
 
Kim’s the academic type. As academic types go, there’s no room for doing things half-heartedly. Thus this year’s eleventh annual Spring Iaido Seminar. From the start Kim has endeavoured to learn Iaido from the best swordsmen he could find. Kim’s teacher, Mr. Goyo Ohmi studied Iaido in his youth in Japan. Mr. Ohmi now lives in Toronto, teaching Iaido. Together, Kim and Goyo discovered one of Japan’s best iaido practitioners and teachers, Mr. Matsuo Haruna. Besides holding the highest possible rank one can hold in Iaido, within the All Japan Kendo Federation, Mr. Haruna has also been a consistent top three placer in the All Japan Iaido Championships for many years. 
 
This May, Mr. Haruna returns to the University of Guelph, along with five other elite iaido teachers from Japan. Together, they will instruct as many as 100 iaido practitioners who will gather from around North America. Instruction will cover all areas of swording as it is practiced in the All Japan Kendo Federation, as well as two older, more traditional schools of Japanese swording. 
 
Those who have never tried or seen this sword art are most welcome to attend the three-day seminar. In fact, it’s highly recommended: There are not many opportunities in North America to get this top quality instruction in Iaido. Instruction will cover basic to advanced techniques, depending on the level of the practitioner. 
 
There will also be opportunities to try the Japanese staff art of Jodo, and the two-sword school of Niten Ichi.  
 
Besides the excellent training, past participants make high note of the camaraderie and friendship among participants over the three days. Being the good Canadian host, Kim Taylor also boasts that the evenings are entertaining too. After ten years of putting this seminar together, it’s bound to carry a particular ‘festive mood’ of its own: There’s really nothing like serious training followed by good conversation, cold drinks and fun, even if the people like to wear skirts and pretend to be Samurai. 
 
If you want be a part of this May’s samurai training, contact Kim Taylor for all the details,  including how to get to Guelph, accommodations, and seminar fees. Information can  also be found at this website: http://www.uoguelph.ca/~iaido/
 
 


Feel free to use this information in your own publications. Contact Kim Taylor for assistance or further details. 

Contact:
Kim Taylor
44 Inkerman St
Guelph Ont
N1H 3C5
519-836-4357
fax 519-836-9873
email kataylor@uoguelph.ca


Photographs

General iaido photographs of Kim Taylor

 

Websites associated with Sei Do Kai

Sei Do Kai Iaido Homepage Canadian Kendo Federation Ontario Kendo Federation.
Electronic Journals of Martial Arts and Sciences Kim's Big Page of Stuff Sei Do Kai Supplies

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Last Modified by Kim Taylor Mar 25, 2001