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It's easy to learn how to speak. It takes a lot more to learn how to actually say something. ~icy
In a Q&A format:
What is this art form about?
Iaido / Siljun Dobup is about decision making, balance and control over self more than anything else. We train to learn to master our minds, our reflexes, our stance, our breathing in order to be ready for that moment in which the draw and the cut occurs as one act. There is no fight, there is no doubt, no second guessing; seeing that point of attack and executing a perfect attack is our goal.
How does this translate to real life? Is it useful?
One might think that learning how to execute a perfect sword strike is an unapplicable talent when it comes to day to day activities of one’s life; but that would be missing the point behind the training. We practice running, weight lifting and many more exercises for the same purpose: to gain a health benefit. Sword training is the same, and more; in addition to training the physical body, we also train the mental body: focus, balance, conscience projection, seme, zanshin, to gain the awareness needed. This training comes very handy in day-to-day activities to keep stress under control; manage situations and rise above the issues rather than being swept away by them; be able to make decisions and stay the course.
Is this boring? Would I get sweaty?
Siljun Dobup training is a bit more practical than most traditional Japanese Iaido Ryu (schools) in the sense that an active curriculum can be created through its basic training levels where you as the student can spend physical effort and develop new skills at the same time. I believe it is a good foundation that can touch various forms of martial arts through the instructor’s knowledge base and keep things active. Siljun Dobup has no sitting forms so its training is within the reach of a wider practicioner base.
Do I have to purchase anything? Uniform? Gear?
For the beginner levels, no gear is necessary. Just come as if you would come to the gym. A uniform is recommended as soon as you feel like you are interested in the art. Like most other martial arts, it will feel different and more proper with the proper uniform. An Iaito (an unsharpened practice sword) is a worthwhile investment, with the procurement of which I can definitely help; but it is absolutely not necessary for the very beginner classes. Bokkens (wooden practice swords) are used for the beginner levels and I will provide the bokkens.