New Member Registration
About the Authors
Mark Kerstein and Shamina Chang are attorneys at The Law Office of Mark A. Kerstein, based in Houston, Texas. They instruct and practice Iaido and Kendo at the Houston Kenshikan, as well as Cougar Kendo at the University of Houston.
Membership Registration Checklist
Before a new member starts practice, we recommend the following:
Registration form with Waiver & Sexual Misconduct
Here is a Sample Registration Form. Even if your facility/community center/university has forms, new members should fill this form out as well.
Make sure to get contact information from the new member as a well as emergency contact information.
The registration form needs to have a waiver that is effective. This waiver gives the Dojo, its instructors, and members an important layer of protection from legal liability from being sued if a member gets injured.
It is important to make sure the waiver is legally valid. The legal requirements for waivers differ in each state, so you need to contact a local attorney and have that attorney review your Dojo’s waiver and ensure it is effective.
Safesport is a quasi federal government agency that applies to amateur sports organizations, including Kendo and Iaido. This information is directly from Safesport.
All US Kendo Federation Membership
We previously wrote an article on why it is important for Dojo to join the AUSKF. Each individual member needs to join as well for insurance and liability purposes. Having a policy that allows for tryouts or a policy that does not require AUSKF membership until a beginner has a certain level of experience opens the Dojo and its members to risk.
A background check of new members is prudent as it is a real possibility that unsavory individuals may try to join your organization. It is an unfortunate reality that there are sexual predators and individuals who seek to gain trust in order to embezzle money and so on. In addition, it is Safesport policy to have background checks for all adults who interact with minors.
An organization does not have a legal obligation accept every person as a member. In addition to the registration, we recommend for you to invite potential members to watch practice first before allowing them to join. This way both the potential member and the Dojo can get a feel for whether this is a relationship worth beginning. As long as you’re not denying someone membership on the basis of race, creed, gender or national origin, you can say no.