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Thread: Iaito on a Plane

  1. #1
    stevemcgee99 Guest

    Default Iaito on a Plane

    I'm flying to Mexico, and I'd like to take my iaito.

    Does Zinc-berylium(sp) show up in the metal detector? Can i package it so there won't be any issue? Will I need to check it? (It seems too valuable to allow baggage staff to load 1,500 lbs. of luggage on top of it.)

    Anybody ever actually try to travel with one since 9/11? Anybody ever actually had success?

    Steve McGee

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    Default

    Yes you are definitely going to need to check it. If they're preventing people from getting on board airplanes with fingernail clippers, the Iaito is not gonna make it on.

    Your best bet is a hardened gun case. The kind with the tough plastic exterior. This isn't the cheapest option however. There are some hard plastic fishing rod carriers that would also work as long as you filled them with padding to take up the extra space.

    You can also use a length of 4 inch pvc pipe. Just make sure you load the bottom with padding and wrap some padding around the Iaito so it doesn't bang around inside the tube. Seal one end with a 4 inch flat cap. There are screw caps available at most hardware stores that would screw on to the other end. This makes for a pretty tough carrying case, but unless you put some kind of carrying strap on it, it's a bit akward.

    They shouldn't give you too much grief as long as you check it in with the rest of the baggage. I'm sure you'll get other advice here as well.
    Charles Mahan

    Iaido - Breaking down bad habits,
    and building new ones.

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    Default

    Steve

    I second Charles' advice about using a gun case or hard PVC tube to carry your Iaito in. I have flown several times with live swords in a gun case since 9/11 and have had no problems at all. The only questions anyone at the airport has asked is if I was carrying loaded guns in the case and if I could open it so they could see them.

    I wrote James William's at Bugei when I had your same concerns about flying with live blades and he gave me the same advice that Charles and I have given you. He should know, he fly's all over the country (and the world) with several live blades in tow all the time.

    Be as forthcoming as possible with airport security and you shouldn't have any problems.

    Good Luck
    Jimmy Crow
    --------------------------------
    Time is the most precious asset of those who seek perfection in the arts.

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    Default

    Steve,

    another option, recommended by a UK seveth dan who regularly flies to Japan,was to dissassemble your sword, and pack in with your ordinary lugage. Even when it shows up at airport security scan desks, the sword is 'safely' packed away, out of anyones reach.

    best regards
    Patrick Breheny

    A closed mouth gathers no foot

    When your enemy is commited to making a mistake... we must not interupt him too soon (Horatio N)

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    Default Flying with Iaito

    Steve,

    Charles Mahan and Jimmy Crow have given you the most reasonable answers; I too have flown since Sept. 11 using both a gun case and a fishing rod tube to carry my Iaito (and Bokuto) on different occasions without any problems. I have been using both types of carriers for the past six and a half years.

    The fishing rod tube attracts less attention. If it is gray, biege or other drab color, consider applying bright or reflecting tape to the tube so it won't get overlooked in the unloading process.

    If you opt for a gun case, try to find one that is sturdy, but plain. Since it is a gun case, it will attract attention. Also inspect the hinges as there are some that are very easily opened by simply removing the hinge pins.

    Answer any question honestly, but don't volunteer any additional information. Don't use the term weapon. I typically refer to my Iaito intially as custom sports equipment when asked what's in the case or tube; if pressed, then I refer to it as a replica Japanese sword which cannot be sharpened.

    Since you are going out of the country, there is the question of filling out the declaration form. I don't know how things are in Mexico, but when I fly to Canada, there is a question on the declaration form about carrying weapons. I have gotten conflicting information about Iaito from the Canadian customs officials over the years as I typically fly there two or three times a year. Technically an Iaito is not a weapon because the metal alloy cannot be sharpened to hold an edge. FWIW, the last time I was in Canada in May the offical there said that it would be better to declare the Iaito as a weapon, and have it inspected and released. YMMV.

    The only problem with Patrick Breheny's suggestion to disassemble the Iaito is that in some cases this will void the warrenty on the Iaito.

    HTH,
    Raymond Sosnowski

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    Arrow Selective Quoting

    I wrote:
    Technically an Iaito is not a weapon because the metal alloy cannot be sharpened to hold an edge. FWIW, the last time I was in Canada in May the offical there said that it would be better to declare the Iaito as a weapon, and have it inspected and released. YMMV.
    Bobar57 neglected to include the relevant first sentence above in quoting me when he responded:

    Well,as convenient as is to us that an iaito is not considered a weapon,in reality it is one.I bet anything that you can inflict a nasty cut to anyone with a semi-sharp quality iaito,not to mention that a thrust and the guy is impaled.
    First, read the first sentence of my quote again. An Iaito is technically not a weapon, and in some sense, it is also legally not a weapon. To be considered a weapon, it has to be able to hold an edge.

    Can I misuse an Iaito? Of course I can. Any Iaito will inflict a puncture wound when thrust properly as Bobar57 pointed out; I know a few people who have received a rather nasty surprise to the left hand while doing an improper Noto (missing the Koiguchi with the Kissaki, and not aligning the blade and the Saya) with an Iaito. However, I can achieve the same effect by misusing a mechanical pencil, of which I generally travel with several.

    Secondly, as far as those so-called "semi-sharp Iaito" are concerned, which I did not bring up, they are weapons by definition because they can hold a edge, and should be treated just like "steel Iaito," Shinken, and Katana when traveling (not to mention practicing ). Let's face it, "semi-sharp Iaito," and "steel [implying razor-sharp] Iaito" are misnomers; however, now that I think about it, those terms are actually oxymorons because generic Iaito are made not to hold an edge, and not to be sharp.

    I hope that this better clarifies my thoughts in writing.

    Regards,
    Raymond Sosnowski
    Kaicho: Northeast Naginata Dokokai, Ashton, MD;
    Assist. Instructor: Miyako Kyudojo, Silver Spring, MD;
    member (instructor level): Seidokai Kendo/Iaido Dojo, University of Guelph, Ontario;
    former member (instructor level): Doshikai Kendo/Iaido Dojo, Acton, MA;
    member (assist. instructor level): Beikoku Rembukan Dojo, Severna Park, MD.

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    Default Kapoww!!!

    Wow, not sure I can follow up that last message with the same number of titles but I can offer my experience of employment at the world's busiest international airport to help.

    The advice to package it up in a sturdy container is perfectly valid but I would make sure that you ask the check-in staff to check it in as FRAGILE, OUT-OF-GUAGE (or OUTSIZE) BAGGAGE. What should then happen is an airline worker will come and collect it or you will be asked to take it to a separate xray machine. Ask the check-in counter staff for plenty of "Fragile" stickers and plaster it with them.

    If it is collected then there is a good chance that it will go on top of the other baggage in the containers and not buried with Samsonite 1-tonne suitcases.

    I guess it would depend on the airline but I have sometimes found that if you declare it as a sword then it will be manually carried by the baggage duty staff (at both origin and destination airports) and you might have to sign for it at your destination.

    Best thing to do is to phone the airline and ask what the procedure is then you can decide whether to pack it with kevlar or not.
    Andy Watson

    Minoru hodo
    Kobe o tareru
    Inaho ka na

    http://www.simenergy.co.uk

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    Default Sticky things

    I can assure you all, all airlines and I would expect most airport companies treat iaito as weapons regardless of legal definitions. As such they are treated as weapons and must be checked in. They are treated exactly the same as shinken or any other kind of sword.

    I believe the original question was regarding iaito on aircraft and not whether or not an iaito is defined as a weapon or not.

    Now stop fighting you two or I'll bang your heads together!
    Andy Watson

    Minoru hodo
    Kobe o tareru
    Inaho ka na

    http://www.simenergy.co.uk

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    Default Slap

    Raymond, any more from you, you naughty boy? Or do you want your legs slapped?
    Andy Watson

    Minoru hodo
    Kobe o tareru
    Inaho ka na

    http://www.simenergy.co.uk

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    Talking Parry and thrust

    The weapons question is in the context of how to fill out the declaration form when arriving into a foreign country from the US if there is such a question on the form.

    Length constraints on containers require that they be checked in no matter what their contents (weapon or non-weapon). I am not arguing that anyone try to get them on board as carry on.

    Andy Watson wrote
    Raymond, any more from you, you naughty boy? Or do you want your legs slapped?
    Answer to question one: "Hell, yes!" [See above.]

    Answer to question two: "If you want to give it a go, come to the 3rd World Naginata Championship and Friendship Tournament in San Jose, CA, at the end of June 2003; I plan to be there."

    BTW Andy, thanks for the insider's tips on baggage.

    Bobar57, I think that we are now on the same page.

    However, with respect to
    Now stop fighting you two or I'll bang your heads together!
    and
    Ok,I'm wearing a helmet
    I should warn you that, on the off chance that Andy does manage catch us, I don't need no stinkin' helmet. My wife (and my ex-wife) will be happy to attest to the resemblance of my head to granite.

    Cheers,
    Ray Sosnowski

  11. #11
    stevemcgee99 Guest

    Default Yikes!

    I wonder if you guys could pass security at the airport!

    Well, I brought it up to sensei, he gave me his pvc doo-hickey (with a carry strap attached) so I'm set. Now I just need to keep Mecican Customs from extracting too big a bribe.

    Raymond, What is the date of the Naginata event in San Jose? I live over the hill, and I'd love to go. I met Meilin-sensei in SC last summer at the J Cultural Fair. My sensei used to study with her in SJSU.

    Steve McGee

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    Thumbs up Hi Steve

    stevemcgee99 wrote
    Raymond, What is the date of the Naginata event in San Jose? I live over the hill, and I'd love to go. I met Meilin-sensei in SC last summer at the J Cultural Fair. My sensei used to study with her in SJSU.
    As the General Secretary of the East Coast Naginata Federation (yet another title ), I recently received the following schedule from the USNF for the events in 2003 at SJSU:

    Thu., 26 June: Free practice
    Fri., 27 June: Free practice
    Sat., 28 June: 3rd World Naginata Championship
    Sun., 29 June: INF Friendship Tournament
    Mon. 30 June, INF Seminar
    Tue., 01 July, INF Seminar
    Wed. 02 July, INF Seminar & Shinsa


    Once we get finalized information (costs, contacts, etc.) next Spring, I will be posting that information on the Seminar Announcements forum. I currently plan to be out there for the entire event; however, my concentration will be the Shinsa on the final day.

    Malyne Hazard (Renshi Naginata, Godan Kendo) is a good friend of mine, my counterpart (Exec. Sec.) in the USNF as well as the President of the N. CA Naginata Fed., and Naginata instructor at SJSU (as you noted). As you know, she is a wonderful person.

    In fact, there was a chapter called Our Family Has Always Done Weapons devoted to her in

    Hoppe, Stephanie T., 1998. Sharp Spear Crystal Mirror: Martial Arts in Women's Lives, Park Street Press, Rochester, VT. 312 pp.

    She was the only woman out of the twenty interviewed doing weapons, in this case, Naginata and Kendo.


    I also plan to visit another famous South Bay personality while I am out there, Capt. Guy H. Power, better known around these parts as ghp.

    Regards,
    Raymond ["too many titles"] Sosnowski

  13. #13
    stevemcgee99 Guest

    Default Great!

    Thanks for all of the info. Thorough, again.
    I apologize about misspelling Malyne's name- I have only heard it. I watched her practiice (instruct) waza on the beach after the fair, I was impressed by what I believe to be immense backround and technical prowess. I have no experience, but that's definately how it looked to me.

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    Default

    take your licence as well, it gives you some authenticity when you put it through the secure baggage area. I use a ski case as you can get bokken in as well, take the tsuba off, and play it straight with the customs people. Tell them why you are carrying it and there is usually no bother. Worst time I had was coming back from Japan, had to have six people check the blade before the 'boss' came down and played hell because it was only an iaito. Last time I didnt even open the case and had a question and answer session with the customs guy, he did kendo as well!!

    Tim Hamilton
    Tim Hamilton

    Why are you reading this instead of being out training? No excuses accepted...

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    Thumbs up

    Good advice out there! I would like to add one thing that has helped me immensely. Place a large piece of duct tape on both sides of your case, and write "martial arts equipment, no firearms" in large letters. I have been thanked a couple of times by airport personnel for those signs. I've known people that have had the locks cut off of their case so that the baggage people could see what the heck was showing up on their x-rays. If you tell them what it is, they will pass it on through. Had to throw my couple of cents in!

    Cheers,
    Paul Smith
    "Always keep the sharp side and the pointy end between you and your opponent"

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