Summary: good theory and practice book
Comment: This book gives a nice overview. It has history and practice.
Is all illustraded with good pictures. The techniques and the katas are good to follow. This is a real must for everybody who practice and want to practice Iado.
Summary: Great book for Iaido beginner students
Comment: Hello, I enjoyed the book very much and I been practicing Iaido at my dojo for 3 months and I think it is a great Art. I agree with most of the reviews below and I would like to know if any of you iaido students would recomend any good tapes/dvd on the subject (being able to see in detail how is done would be a grat help) as Magellan mentioned in his review but unfortunately there was no link or name of any tapes. Any help on this matter would be greatly appreciated. thanks neokanobiATyahooDOTcom
Summary: Important classic
Comment: Although a little outdated as the book now has only 10 of the 12 new Setei kata, which were added after the book was published, this is still an essential classic on the history and practice of Iaido. If you need info on the katas and practical techniques, however, there are better sources these days than a book--such as the many videos that are often available used for less than the price of this book new--so if it's that's what you're interested in, I would refer you to those. However, for an in-depth study of the history of the Japanese sword, the different styles and periods of craftsmanship and how they differ, the practical aspects of sword making, and many of the other cultural aspects surrounding the practice of the Japanese sword, and so on, Draeger's book is still the best one I know out there.
I did have one other comment to make. Draeger comments that, especially since WWII, as a result of various changes in the teaching curriculum of Iaido it has become a more formalized, aesthetic art and has lost touch with the original combative, samurai aspect of the art. While I certainly respect Draeger, and his redoubtable skill, knowledge, and opinions in many arts, I would point out that this problem isn't unique to Iaido. It's a problem with all the martial and combative arts of both the east and west.
For example, students of karate have the same problem. A student, even a skilled black belt, can do all the point sparring he wants, but unless he actually puts on the full-contact gear and risks getting his head bashed in, he isn't subjecting himself to the ultimate combative aspect of his art, either. So the problem isn't unique to Iaido. So although I respect Draeger and understand that his concern is genuine and arises from that fact that he's a sincere, hard-nosed traditionalist on this issue, I would point out that it's not really practical to do this anymore.
The samurai of old practiced and trained in the discipline of Iaido in the dojo because their lives depended on it, and then their skills were ultimately tested and forged on the crucible of the battlefield and in individual duels and combat. As I said, this is no longer the case and is no longer practical, either. So although I might agree with Draeger that perhaps something has been lost, nevertheless, unless one is proposing to recreate much more realistic but impractical sparring practices I don't see any remedy for the situation.
So overall, a fine book on learning about this fascinating art.
Summary: Still the best book for ZNKR Iaido kata .
Comment: My Sensei recommended this book and the recommendation holds true 20 years after it was published. It is now outdated as it only has the first 10 of the now 12 Seite kata of the ZNKR(All Japan Kendo Federation). These kata are used around the world as a standard for grading no matter what ryu (school) you study. But the rest of the book is timeless!
This book is for the study of Iaido. If you want to learn what that is, buy this book. It includes chapters on tradation and history vital for an understanding of the practice of Iaido. It should be used as a supplement to study with a qualified Sensei.
Summary: Not practical
Comment: The book title and description imply that the text contains mostly actual techniques used by Japanese swordsmen. In reality, the book is 70% about the history of Japanese swords, 20% about the customs relating to swords, and 10% technique and practice. It's interesting if you're a museum curator or historian, but for the person looking for an introduction to the art of sword handling, it's really not useful.