1.Presentation of Katana

The katana is often called a "samurai sword", it is a type of Japanese sword. The katana is a long curved blade with a chisel like point. Because the katana is a single-edged sword, it is also referred to as a back-sword, meaning it had an unsharpened edge or back, rather than a sharpened edge on both sides. Because of its curved shape and chisel point, the katana could be used as both a slashing and thrusting weapon.

The katana's blade length is approximately 28 inches. It was worn blade up through a belt-sash, or obi. Another version of the katana is called the tachi, which is slightly longer than the normal katana with an average blade length of 31 inches. The tachi was worn suspended by cords from the belt, with the edge facing downward.

2.History of Katana

The history of the katana sword can be traced back after the eighth century when there was reformation of warfare styles.It was when fighting on foot during battles had been changed to fighting on horseback.

Because straight bladed swords would not be very functional on horseback fighting, an innovated curved blade was thought to be better. At that time though, the swords were carried by the waist with the cutting edge facing down. These were called the tachi swords.

In the Muromachi period during 1392-1573, swords worn with their sharp edge facing upwards were made and these were the katana swords. Because of such mechanism, a samurai could slash the enemy very easily in a single swing right after he removes his sword from the scabbard. Katanas did not have as deep curves as tachi had.

The length of the katana's blade varied considerably during the course of its history. In the late 14th and early 15th centuries, katana blades tended to be between 70 and 73 cm (27.6 and 28.7 inches) in length. During the early 16th century, average length was much closer to 60 cm (23.6 inches), but late in the 16th century, it was again approximately 73 cm (28.7 in).

In the katana sword history, only samurais were supposed to bring a katana. If anyone else from the lower class of soldiers is caught to have possessed a katana sword, he is killed right there and then.

3.Usage of Katana

The katana would be carried in a saya scabbard and tucked into the samurai's belt. Originally, they would carry the sword with the blade turned down. This was a more comfortable way for the armored samurai to carry his very long sword. The bulk of the samurai armor made it difficult to draw the sword from any other place on his body. When unarmored, samurai would carry their sword with the blade facing up. This made it possible to draw the sword and strike in one quick motion, usually beheading the opponent. In order to draw the sword, the samurai would turn the saya downward ninety degrees and pull it out of his belt just a bit with his left hand, then gripping the tsuka with his right hand he would slide it out while sliding the saya back to it's original position.

Become the samurai master. To properly hold the katana, one hand will be placed above the other on the handle, whichever way that you feel most comfortable. The katana involves executing short and precise strokes using both your hands to guide it and create momentum for maximum damage. Using both your hands, swing the blade from left to right; these are slashes. Bring the blade up high above your head and slam it down swiftly onto the dummy; this is hack.

4.Tips and advice

a) Do not buy "stainless-steel" Katanas. These are usually decorative, and are prone to snapping, which could be potentially dangerous to anyone in the line of fire when (and it WILL happen) it does break. A high carbon steel Katana is recommended.

b) If mishandled in its storage or maintenance, the katana may become irreparably damaged. It is extremely important that the blade remain well-oiled and polished, as the natural moisture residue from the hands of the user will rapidly cause the blade to rust if not cleaned off. Similarly, when stored for longer periods, it is important that the katana be inspected frequently and aired out if necessary in order to prevent rust or mold from forming (mold may feed off the salts in the oil used to polish the katana).

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