Looking to get into Iaido for self-defense? If you are, then you've made a great choice. It's an incredible martial art that's definitely worth looking into.
But if you're entirely new, then you're probably still wondering, "is Iaido dangerous?" And I get you, I totally do! And you'd be entirely reasonable for thinking this way, especially since safety should always be your top priority.
Tons of people ask themselves that question before actually getting started with the hobby, and it's entirely a sound question thing to be curious about in the first place. Thankfully for you, I've got all the facts you need right here in this article. Let's get into it!
Is Iaido Dangerous? The Risks Explained
Iaido is a martial art that involves weapons training. As such, there is always a risk of accidents occurring during training. Injuries can range from minor cuts and bruises to more serious injuries, like concussions or broken bones.
To help mitigate the risk of accidents, be sure to always practice Iaido under the supervision of a qualified instructor.
Make sure to warm up properly before each training session as well, and pay close attention to your instructor's demonstrations and instructions.
Iaido training can have psychological effects on practitioners too. Some people may find that the aggressive nature of the training brings out feelings of anxiety or fear.
Others may find that the discipline required for Iaido is too demanding and stressful. If you find yourself feeling negative emotions after training, be sure to talk to your instructor about it so they can help you address the issue.
Because Iaido training teaches practitioners how to effectively use a sword for self-defense, some people might end up developing a false sense of confidence in their abilities. These people may not remember that Iaido is mostly effective against unarmed opponents.
So if you're confronted by an attacker who's armed with a gun, your best course of action would absolutely still be to retreat and call for help. Trying to take on an armed opponent with only your sword skills just isn't a good idea, and it's likely to result in serious injury... or worse.
The Most Common Injuries Sustained In Iaido
There are quite a few potential injuries that can happen to you while you practice Iaido. Some of the most common injuries you can run into are:
- Blisters: Practicing Iaido can cause blisters to form on your hands, mostly due to the repetitive striking of the iaito against your target.
- Wrist Sprains: One of the most common injuries is a wrist sprain, which can occur when the arm is extended out in front of the body and the hand is turned palm-up.
- Shoulder Strain: Another common injury is a shoulder strain, which can occur when the arm is extended out to the side and the hand is turned palm-down.
- Lacerations: This is a pretty serious one. Lacerations are cuts that can occur from the use of the shinai, or bamboo sword, during practice. They're unlikely to be deep, but they can be. In severe cases, they may even require stitches to close.
They'll likely only happen due to severe negligence, so if you want to avoid these, then make sure to respect your instructor, your fellow practitioners, and the sport itself.
- Bruises: There's a pretty decent chance you'll experience bruises on your arms, legs, and torso as a result of your Iaido practice. Don't worry, though; most are superficial, and they'll likely disappear within a few days.
Additional Risks Involved When Practicing Iaido
Iaido, like any other contact sport, poses the risk of contracting infectious diseases such as MRSA or hepatitis. They aren't at the very top of the list of things you'd normally worry about, but they're still there.
This kind of risk is mostly due to the shared mats and equipment that may come in contact with bodily fluids--sweat, saliva, blood in some rare cases, the likes.
Fortunately, practicing good hygiene and regularly cleaning and disinfecting equipment can drastically reduce the kinds of risks you're likely to run into, to the point that you likely won't even need to worry about them anymore.
You want a safe, healthy training environment, so be sure to pick a dojo that prioritizes cleanliness and sanitation. A reputable dojo will take the measures necessary to uphold cleanliness, even if it's as simple as providing accessible hand sanitizers and disinfectant wipes.
Of course, most go all the way, regularly washing and sanitizing mats and equipment, as well as enforcing strict rules on personal hygiene. That's the kind of dojo you should want, for the most part.
The likelihood of you contracting an infectious disease definitely isn't high, I know, but it's still worth it for you to be aware of these kinds of risks and to take precautions to protect yourself and others.
Prioritizing proper hygiene isn't too difficult, thankfully, nor is maintaining a good standard of cleanliness. If you uphold these, you'll be able to practice Iaido safely.
How To Stay Safe When Practicing Iaido
There are definitely a few risks inherent to practicing Iaido, I won't deny that. But I will also tell you that a lot of these can be minimized with proper training and supervision. If you're careful and know what you're doing, then there's very little you should be worried about.
And just so we're on the same page, being "careful" in this case means:
- Warming up and stretching before every training session;
- Wearing the proper protective gear, such as a mouthguard and headgear
- Listening to your body and not pushing through pain or injury;
- Practicing good hygiene and cleaning all equipment regularly;
- Avoiding unsanitary environments;
Granted, you can be extremely careful and still have an accident happen to you, it's true. That's why it's an accident, after all. Try to research beforehand on what to do in case these things happen to you.
Keep in mind the signs and symptoms of a concussion, for example, such as nausea and confusion, and have contacts with medical assistance ready in case you ever need something.
Well, there you have it! Iaido, like any physical activity, comes with its fair share of risks, but they can be minimized by following proper safety precautions and hygiene practices.
Injuries and infectious diseases are potential dangers, yes, but they absolutely shouldn't deter you from practicing this incredible martial art.
So for those of you interested in exploring the world of Iaido, don't be afraid to take that first step. You'll be glad you embarked on this journey of self-discovery and growth.