Iaido Kata Shodan
(Art of Sword Drawing Kata #1)
(Front Opponent)

Iaido Kata Shodan is a very simple sword drawing kata containing three cutting motions against a single opponent positioned directly in front of you. This was taught to Sensei Rockenbach by Grand Master Albert C. Church during a vist to the headquarters Dojo in Charleston, S.C., in June of 1974.

Technically, this Kata is performed while wearing a Hakima (traditional baggy-legged Japanese trousers).

This Kata may be performed either from a kneeling position or from a standing position.



Iaido Kata Shodan

  1. With the sword in its scabbard at your left hip, rotate the top of the sword and scabbard nearly 90 degrees to your left.
  2. Break the sword free by pressing your left thumb against the Tsuba (hilt). Special note: Make sure that your left thumb is raised away from the edge of the sword. If you fail to do this with a live blade, you will spray paint the walls a nice red color.
  3. Stepping forward with your right foot into a right foot forward Front Stance, draw the sword in a diagonal fashion (lower left to upper right) with the edge of the blade facing toward your opponent. The draw is a slash, not a hack. The purpose of this cut is to disembowel your enemy.
  4. Move your right foot back to a closed parallel stance while moving the sword to your left and then behind you so that you can get a two-handed overhead grip.
  5. Step forward with your left foot while executing a two-handed overhead slash down upon your opponent. The purpose of this cut is to cut deeply into your opponent from the top, most likely a cut into the muscles over the collar bone and then down through the collar bone and into the body.
  6. With both hands, pull the sword back slightly (butt first towards your chest) and then perform a small cut with the curved end-edge of the sword. The purpose of this cut is to sever the jugular vein in the neck, guaranteeing that this foe won't be coming back after you in the future.
  7. Let go of the sword with your left hand and grip the scabbard with your left hand. Simultaneously, rotate your right hand clockwise (as you look at it) about 90 degrees so that your palm is up.
  8. With a sharp, rapid movement, swing the sword in a might clockwise arc (clockwise, if looking down from above) and finish the swing to your far right with the edge of the blade pointing behind you. The purpose of this swing is to shake the blood and debris off of the sword before replacing it into the scabbard.
  9. With your left hand, rotate the scabbard again so that the top edge of the scabbard is facing away from you.
  10. With your right hand, bring the sword in front of your body and let the dull side of the blade rest on top of your left thumb and forefinger.
  11. Using your left thumb and forefinger as a guide, draw the sword forward until the tip of the blade falls neatly into the scabbard.
  12. As you push the sword into the scabbard, gracefully draw your left foot back into Yoi Tachi such that your stance finishes at the same time that the sword is completely replaced into the scabbard.