Zen Nihon Kendouremei - Seitei Iai

In the early 1900 there was an awareness in Japan that Kendo was drifting away from the classical sword arts it was originally designed to protect and promote. Many Kendoka were purely focused on the competitive nature of Kendo with little regard for the Japanese classical swordsmanship, i.e., koryu.

After the lifting of the ban on martial arts in Japan in the early 1950, the AJKF (All Japan Kendo Federation) committee selected the basic techniques from major iaido schools to establish the foundation kata of the Zen Nippon Kendo Renmei Iaido, with the aim to promote iaido within the Kendo federation. These kata became commonly known as seitei or seitei-gata (meaning "Standard" or "Uniform"). Originally, the forms included seven iaido kata derived from several of the major classical (koryu) sword schools, including Muso Jikiden Eishin-ryu, Muso Shinden-ryu and Hoki-ryu. In 1981 three more kata were introduced and another two more were added in 2000, increasing the number of seitei iaido kata to the present twelve. These kata (no changes in the set forms are allowed whatsoever) are officially known as the "All Japan Kendo Federation Iai" (Zen Nippon Kendo Renmei Iai), or Zen Ken Ren Iai have been standardised for the tuition, promotion and propagation of iaido within the Kendo federations.

Seitei was originally designed for Kendoka, since they were losing touch with the dynamics of combat with real swords. As a result, Seitei body postures mimic that of the Kendoka, many of the movements are restricted because of the constraints imposed by the Kendo armour. Although not all Kendoka practice Seitei iaido (and conversely not all iaidoka practice Kendo), the AJKF uses dan grade examinations to measure an individual progress of Seitei iai. In this grading system; Nth dan grading examination can only be taken after N-1 years, i.e., to qualify for the 6th dan grading one can only apply 5 years after passing the 5th dan grading. The examination involves a written paper in addition to showing mastery of the Seitei kata. Over the years Seitei iai has become increasingly popular because of its grading element and competitive nature. As a result, Seitei iai has become the most widely recognised form of iaido in the world.

[1] Ippon Me Mae
[2] Nihon Me Ushiro
[3] Sanbon Me Ukenagashi
[4] Yonhon Me Tsukaate
[5] Gogon Me Kesagiri
[6] Roppon Me Morotezuki
[7] Nanahon Me Sanbourgiri
[8] Hachihon Me Ganmenate
[9] Kyuhon Me Soetezuki
[10] Juuppon Me Shihougiri
[11] Juuippun Me Sougiri
[12] Juunihon Me Nukiuchi

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