View Full Version : Traveling with Iaito

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Mark Mueller
04-28-2004, 08:07 AM
Gotta take a plane trip back to DC and I am bringing along my weapons bag including an Iaito. It will be checked luggage.....Has anyone run into any problems with the TSA and airport officials transporting their stuff?

04-28-2004, 08:30 AM
Hi Mark,

One thing that I've been told and have done in my travels is to never call what I have in my bags "weapons." In the case of bokuto and jo, I usually call them "wooden sticks for martial arts." When I traveled with an iaito, I called it something like, "a dull Japanese sword." Either case, I've checked them in and haven't had any problems with having done so (eg no damage). Along with a Bujin Design weapons case for my wooden weapons, I have a $15 plastic case built for a rifle (I believe) that I picked up at the local sporting goods store for transporting iaito...

Hope that helps,

-- Jun

Mark Mueller
04-28-2004, 09:06 AM

Thanks! The hard case is agood idea! I have a couple of old ones lying around that I could use.


Jordan Steele
04-28-2004, 10:16 AM
It's always fencing equipment. Always! They never look at you twice.

04-28-2004, 10:21 AM
Hey Mark,

Dave (the kendo/iaido instructor in Battle Creek) told me that when he travels he tells them it's equipment for Japanese fencing. He says most people have an idea of fencing (but not kendo) they say "oh that thing where they poke at each other?". He says "yeah :rolleyes: " and they usually send him on his way.

Another thought, is it possible to ship it? If you've got someone on the other end who could recieve it you could pack it up nice and secure in a hard case and UPS next day or 2nd day air. It might cost you more but their track record of not losing things is a bit better I'd say :D



Joezer M.
04-28-2004, 11:46 PM
my sensei was once faced with a very angry custom official who insisted that there's a live blade inside his boken... I guess he mistook it for a shirasaya... Happened to a friend while riding in town too...


Josh Bisker
04-29-2004, 07:56 AM
There's a story I heard of Chida Sensei (hmmm .. maybe Chiba Sensei ... uh-oh) carrying his katana on board a plane with him. When one security guard tried to grab the sword away from him, the situation got very confrontational. Some of his students arrived at the terminal to meet him, only to find him surrounded by a circle of terrified security guards, calm and deadly looking. They somehow diffused the situation with a bit of translation help and soothing language for the guards.

Does anyone find that their wooden weapons get damaged in cargo? That hard case sounds like a good idea, Jun. Do people always do something like that, or does a normal weapons-bag usually keep things nice and safe?

04-29-2004, 09:42 AM
Hi Josh,

I've always just checked in my weapons bag with my wooden weapons inside numerous times and have never had any damage done to them. However, I have heard from others that they've gotten their weapons damaged in the same way. The only times I have used the hard case is to transport iaito...

-- Jun

Rich Babin
04-29-2004, 11:12 AM
I have used both plastic fishing rod cases and gun cases for travel with the shinken I do iaido with. The TSA will inspect, and then lock your case without your help, so have a fool proof locking system. The cleverest solution is one I have heard about, but not yet tried. A plastic golf bag case. And you have room for your gi and underwear in it too.!!