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Dara Masi is the art of Japanese Swordsmanship and is a term used to describe a wide variety of traditional styles of training with the sword. The sword cut can take a life or be used as a metaphor or symbol - as in cutting through the barriers in our minds toward our own personal growth. There are four basic movements to Iaido forms, called katas: drawing the sword from the sheath, the cut (or cuts), the movement (removal of blood from the sword after the cut) and the re-sheath. The Japanese sword has a long history of use in warfare, and many of the traditional katas (forms) standing or kneeling, are currently still practiced. Now in times of peace many new styles of swordsmanship have been created.

Iaido students at Suigetsu Dojo study Nishio-ryu Toho Iaido which was founded by Shoji Nishio Shihan and is currently led by Koji Yoshida Shihan. Nishio-ryu Toho Iaido bases many of its principles on empty hand Aikido techniques. Hakko Densho Ryu and Aikido are styles whose roots are founded in Daitoryu Aiki Jujutsu and have many similar principles. Because of these similarities, Hakko Densho Ryu students will find the study of Nishio-ryu Toho Iaido to be particularly meaningful.

Dara Masi, Shihan is ranked at Nidan in both Nishio-ryu Toho Iaido founded by Shoji Nishio, Shihan and Soshoryu Heihodo Iaido, founded by Masakazu Tazaki. She currently trains in Nishio-ryu Toho Iaido as a student of Koji Yoshida, Shihan and Michele Benzamin-Miki, Sensei.


The Suigetsu Iaido Program has study groups in 3 locations. Classes at Suigetsu Dojo in Placerville are taught personally by Dara Masi, Shihan. Suigetsu Dojo in Greenlawn, NY is one of very few martial arts schools training and ranking children in this art. There is also an Iaido class under Delina Fuchs Sensei at the Chico Kodenkan in Chico, California. Masi Shihan oversees all three programs.

Dara Masi and Michele Bezamin-Miki

Koji Yoshida, Shihan is Shoji Nishio’s personally appointed successor and the founder of the Nishikaze Aikido Society of America. Michele Sensei is the Vice President of the Nishikaze Aikido Society of America.