When Carlos Frick was young, one of his uncles introduced him to karate. It’s a passion he’s followed into adulthood. He regularly practices Aikido at a Kenosha dojo. Eventually his interest in the martial arts led him to Iaido, a form of Japanese swordsmanship.
“I was fascinated with the sword and how the sword was used in Iaido. The forms look elegant and beautiful, but also very intense in a way,” Frick said, “I was fascinated with that.”
Iaido is performed solo. Each kata, or series of moves, is done against an imaginary enemy. Most involve pulling the sword from the scabbard and making a single, quick strike with the blade.
“You are conscious of everything that is happening around you. You sense danger. You respond to the danger,” Frick said, “You try to do one cut, one kill. That is the whole point of Iaido.”
For safety, Iaido is performed with a dull sword, something Frick didn’t know at first.
“I have a sharp sword and I started using it when I started Iaido, and fortunately I still have my fingers,” Frick quipped.
Still, a kata is performed carefully. Even though the movements are quick, they aren’t easy to master.
“No single movement is as simple as it looks. Every time you move, you try to move better than the time before,” Frick said, “For perfectionists, this could be a dream and a nightmare both at the same time, because you will never be perfect at it, but that’s the point.”
Frick says the point isn’t just learning how to skillfully wield a sword. It’s about sharpening focus and concentration.
“I call it meditation in motion. It’s about stopping everything that is happening and being able to concentrate,” Frick said.
In a busy, stressful world, Frick says practicing Iaido helps him slice through distractions and focus on whatever task is in front of him.
“It’s something that you can always translate to life,” Frick said, “How much of you are you putting in what you’re doing at every single moment?”