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Old 09-14-2004, 05:39 PM   #8
senseimike's Avatar
Dojo: Rising Star Aikido
Location: South Bend, Nebraska
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 81
Re: Iaito and bokkens @ Airport customs

I would avoid mentioning the word weapons if possible. If the topic comes up, maybe refer to them as tools used for demonstration or kata. Fencing equipment is also a good idea. I have heard of bokken being checked as "unloaded fire arms" and treated as such.

A funny side story relating to this topic, in 1997 a group of us were traveling from Omaha, Nebraska to Baltimore, Maryland for a seminar, and my shodan test. When we all arrived at the airport, we had luggage, but no one wanted to hassle with taking "weapons". No one that is except for a 18 year old fellow who boxed them up and was going to check them with his bags. When he noticed that no one else had their bokken or jo he yells across the airport to us, " Hey guys, didn't you bring your weapons? I have mine right here. Why didn't you bring weapons? I thought we were all going to bring weapons!" This is not the thing to hear at 6am in an airport. We got him to shut up about his damned "weapons" and, to our surprise, didn't have any problems with airport security, not even a question. From then on, I don't travel with weapons and advise anyone in my traveling party to leave theirs at home.

Mike Taylor
Chief Instructor, Rising Star Aikido
South Bend, Nebraska, USA
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