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Old 09-14-2004, 06:41 AM   #1
Totally
Join Date: Apr 2004
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Iaito and bokkens @ Airport customs

I have got two bokkens and an iaito that I want to travel with me, my flight is from Hong Kong to Canada, Toronto this weekend. I wonder the customs in Toronto will seize my iaito since it looks like a weapon.

I am planning to say that they are "Japanese martial arts equipments," or "fencing sports equipments." Is this the proper way to explain what they are? Also, do I need to declare them on any paper/form beforehand?

Anyone knows or had experienced in this before?

Thanks in advance!!!

Last edited by Totally : 09-14-2004 at 06:44 AM.
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Old 09-14-2004, 06:45 AM   #2
Nick Simpson
Dojo: White Rose Aikido - Durham University
Location: Gateshead
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Re: Iaito and bokkens @ Airport customs

Yeah, had bokken in a box took off me at airport check in after a airport police man told me it was ok to carry them onto the flight. Go Figure. At security/hand in luggage time you will have to open up the container most likely and they will be sealed in the luggae hold of the plane so you cant get at em during the flight (sensible) and then you should be able to pick them up on the otherside when you arrive. Be wary though, they lost my weapons and I had to make a VERY big fuss, it took them about 2 weeks till they found them, but if I hadnt made a fuss they would have just said they were totally lost and left it at that.

They're all screaming about the rock n roll, but I would say that it's getting old. - REFUSED.
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Old 09-14-2004, 06:48 AM   #3
Chuck.Gordon
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Re: Iaito and bokkens @ Airport customs

When I've flown with swords and sticks, I've used a hardshell rifle case and checked them as luggage ... always worked fine for me.

Chuck

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Old 09-14-2004, 07:10 AM   #4
Totally
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Re: Iaito and bokkens @ Airport customs

Thanks for the quick replies.

I am planning to wrap them up and check them in as luggages. However, at the other end (arrival), the customs/screening process, those officiers will probably ask what they are.

By saying "Japanese martial arts equipments," or "fencing sports equipments" is good enough? I really don't want them seize away my iaito and bokkens as they costed me a fortune.
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Old 09-14-2004, 08:09 AM   #5
Lyle Laizure
 
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Re: Iaito and bokkens @ Airport customs

I have been using a hardshell rifle case as well but have not done any traveling with my swords for a few years. My Sensei however uses a hardshell golf bag. He gives them to the porter and is never questioned about them, everyone just assumes they are golf clubs. Be prepared though to explain what they are in the event they question you but in general you shouldn't have to tell a lot of people.

Lyle Laizure
www.hinodedojo.com
Deru kugi wa uta reru
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Old 09-14-2004, 09:38 AM   #6
John Boswell
 
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Re: Iaito and bokkens @ Airport customs

I've heard someone suggest calling your weapons "Practice Sticks." That seems to be a fair assesment to me and should work. The hard case golf bag is a good idea as you can COUNT on a gun case being checked.

One thought that I had was to contact the sensei of the dojo you plan to visit and ask to FedEx your weapons to him and if that's okay... send it over night. That way, it could be tracked, insured and delivered with very little lip service about the contents. At least... that's my idea. Never had the opportunity to try it, but it feels sound.

Good luck!

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Old 09-14-2004, 06:33 PM   #7
Aardvark
Dojo: Hill End
Location: Brisbane
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Re: Iaito and bokkens @ Airport customs

I havent experienced any difficulty in most airports / airlines with my weapons. Security will generally want to take a look, but so long as they are checked baggage, it shouldn't be an issue. The biggest problems I encountered was leaving Tokyo - my weapons bags were inspected a couple of times, but I have found "aikido" to be a magic word in asia & especially Japan - it will open doors like nothing else.

Simply declare them as sporting practice equipment & she should be apples mate

Depending on Canadian quarantine laws, you might have trouble importing wood products from overseas. I expected grief when I came into Australia, but they were pretty relaxed about it - I guess because bokken have obviously been processed / worked???

Cheers & good luck,

Aaron
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Old 09-14-2004, 06:39 PM   #8
senseimike
 
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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
Godan
Chief Instructor, Rising Star Aikido
South Bend, Nebraska, USA
www.risingstaraikido.com
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Old 09-14-2004, 06:53 PM   #9
kironin
 
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Re: Iaito and bokkens @ Airport customs

Quote:
Chuck Gordon wrote:
When I've flown with swords and sticks, I've used a hardshell rifle case and checked them as luggage ... always worked fine for me.
Chuck

me too.


went to Japan and back last November.

Walmart aluminum gun case with iaito, bokuto, and shoto.

U.S. didn't care as long as there were know guns going out. Ran through X-rayed, sniffing machine whatever it was going out. Opened looked at it and closed it.

Japan opened it up looked at it going in. Tested the iaito with a magnet to see if it had any iron (big no-no). Going out examined again.

Don't know what they did coming into the US. Just picked it up at luggage after getting through customs.

Allow time for examination and keep calling it "sports equipment".

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Old 09-14-2004, 07:02 PM   #10
kironin
 
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Re: Iaito and bokkens @ Airport customs

Quote:
Ben Hasen wrote:
Thanks for the quick replies.
By saying "Japanese martial arts equipments," or "fencing sports equipments" is good enough? I really don't want them seize away my iaito and bokkens as they costed me a fortune.

I think you are trying to be more accurate than you need to be.

sports equipment or training equipment is really good enough.

It's not a weapon, it's practice equipment.

It's not sharp afterall.

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