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To BKA or not to BKA

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  • To BKA or not to BKA

    Hi all,

    I've just discovered this great forum and been reading all the back posts for a few days and am quite impressed by the knowledge of the members.

    Anyway I thought I'd put to you a question that I've been thinking about for a while now.

    I'm a student of Iaido but have never joined the BKA. Should I join?

    For me for a whopping 30 a year the BKA don't seem to offer very much. Their treatment of Iaido at best seems to be an afterthought beside Kendo and they seem to do very little to publicise it.

    I'd be very interested in hearing everybody's thoughts on the matter.


  • #2
    whats the bka?


    • #3

      Originally posted by Dr. Hellsing
      whats the bka?
      British Kendo Association.


      • #4
        AFAIK if you practice in a dojo the BKA membership is for insurance cover... Other than that if you are not interested in gradings, seminars or taikai you won't need that. But isn't the insurance part the most important thing???


        • #5

          Do I take it that your teacher is not in the BKA? Normally people join the BKA because their instructor is a member and that they wish to grade and/or take part in Taikai. ( I think it is also in the rules for you to join any BKA dojo after attending more than 6 weeks due to insurance). By the way, which Koryu you study? (not being a member of the BKA I take it you don't practice seitei gata unless you are affliated to the ZNKR in another capacity).


          • #6
            Hi again.

            I'll try to answer your questions.

            I agree, insurance is important, though maybe more so in Kendo than Iaido. But I don't attend a Dojo anymore largely due to a move of house. Now myself and three friends practice together in a small hall we get to use free.
            No teacher, but a couple who chose to grade do have Dans. Myself I've no interest in grading or Taikia. Originally I leart Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu but nowadays not being in a Dojo we just practice whatever takes our fancy from any Koryu. Coming from a fencing background I even (blastheme) use the odd fencing influenced Kata of my own. I know many people like to take Iaido seriously and like to stick rigidly to Koryu and tradition, but I tend to treat it as just a hobby, informal and I try to inject a little fun into it. Maybe not for all but for me.

            Anyway that's enough telling you about my flippant little life, back to wondering, does the BKA have anything to offer an Iaido practitioner.



            • #7
              The BKA is just an organisation that is recognised by the IKF/EKF to give official gradings that are recognised internationally and as a member you can take part in any IKF/EKF taikai. They also hold seminars for learning and grading. The emphasis seems more on the grading though and numbers at the summer seminars are usually too large for any beneficial tution. However, any changes in Seitei gata are transmitted via the Japanese sensei at the summer seminars.

              I think if you feel that you are happy and having fun with what you are doing now, why change? What is it you expect from the BKA or any other organisation?


              • #8
                where do you live? There are other associations in the UK apart from the BKA that practise various schools of iaido. Have a look on the web. Most would have you covered by insurance, as it seems that local councils and schools require this nowadays...


                • #9

                  Ya do get a nice BKA membership book (and can be used for Kendo, Iaido and Jodo if I recall) - useful for:

                  Recording gradings (if ya want to)
                  Recording Taikai (again - if ya want to)
                  Recording attendance at seminar's - lots of Japanese signatures look good! lol

                  The BKA has its own armourer - discounts!!

                  Useful for the Police - on those rare occasions when they are concerned about what that is you are carrying (is it a rifle or a sword in there???)

                  ...and other things too - I must dig mine out for old times sake

                  My personal opinion of gradings are that they are useful personal points of progression or progress. But they can become expensive - Shinken needed for some Iai gradings for example. Although after a certain level or 'standard' I'd expect one to be using a Shinken - but not a 'beginner'.

                  I've always thought that I'd benefited from the BKA organised seminars....although I've not trained for a number of years recently.