The skilled and experienced instructors at New York Budokai instruct their pupils in iaido—the art of drawing the sword—which evolved from the warrior class known as the samurai. The dojo was founded in 1963 by sensei Yoshiteru Otani, a highly skilled iaido practitioner from samurai lineage. One of his early students was Phil Ortiz, who is now the head instructor at New York Budokai and holds a seventh degree black belt in muso shinden ryu and a sixth degree black belt in ryushin shouchi-ryu. The curriculum focuses on Ryushin Shouchi-ryu, one of the seven distinct schools of iaido. The basic principles of the classes, which are the ryushin shouchi-ryu discipline, rest on a combination of controlled, precise movements that involve drawing, striking, and replacing the sword.