The image of sword-swinging in Glasgow’s East End may not sound the perfect mix – but one martial art club aims to disprove just that.

Twice a week you’ll find Robert Boyd teaching Iaido – a traditional form of Japanese swordsmanship – in Wellhouse and Cranhill.

Cutting straight to the chase, he says: “We’re not nutters with knifes… think more mindfulness with swords.”

Robert is first to admit this unique discipline is difficult to convey. Traditionally, the martial art involves the drawing of a Japanese sword from its scabbard to obtain an advantage over an opponent.

But at Kensaki Iaido Dojo Glasgow, you’ll find a place far removed from the violent portrayal of the discipline linked to Hollywood movies such as The Last Samurai or the Star Wars franchise.

Read more: Thousands take to streets for Glasgow's annual Race for Life

Robert says: “Iaido is a very different style of martial arts as it’s completely non-contact with the use of Japanese swords. It’s a very sheltered discipline and being from the East End, people might think we need to shelter this because it is taboo to talk about weapons and swords.

“I feel the complete opposite and believe it’s something we should be putting out there. We try to transfer what we learn in the classes into everyday life, whether it be young people growing up looking for a bit of discipline, or improved fitness.

“We’ve older people coming along after a hard day’s work where they can concentrate solely on something and forget about the world for a couple of hours.”

Robert’s journey is an interesting one having first come across Iaido when looking for antiques on Gumtree seven years ago. At the time he was struggling physically with kidney problems and relying on dialysis to keep him healthy.

He says: “I honestly joined because I thought swinging swords just sounds cool, I’ll give that a shot. It turned into something completely different and has became a way of life for me as I now run the classes.”

As the fourth teacher or ‘sensei’ at Kensaki Dojo, the oldest Iaido club in Scotland, Robert adds: “I see the difference in the way people conduct themselves having been at the club for a while and transferring that over into their daily lives.

“It’s very different from your usual martial art where it’s punch-kick, punch-kick. It’s very much a personal journey and discovery for yourself.”

Among the 14 members currently at the club are husband and wife, Mark and Sharon Rankin, who both recently received their first dan ranking - or ‘shodun’ - by the British Kendo Association.

Dispelling a common assumption that macho aggression plays a role in martial arts, Sharon says: “I’m here at the club every week so I’m the most regular female member.

Read more of today's top Glasgow stories 

“It isn’t all about strength, as a lot of the time it’s brains over brawn. Women shouldn’t be put off taking part in Iaido. I’ve also done Judo and Ju-jitsu and just got stuck in with the boys.”

A sign of Kensaki Dojo’s discipline and hard work was on show at the British Kendo Association’s National Championship in Loughborough in April, where four of its members returned to Glasgow with medals, including two golds.

One top medalist was Zim Ruiz from the Philippines who joined the club having moved to Glasgow three years ago. Zim started at Kensaki Dojo for the social interaction as a way to balance his music performance studies at Glasgow Kelvin College.

Now a recognised national champion, modest Zim says: “I think I just got lucky, although I’d been practicing hard with my Iaido and trying everyday to go a bit further with it. I go into my backyard in the morning to practice. I want to commit to it because one day I want to pass on what I’ve learned and to inspire others.”

Zim adds: “A lot of people think martial arts is about being aggressive with someone else but it’s not really like that. It’s more about yourself. It gives you the power to overcome any obstacle with just your mind.

“For example if you have fear you can overcome it with your disciplined mind and remain calm no matter what the situation is. That’s just one benefit.”

Read about what's happening in Glasgow this weekend

In competition, Iaido is very different in that competitors don’t face off against each other in any form of combat, as Robert explains: “You’re not up against an opponent as such, there is someone next to you.

"The judges present are looking for style and technique and you are matched only against someone of the same grading. So you would never be up against someone whos been training for 30 years if you’ve only been doing it for three years. Essentially are actually competing against yourself.”

Fellow club member, Colin Flood, who lives with a form of multiple sclerosis, joined Kensaki Dojo this year and has seen positive improvements to his health.

Colin says: “My physiotherapist and I agreed going to the gym wasn’t helping me... but coming to do Iaido has. I’ve got problems with my lower back and legs and the postures I do in Iaido really help with that.

“It’s helped my stability and overall balance. Martial arts in general as been a great help. I would say the best thing to do is give it a go.”

With proof Kensaki Iaido Dojo is improving both mental and physical health, Robert is keen to invite more young people to try the discipline at the club.

He says: “We’ve had a few success stories of people who’ve came in and said ‘I’m not doing great’ or ‘I’ve got a few anger issues and I’m looking for something to get myself in a good mindset.’

“We’ve got guys who’ve wanted to change something to settle themselves into life, and they’ve shown Iaido has helped them on that journey.”

To find out more about Kensaki Iaido Dojo Glasgow, click here.