Otani Sensei was my first iaido teacher, and remains my inspiration for studying and teaching iai. Mr. Otani came to the US in 1954, determined to start a new life after the Pacific War decimated his native Osaka. He taught judo at the McBurney YMCA in New York for many years. Eventually, he began teaching iaido as well, founding a dojo in the 1960's, probably the first sword dojo on the East Coast. Even as Otani Sensei taught traditional Muso Shinden Ryu iaido, he created a series of solo and partner exercises based on his experience with various styles of swordsmanship. He also emphasized to us that iaido was not just striving for excellence in technique, but embodied the principles set forth during the Edo Period for proper and ethical behavior. Iai, therefore, is both a physical and mental discipline. Practitioners seek to perfect their technique and develop themselves spiritually as well.