Continuing on ‘Brief History…’ theme, let’s look at what the west know as a Samurai sword.
The official name of the commonly referred to Samurai Sword is actually the Katana however, any curved blade in the Japanese culture has been given the same name – especially through western pop culture such as comics and films. A true Katana measures in length greater than 60 cm and is a thin, curved and ultra sharp blade.
This style of weaponry was officially born during feudal Japanese times. During this historic period, the Jujitsu-trained Samurai class even began carrying their swords differently. The length of the blades were increased and the warriors, although traditionally carried blade down, began to carry them blade up. The reasoning of this was to increase their kill time. With the blade already facing up, a samurai sword could be thrust through an opponent much faster and with deadlier accuracy.
A range of samurai swords are commonly trained with in Jujitsu – Katana and Wakizashi mainly, although lower belts will more often than not start training with wooden bokken to avoid losing ears!
What Defines a Samurai Sword
The samurai sword itself is forged out of a treated Japanese steel. The must pass the steel through a special forging process and the heating and cooling temperatures must be accurate in order to ensure the metal does not break. The blade begins straight but becomes curved during a special process called quenching. This is a specialized process of cooling the metal.
A Samurai’s sword requires special care even after it has been forged. Due to the delicate nature of the metal compound, it is prone to rust, therefore must be cleaned and polished regularly even if it is placed in storage. The sweat from the samurai hands alone will cause the metal to rust. As the warriors primary weapon, the sword takes care of the Samurai in turn the Samurai must care for his blade.