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Seishin Iaido

By Richard Ward

Seishin Iaido was "born" in October 2002, when as result of continuing and determined requests from Sue Rogers, three people started iaido training together.

Richard Ward, Sue Rogers and her son Vaughn Rogers all trained at Fudoshin Kendo. The Fudoshin Saturday dojo is a nice hall set in a park in Balwyn. So the three, met there every Saturday morning an hour or two before the Fudoshin Kendo training session, to study iaido. As Fudoshin kendo training started at 9:30am that meant an early start.

Sue and Vaughn were keen and Richard was happy to resume some iaido training, even without an instructor. After a while they attracted a few more interested people. Richard thought that as they all were so keen and doing well, it was only fair that they should be graded. So he applied to the VKR to be a recognised iaido club. After some months of coming to terms with the idea, the VKR said OK and Seishin Iaido was born in February 2004. Thus Seishin became the second VKR recognised dojo that studied iaido.

A few days day after the VKR announced their decision, the name "Seishin Iaido" was announced and a website went "live".

Prior to the announcement, selecting the name took ages.  The three original members wanted something complementary to "Fudoshin" for a number of reasons.  Fudoshin Kendo was where they originally got together, the concept of fudoshin (imperturbable mind) was appealing and we thought was also appropriate for iaido

The members searched for a name, as the VKR decision was awaited.  The assistance of Takashi Itakura, Hayami Aboutaleb and Megumi Mizukami was also sought.  Eventually the name "Seishin" was suggested by Hayamis' mother.  We liked it and made it ours.  The result of their efforts was preceded by months of development, consultation, reviews, restarts and some nagging! In Japanese, seishin is a concept of a calm or peaceful mind, and kai means association.

While the word "Seishin" is used as a noun in the name, in Japanese, seishin is a concept.  So after the advice of Nagayama sensei who helped design the zekken, it was decided to include an additional character for the Japanese version of the dojo name.  The Japanese characters that are used for the logo are seishin kai (association).

Sue and Richard had also been working on a logo idea.  The genesis of the logo idea included the pattern of a dragonfly's wings in flight, the image of Mount Fuji in Japan and the pattern that the iaidoka's hands make when first grasping the sword, while in the seiza position.  Based on that and other ideas, Sue did the brushwork for use on our logo.  That is now used on the website, letterhead and jackets.

Shortly after Seishin started, Hsiang (Steve) Chen joined us for a while, which helped with a 33% increase in membership, as shown in our end of year 2003 photo.

In 2004 Seishin Iaido was joined by - George Bonicelli, Sandra Cerrato, Tristan and Fiona Powell, Carl Schaller, Wayne Hessell, Greg Harada-Davis and Lusita Wong.  All are still training, except Fiona who is a new mother.  Lusita is studying (and training) in NSW.  Gradually new people found Seishin and numbers grew to be quite healthy, even to the point where because of the size of the training hall, they had to suspend the beginners' courses and run a waiting list!


On occasions, Seishin iaidoka were grateful for the guidance of Antony Pickering sensei and Marcus Lee-Steere as instructors. In July 2004, Seishin had their first visit by an iaido sensei. Ramon Lawrence sensei, the AKR Iaido Board Chairman and iaido 6th dan, included Seishin on a national training tour. Seishin members still discuss subjects that Ramon taught on that visit. Seishin has also received visits from Kuniaki Nagayama sensei, iaido kyoshi 7th dan (Japan), Ah-Loi Lee sensei, iaido kyoshi 7th dan (WA) and Dean Hawthorn, 4th dan (NSW).

Left: Visit by Sensei Ramon Lawrence - July 10, 2004
Back row, L to R: Tristan Powell, Fiona Powell, Lusita Wong, Sandra Cerrato, Troy Goodier, Wayne Hessell, Alvin Ng, Greg Harada-Davis.
Front row, L to R: John Tedesco, Masa Shimura, Richard Ward, Sensei Ramon Lawrence, Marcus Lee-Steere (visiting), Sue Rogers, Vaughn Rogers, Carl Schaller.

Seishin members are keen to learn more. Seven members attended the Australian Iaido Championships and Seminar held in Wollongong in 2006. Sue Rogers and Lusita Wong were both placed second in their class of competition and all who were examined, passed. Seishin later managed an attendance of four members to the 2007 AIC in Hobart, where Sue Rogers was successfully examined for 1st dan.

Seishin continues to train in the same hall.  Hot, cold, rain or shine, a sometimes sticky floor and hundreds of netballers and their parents cars, nearby.

Visitors are always welcome and we will fit you in somewhere!

Important dates for Seishin:
Oct 2002 - Commenced unofficial training
29 Aug 2003 - Applied to VKR for dojo recognition
4 Feb 2004 - Dojo recognition by VKR approved
7 Feb 2004 - First training as Seishin Iaido

Seishin Iaido Dojo:
1st North Balwyn Scout Hall, Macleahy Park, Belmore Rd. North Balwyn

Membership Stats:
2007/8 (to date) - 17;
2006/7 (full year) - 21;
2005/6 (full year) - 18;
2004/5 (full year) - 19.

by Richard Ward

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