Iaido is a martial art from Japan that is a mastery of smooth, controlled movements that draw the practitioner's sword from its scabbard, cut the opponent, remove any blood from the blade, and replace it safely and cleanly in the scabbard. Newer students use wooden or unsharpened swords, whereas more advanced students use actual, sharp metal swords. This art is nearly exclusive in the teaching of forms over fundamentals or actual striking. Practice is performed on wooden dummies and doesn't include any kind of sparring or direct, one-on-one competition. It's more about the perfection of a controlled and fluid motion
The word Iaido roughly means "the way of mental presence and immediate reaction." The art grew in its popularity as early as the 1500s. It is often confused with Kendo and Kenjutsu, but those either do not train the drawing or re-sheathing, the singular person in competition, or developing one's own method of attack. Sometimes referred to as battojutsu or iajutsu, it has been renamed with the suffix -do as many other Japanese martial arts in order to place a greater importance on the spiritual and philosophical nature of learning the art. Some have called it "moving Zen" because of the mental concentration needed to perform the perfect movement. The art's different forms are performed in solitary stance against one or many invisible, imagined enemies. Some schools will train in pairs and won't train cutting techniques.
For the most part, the training of iaido is all about presence of mind. Another emphasis is on the physical drawing of the sword and response to the suddenness of the attack. There is no specific starting position, as some students will perform from a combat, sitting or standing position. For the ancient samurai warriors, being able to react with speed and accuracy from any position was an absolute must. Perhaps the most important part of the art is the ability to rapidly draw the sword and swing the scabbard back all while slashing with the sword.