This Protocol provides guidance to Instructors and Students on the correct use, transportation and storage of weapons used in Aikido.
1. Types of Weapons Used in Aikido Training
(i) Wooden Weapons, including bokken, wakizashi, tanto, shinai, fukushinai and jo.
In the case of the bokken, wakizashi and tanto these either have a blunt end of a rounded point and the use of either is covered by the JAC Insurance policy.
(ii) Metal (Non-Live) Blades
These include blunt metal weapons with a sharp point such as replica “samurai swords & knives” Tachi, Katana, Wakizashi, Tanto and under the 2008 Amendment to the Criminal Justice Act 1988 (Offensive Weapons) could include weapons made from wood, alloy, carbon fibre or even plastic. The use of such weapons is covered by the JAC Insurance policy, subject to strict adherence with this Weapons Protocol.
(iii) Metal (Live) Blades
These include sharp metal weapons such as replica “samurai swords & knives” Tachi, Katana, Wakizashi, Tanto and under the 2008 Amendment to the Criminal Justice Act 1988 (Offensive Weapons) could include weapons made from wood, alloy, carbon fibre or even plastic. The use of such weapons is covered by the JAC Insurance policy, subject to strict adherence with this Weapons Protocol.
2. Basic Protocols
The following basic protocols and risk assessment requirements should be applied to the use of ALL types of weapons.
- Transportation & Storage
- The law regarding the carrying of weapons in a public place is contained in Section 1 of the Prevention of Crime Act 1953 & Section 139 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988.
- Aikidoka carrying weapons who are stopped by the Police, should give every assistance to the officer(s) including an explanation of why such weapons are being carried. No attempt to conceal the fact that weapons are being carried should be made.
- Aikidoka should carry their Association’s Membership book to show they are participating in an approved martial art.
- Weapons should only be carried when it is known that they are required at a particular training session. Coaches should therefore inform their students as to when weapons are actually required.
- Weapons should only be carried directly to and from a practice.
- Weapons should not be left in a vehicle on a permanent basis.
- Aikidoka should ensure that their weapons are carried within a secure bag at all times and hence not directly visible, and should ensure that the bag is never left unattended.
- “Live blades” must always be transported in their scabbards and in a weapons bag.
- Travelling on public transport with weapons should be avoided if possible.
- All live blades should be stored in a locked secure cupboard if left permanently in the dojo and Instructors should be able to have access to them.
- If not kept at the dojo, live blades should be kept at qualified Aikidoka’s homes.
(ii) Risk Assessment
- Before starting a training session the instructor should carry out a risk assessment including considering the following factors:
- The Dojo floor should be clean and present no tripping hazards.(check for holes, gaps etc and potential slippage from sweat)
- The height of the ceiling should be sufficient to avoid contact with weapons
- Avoid dangerous obstructions, pillars, heaters etc.
- The Dojo should be large enough for the number of students and the activity.
- The minimum space recommendation for pairs training with weapons is 5 square metres per practitioner.
- Ensure students know how to check their own equipment and its safe use.
- Weapons and any related equipment should be checked, by the user, prior to the classes for any defects.
- Particular attention should be paid to the security of the handle with “live blades”.
- The student’s gi and hakama should be worn correctly to avoid the risk of tripping over or weapons becoming entangled in clothing.
- Special consideration should be given to other “users” sharing an area, particularly in large sports halls, where access routes are shared with other activities.
(iii)Training with “Live Blades”
- Practice should be for special classes under the strict and direct supervision of a qualified JAC Coach only.
- Have the correct qualifications to practice.
- Have a minimum of 12 months of practice with wooden bokken, wakizashi, tanto, shinai or fukushinai.
- The Coach should ensure the students always practise what is being taught and not permit any deviation during the training session.
- There should be absolute quiet on the mat by all watching students with an atmosphere of study and concentration.
- Written guidance is to be provided to Instructors, by the relative JAC Member organisation.
- Dry sweaty wrists and palms with a towel before practice.
- Unused blades should be placed in its scabbard, and securely located.
- Non-participating spectators are not be permitted, except in organised public demonstration.