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The art of Japanese swordfighting comes to Barrhaven

By Apartment613 on September 10, 2021

by Ali Adwan

A new martial arts school is coming to Ottawa, and will kick off with a free workshop of their teachings on Sept. 12. Those interested in trying their hand at the art of Japanese swordsmanship, or “Iaido,” can do so at mixed martial arts gym Silver 7 Martial Arts in Barrhaven.

Iaido is a specific art of swordfighting which entails techniques of drawing the samurai sword, cutting or striking the opponent, and returning the sword to its scabbard.

The captains steering this exciting venture are Patrick Suen and his wife Hanna Ikeda-Suen. The couple is very knowledgeable in the field and have a long and extensive resume. Patrick has been practicing for 17 years and has a fifth degree black belt while Hanna has been practicing for 14 years and holds a fourth degree black belt.

Asked about how he feels about opening a school in Ottawa, Patrick says in an email, “Iaido has been a family-oriented activity and lifestyle for me since starting nearly 20 years ago. For the past 14 years, my wife and I have shared this journey with many close friends, and found many practitioners in the global community that have become some of our closest friends.”

Patrick Suen poses while practicing Iaido. Photo by Danny Chen.

Patrick continues, “I feel privileged to be able to provide a space for this community to build physical and mental resilience, and explore the similarities and differences across history and culture.”

In 2019, Patrick founded Tokushikai Iaido Dojo in Toronto, and has been able to open a new branch and bring the teachings to the capital city. The dojo and type of martial art will be governed and overseen by Canadian Kendo Federation, which is an affiliate of the International Kendo Federation located in Tokyo, Japan.

Photos in the poster by Nancy James and Koon Nguyen.

Suen hopes the introduction of an Iaido school in Ottawa will deepen existing ties between the city and Japan. “We hope to continue spreading the deeply human lessons that come from martial arts, as well as promoting the culture and history of Japan, of which we find so many resonant points,” says Suen. “For our students, we hope to share how Iaido practice and community can influence one’s life for the better, and help them create stronger connections with others on the path to self-improvement.”

Hanna Ikeda-Suen practices Iaido. Photo by Francis Domingo.

Happening at 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. respectively, the 45-minute workshops will cover everything one needs to know about Iaido in a general sense. Attendees will learn everything from the origins of the art to its practical uses in everyday life. Specific topics may include different styles practiced, and exploring the community of practitioners from local to international.

Anyone intrigued to try this style of swordfighting shouldn’t wait too long to register! In order to comply with public health restrictions, each session is limited to 15 participants.

The free Iaido workshop at Silver 7 Martial Arts can be registered for here and will take place at 3500 Fallowfield Rd, Suite 14. Patrick also offers his own podcast based on the sport which can be found here.