As a filmmaker, I strive to find unique people and stories to share them through documentary films. As I was researching various forms of martial arts I came across Iaido. At first glance Iaido seemed outdated more like a novelty than a practical form of self-defense, I mean swords? At a time where people carry guns? What’s the point? Regardless, it was elegant, ancient, and intriguing and I need to explore this further. Paul Manogue sensei of Iaido and aikido, 5th dan, a direct student of the current soke. Paul sensei is among the few official teachers of Edo Yagyu Shin Kage Ryu outside of Japan. And I happen to be lucky enough to come across his dojo when googling Iaido schools in the Philadelphia area. Talking to Paul, Iaido seemed very spiritual/religious requires a lot of discipline, respect, pateince, and practice both physically and mentally.
Though most martial arts are very physical in nature. Iaido taught me that the greatest weapon is your mind (Hence the title of the film being “Path of the Mind”). If you do not possess the mental discipline and drive to practice and keep pushing forward you will not succeed or get better in any physical discipline. Paul also explained to me that Iaido has not been “sportified” meaning there are no points to achieve or targets to acquire to alternate the ancient practice. Iaido is about the kill or making an enemy submit which defines its very discipline oriented nature. Many other martial arts are effected by becoming a sport and altering its true purpose. Though Iaido still uses swords and is very traditional it still proves to be very timeless. Hopefully, in this film you can see the elegance and discipline required to practice Iaido and why I was attracted to it. Without further ado Path of the Mind.