What is the difference between iaidō and iaijutsu?
The art of iaijutsu is commonly known around the world as iaidō. The art of drawing the sword is known by many names, iaijutsu, battojutsu, bakken, and nukiai. The question often asked is are iaido and iaijutsu the same? Iaidō and Iaijutsu refer to the art of drawing the sword in attack or defense. The first difference to note is the semantic differences between dō and jutsu. Dō or michi 道 has the connotation of character refinement and spiritual training. In arts that use dō as their suffix, the main ideas are character refinement and aesthetics and generally not combative aspects. Jutsu 術 means art or technique. The styles usually using jutsu as their suffix are more some times more concerned with combat effectiveness as their goal.
The difference between dō and jutsu can be seen as semantics. People sometimes argue that Japanese themselves do not make a distinction over something like Judo or Iaido having decent martial applications. The changes in names from Jujutsu to Judo, however, do have some ramifications in the way the art was developed beyond its original intent as a dependable battlefield or warrior skill.
The dō systems are sometimes erroneously looked at as inferior to the jutsu forms. Kendō while limited in its teachings for sword combat does have its own place in the spectrum of sword arts from Japan. It is not helpful to dismiss such a school as not worthy of swordsmanship training. Do not let the dō suffix always fool you into thinking the techniques are subpar. As well jutsu schools can also contain strong points of spiritual refinement and character development. So this idea between the difference of dō and jutsu can be a little complicated as you can see.
If you are thinking, well this is a slippery slope to climb, it is indeed. You have to keep an open mind and not judge a book by its suffix. Japanese do use these words interchangeably as well. It can be said its just semantics but its foolish to think that is the only case.
Shinkan-ryū Kenpō's iaijutsu is concerned less with looking perfect and is more intent on being true to its original nature of sword fighting methods. In Shinkan-ryū Kenpō there are many forms and levels of interesting iaijutsu techniques.