“Watching the Nihon Kobudo Embu Taikai the other weekend, and seeing a couple rather lackluster demonstrations (only a couple, mind you, out of 40) got me thinking about efficacy in martial arts – again! It’s a strange cycle to fall into. On one hand, after thinking about things for a long time, I finally conclude that “combat effectiveness” doesn’t matter one iota to what we’re doing. And then, I see a demonstration of something that strikes me as obviously bad, and I start to criticize it as ineffective.
I was running these ideas past my friend Keith, and he asked me a very simple question that cut right to the heart of what I was struggling with. “So, what are your minimum criteria for iaido? Even if you know nothing about the particulars of the style, what do you need to see to think something at least has the possibility of being good?”
I thought about it, and I think it’s pretty simple. Here’s what needs to be present for iaido to be good, in my opinion.”
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