Sunday, October 27, 2013

Katana Swords - A Traditional Japanese Sword Favored By The Samurai

The Katana - A Unique Weapon And Collector's Sword

A sword traditionally used by the Japanese samurai during the feudal times in Japan was the Katana sword. When viewing this sword one will notice the distinctive curved, single-edged blade that is very slender in appearance. The Katana sword will also have either a square guard or a circular guard. The handle will also be unique in that it is long to accommodate two hands when being used. The Katana swords has become known world-wide for its cutting ability and the extreme sharpness of the blade. In modern times the Katana sword has commonly become referred to as "The Samurai Sword."
Due to the changing battle conditions of the Muromachi period (1392-1573) the Katana sword design was developed. These battle times required a weapon that could be quickly drawn and used to cut a victim in a single fluid motion. By being worn with the blade facing up, the samurai was able to draw the Katana sword to facilitate the quick draw scenario mentioned above. In previous time, the samurai had used a sword with a curved blade facing down.
The overall length of the Katana sword varied depending on the time in history of its usage. In the early times, the late 14th and early 15th centuries, the average length of the blade was between 70 to 73 cm (27.6 to 28.7 inches). In the early part of the 16th century, the blade became shorter, close to 60 cm (23.6 inches). Later on in the 15th century, it became extended once again to approximately 73 cm (28.7 inches).
When the samurai was dressed for battle, the Katana sword was usually paired with the Wakizashi or Tanto swords. These swords were similar in design but designed as a much shorter sword in length. When paired, the two swords were called the Daisho and represented the personal honor and social power of the samurai who was wearing them. The Katana was used for open conflicts or battles and the Wakizashi or Tanto was more of a side arm for those times of close quartered combat.
One must remember that the samurai did not use the Katana sword lightly or quickly. There was a bond between the sword and the samurai that was considered a very sacred link. The samurai fully believed that the Katana was linked to their soul and would only be used as a last resort or drawn under the most dire of circumstances.
In martial arts usage,the Katana was used for practice by the samurai. In modern times, the Katana is still used by many martial artists in various forms.
The various Katana swords shown in the slide show presentation give some examples of the Katana but overall, there are many different variations in appearance of this type of sword. Some are more elaborate than others with intricate detail given to blade art and engravings including some with signatures engraved upon the blade. The sword handles will be wrapped in various colors and styles as well.
The Katana sword is a sword that you can proudly display on your wall or in your sword collection that will stimulate interest and great conversation! As a owner of a sword, one must keep in mind that it is a weapon and can be dangerous and should be displayed out of the reach of children.