Iaijutsu is known today in different names, in particular as Iai (coexistence), Nukiiai (coetaneous snatching), Baken (sword removal), Tatiiai (face-to-face position) and, finally, Battojutsu (the art of sword drawing). Iaijutsu is the art aimed to win (to be specific, not to fail) in the battle through the single movement of sword drawing from the scabbard. In other words, this is the skill to foresee the opponent’s intentions and swiftly dissect him with the precise flourish of the sword without any doubt. This art was known long before the Tokugawa period though it is still not precise when the term first became effective for sword drawing art.
Based on the legend, some Hayashizaki Jinsuke Minamoto-no Shigenobu was born in 1549 in the samurai’s family in the village Hayashizaki ruled by the Minamoto clan. He is named either Hayashizaki Jinsuke or Hayashizaki Shigenobu in history annals. Soon after his father was killed at the duel, young Hayashizaki decides, at whatever cost, to take revenge of Hachinoshuke, his offender, a powerful warrior and unbeatable master of sword. Several years later, spent in tough trainings, they met and in horror, Hayashizaki found that he was not ready for the battle, either morally or physically. He isolated himself to the local house of God (or to mountains, as by another legend). Days and nights spent meditating or honing skills were not successive and Hayashizaki dreamed of getting defeated even when he went asleep for a while. Sepukku was seen as the only option appropriate for a young samurai. Coming to terms of his fate, Hayashizaki came with the idea to make the ritual in the morning. At night he dreamed of Fudo Myoo, the spirit of Hachiman. The godhood revealed a secret to a young man: when there is no chance to kill the enemy when you have a sword in hands, then you have to hurry up to slash him earlier than he draws his sword out of scabbard. First the enemy is defeated by consciousness and then - by the sword.
Hayashizaki is believed to spend one hundred days permanently praying and enhancing his art of sword drawing with the slash of the opponent that we call iaijutsu. During his training all his opponents were butterflies. When he increased self-estimation, Hayashizaki encouraged himself to launch a challenge against Hachinoshuke. The latter was greatly astonished when he saw a young man sitting in traditional Japanese position quietly (seiza) and all of a sudden he forgot the old saying: “Expect a dozen of warriors in a weak opponent”. That was Hayashizaki’s intention. Hachinoshuke did not manage to uncover the sword as the young man cut his right hand off and injured his neck. He took revenge of his father and that was the date when the iaijutsu was born as the martial arts.
There are so many documental sources though all of them come to one side about Hayashizaki as the father of iaijutsu.
The sword battling is incredible beautiful and eye-catching due to its simplicity and particular outcome-orientation. Neither samurai would take his time for unnecessary movements when his is in threat of death. Instead, he would accentuate all his attention and concentrate forces to the single task of liquidating the evil symbolized by the enemy. On the top of it, he would have to do it with the highest efficiency.