Sussex Genbukan


The Zen Nippon Kendo Renmei Iaido – Seitei iaido

Zen Nippon Kendo Renmei Iaido is the iaido forms practiced by the ZNKR/AJKF and FIK International Kendo Federation members. There are twelve kata, which form a common ground for examinations and matches.

Zen Nippon Kendo Renmei Iaido abbreviated into Zen Ken Ren Iaido is also known as seitei iai. It emerged in 1969 and was extended in 1980 and 2001. It was created when headmasters associated with the Z.N.K.R. were seeking a way to spread/develop Iaido in a common way and to confront kendoka with the roots of their sport.

The AJKF was founded in 1952, immediately following the restoration of Japanese independence and the subsequent lift of the ban on martial arts in Japan. To popularize iaido and to make it easier for kendo practitioners to learn iaido, an expert committee was established by the AJKF to review the situation. The committee subsequently selected the basic techniques from major iaido schools to form the curriculum of Zen Nippon Kendo Renmei Iaido. In 1969, the AJKF introduced its seitei curriculum of seven iaido kata. These were drawn from or based on several of the major traditional sword schools, including Muso Jikiden Eishin-ryu, Muso Shinden-ryu and Hoki-ryu. Three more kata were added in 1981 and two more in 2000, increasing the number of seitei iaido kata to the current twelve. These kata are officially known as the "All Japan Kendo Federation Iai" ( Zen Nippon Kendo Renmei Iaido), or Zen Ken Ren Iai and commonly referred to as seitei or seitei-gata.

1969 ZNKR Comitee (7 kata formed):
- Danzaki Tomoaki, 9 th Dan Hanshi, Muso Shinden Ryu
- Yamatsuta Jukichi, 9 th Dan Hanshi, Muso Shinden Ryu
- Yamamoto Harusuke, 9 th Dan Hanshi, Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu
- Masaoka Kazumi, 9 th Dan Hanshi, Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu
- Muto Shuzo, Hanshi, 9 th Dan Hanshi, Hasegawa Eishin Ryu
- Kamimoto Eichi, 9 th Dan Hanshi, Hasegawa Eishin Ryu
- Yoshizawa Ikki, 9 th Dan Hanshi, Hoki Ryu
- Tsumaki Seirin, 8 th Dan Kyoshi, Tamiya Ryu
- Suetsugo Tomezo 8 th Dan Kyoshi, Muso Shinden Ryu
- Nukada Hisashi, 8 th Dan Kyoshi, Muso Shinden Ryu
- Ohmura Tadaji, 8 th Dan Kyoshi, Muso Shinden Ryu
- Sawayama Shuzo 8 th Dan Kiyoshi, Hoki Ryu

1980 ZNKR Comitee (3 kata added):
- Danzaki Tomoaki, 9 th Dan Hanshi, Muso Shinden Ryu
- Kamimoto Eichi, 9 th Dan Hanshi, Muso Shinden Ryu
- Hashimoto Masatake, 9 th Dan Hanshi, Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu
- Wada Hachiro, 8 th Dan Hanshi, Muso Shinden Ryu
- Mitani Yoshisato, 8 th Dan Hanshi, Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu
- Sawayama Shuzo, 8 th Dan Hanshi, Hoki Ryu

2001 ZNKR Comitee (2 kata added):
- No info

Seitei simply means "Standard" or "Uniform" and in Japan it is most often referred as Zen Ken Ren Iaido.

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.

With the advent of Z.K.R. iaido, the traditional schools (Ryu-Ha) were provided with a standard with which to compare their expertise among themselves. Apart from the appraisal within the various schools, a system well-known from other budo disciplines was introduced, featuring 7 kyu- and 10 Dan grades (now max. 8), with which one could judge the level of experience of candidates. 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.

In the British Kendo Association (B.K.A.), candidates must pass the exam for the 1st kyu-grade, prior to being admitted to the exam for 1st dan. Examinations consist of a theoretical and a practical section. The Z.N.K.R. system also opens the road to matches, where two candidates with the same level of experience simultaneously show a number of free or prescribed kata to a jury. Of course, they will be judged by the technical perfection of their performance, measured by the depth of practice, but also by the sphere ( fighting spirit ) they are able to evoke with their kata.

It is composed of four sitting and eight standing kata, featuring the most representative and effective sword techniques from various traditional shcools and including horizontal, vertical, diagonal and successive cuts, as well as thrusts and stabs.

The set is preceded and concluded by a saluting ritual (reiho). It is an expression of respect to the past (the gods or early headmasters), the present (the teacher and the sword) and the future (the students) of the discipline. Z.K.R. In its present form, Iaido is practiced world-wide.

The twelve seitei-gata are standardised for the tuition, promotion and propagation of iaido within the kendo federations. It must be understood that the ZNR Iai is not static. Each year the highest ranked sensei review the forms and occasionally apply small changes, this enables the ZNR Iai to be a living art and to ensure that the standard is maintained and that its original purpose is not lost. As a result, seitei iaido has become the most widely recognised form of iaido in Japan and the rest of the world.

Passes all round

At the 2013 BKA Summer Seminar, in Stevenage  Nick passed his Yondan and Chris & David are now Ikkyu. However none of us were successful in the Koryu Taikai.

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