This is a revisit to the article regarding Dojo Safety. In the previous article, 3 main aspects were covered viz. Distance, Posture and Application of force.
This entry will further discuss the topic of "Distance".
Due consideration must always be given in considering the amount of space and distance available when practicing. The implications of not doing so is very much clear.
How does one establish or gauge the safety distance and space available when practicing Seiza or Battouho? In other words, "What is a good gauge to establish the minimum safety distance so that my iaito will not contact others in Seiza or Battouho wazas?"
From a safety perspective, the desired engagement distance is translated to the minimum safety distance. The safety distance guidance between iaidoka-to-iadoka, before starting any Seiza and Battouho is as follows:
1) Front-of-self: Iaito length inclusive of arm's length.
2) Back-of-self: Iaito length, max. conservative-ness.
(Left); Minimum one arm's length, to allow clearance from nuki to cut completion (regardless one-handed horizontal cut or diagonal cut).
(Right); Iaito length inclusive of arm's length.
The above safety distance holds as far as the iaito used is of suitable length (not too long) - do seek senior members' guidance on correct iaito length for use when in doubt.
In addition, one must be constantly aware of one's own surroundings throughout the waza. This is also to account for differing waza speeds and footwork of different Iaidokas.
Regarding wazas that includes stepping away from initial center-line (e.g. Shihotou), iaidokas are recommended to be off-set (e.g. even-numbered one step forwards) from each other at respective starting positions for added safety measure.
Of course, when in doubt, common sense applies. Do exercise other mitigation such as slowing down the wazas, letting others have the right-of-way to complete their wazas or doing your wazas in separate groups.
Disclaimer: The above safety distance clearance is based upon Author's own experience and observations; it might differ depending on different iaito lengths and different schools.