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Who is Isao Machii? - Modern Day Samurai

isao machii posing with his sword

Isao Machii posing with his sword

A Biography of Isao Machii

Born on August 20th, 1973, Isao Machii is a Japanese Iaido master from Kawanishi, Japan. He started learning the way of the sword at age five and now holds six Guinness World Records for his katana skills. If you want to learn more about this modern-day samurai, read on for a story of his life from Swords of Northshire.

Isao performing his 7th suegiri cut

Isao performing his 7th suegiri cut

Becoming Famous

Isao Machii first became world-renowned when he obtained a record for the most sword cuts to a tatami mat. This practice is called Suegiri, and it requires a perfectly even, extremely fast cut so as not to knock the tatami mat over. In 2004, Isao cut a standalone mat seven times before it fell to the ground. This almost superhuman act took an extraordinary amount of skill, which he surpassed 11 years later when he cut a standalone mat eight times without it falling over. Isao’s first record would only be the beginning of his legacy.

Continuing a Legacy

In 2007, Isao Machii obtained his second Guinness World Record when he achieved the fastest 1,000 sword cuts. Isao managed to perform 1,000 rolled straw mat cuts in 0:36:04. He made one cut every two seconds for over 30 minutes straight! This takes more than just a sharp sword, it also requires intense focus, speed, and precision. Four years later, he surprised the world again when he made 252 cuts to straw mats in three minutes and secured his third world record. He more than doubled his speed and executed every cut correctly to cut cleanly through a mat with a resistance equal to a human limb. Each mat was cut anywhere from five to ten times by Isao.

Isao cutting a BB pellet in half with his katana

Isao cutting a BB pellet in half with his katana

Surpassing the Best Swordsmen

While all these records were incredibly impressive, they weren’t impossible for other well-trained swordsmen to achieve. Still, in 2013, Isao Machii surpassed a modern-day samurai’s basic training and became a legend. Staring down the barrel of an airsoft rifle, Isao stood steadfast as the trigger was pulled. A BB pellet fired at him at 158 km/h flies towards him, and only then did he unsheath his sword and cut it in one fluid motion, splitting the pellet in two! Most people wouldn’t even have time to flinch before the bullet hit them — let alone try to cut it with a katana!
Isao’s most recent record came in November 2016 when he performed the most sword cuts to straw mats in one minute. He achieved an astounding 87 cuts — his fastest record yet! This marked his sixth record and demonstrated his extreme skill in precision and focus.

Developing A Unique Fighting Style

After achieving so many world records, Isao Machii started working on creating his own martial arts style. He developed the Shushin-Ryu Iaijutsu style, which stems from iaido, a traditional Japanese sword-drawing martial art. The techniques in Shushin-Ryu arise from situations where two swordsmen are facing each other but are not yet in combat. Isao now runs a dojo and practices the art of the sword daily while passing on the ancient tradition to his students. He aims to test the limits of what a modern-day samurai is capable of doing. Isao has said, “I see Guinness world records as a way of securing my legacy. They verify attempts with strict rules, very fairly, independently, and officially. It is a great way for me to have my name go down in history around the world.”

 isao machii cutting through a wooden poles

Isao Machii cutting through a wooden pole

Modern Samurais at Swords of Northshire

Many people are inspired by the biography of Isao Machii and his legacy. They strive to follow in his footsteps. They turn towards artisans, like those at Swords of Northshire, for high-quality, battle-ready swords they can use for practice in the dojo. If sword fighting is a passion you wish to pursue, explore our selection of samurai swords to find the perfect piece for your training.