Monday, February 29, 2016

Katana & Ninjatō.

... i aim for 2nd Dan in Martial Arts, in this life,

... with tantojutsu & unarmed martial ways, as well,
... with katana & wakizashi, with ninjatō as well,

... not only with kenjutsu & iaijutsu,

... not at all cost, however, as well.




Katana.



Katana.

Introduction.

Historically, katana were one of the traditionally made Japanese swords that were used by the samurai of feudal Japan. The katana is characterized by its distinctive appearance: a curved, slender, single-edged blade with a circular or squared guard and long grip to accommodate two hands.

Description.

Antique Japanese (samurai) daishō, the traditional pairing of two Japanese swords which were the symbol of the samurai, showing the traditional Japanese sword cases (koshirae) and the difference in size between the katana (top) and the smaller wakizashi (bottom).

The katana is generally defined as the standard sized, moderately curved Japanese sword with a blade length greater than 60 cm (23 1⁄2 inches). It is characterized by its distinctive appearance: a curved, slender, single-edged blade with a circular or squared guard (tsuba) and long grip to accommodate two hands. It has historically been associated with the samurai of feudal Japan.

Western historians have said that katana were among the finest cutting weapons in world military history.

Forging and construction.

Katanas are traditionally made from a specialized Japanese steel called tamahagane, which is created from a traditional smelting process that results in several, layered steels with different carbon concentrations. This process helps remove impurities and even out the carbon content of the steel. The smith begins by folding and welding pieces of high and low carbon steel several times to work out most of the impurities.

Usage in Martial Arts.

Katana were used by samurai in practicing several martial arts and modern martial artists still use a variety of katana. Martial arts in which training with katana is used include Iaijutsu, battōjutsu, iaidō, kenjutsu, kendo, aikido, ninjutsu, and Tenshin Shōden Katori Shintō-ryū.

Storage and maintenance.

If mishandled in its storage or maintenance, the katana may become irreparably damaged. The blade should be stored horizontally in its sheath, curve down and edge facing upward to maintain the edge. It is extremely important that the blade remain well-oiled, powdered and polished, as the natural moisture residue from the hands of the user will rapidly cause the blade to rust if not cleaned off. The traditional oil used is choji oil (99% mineral oil and 1% clove oil for fragrance). 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).

Source: Katana on Wikipedia.


Ninjatō.



Ninjatō.



Introduction.

The ninjatō, ninjaken, or shinobigatana, are allegedly the preferred weapon that the Shinobi of feudal Japan carried. It is portrayed by modern ninjutsu practitioners (including Masaaki Hatsumi and Stephen K. Hayes) and is prominently featured in popular culture. Replicas of this weapon are also prominently on display in both the Koka Ninja Village Museum in Kōka, Shiga and the Iga-ryū Ninja Museum in Iga, Mie. Historically, there is no physical evidence for the existence of this 'katana-like short sword legendarily used by ninja', though it is believed that they are based on the design of the wakizashi or chokutō swords.

Appearance.

The ninjatō is typically depicted as being a short sword, often portrayed as having a straight blade (similar to that of a shikomizue) with a square guard. Usually of a length 'less than 60 cm', the rest of the sword is comparatively 'thick, heavy and straight'. Hayes suggests that the typical description of the ninjatō could be due to ninja having to forge their own blades from slabs of steel or iron with the cutting edge being ground on a stone, with straight blades being easier to form than the much more refined curved traditional Japanese sword. His second possible reason for ninjatō being described as a straight-bladed, rather short sword could be that the ninja were emulating one of the patron Buddhist deities of ninja families, Fudo Myo-oh, who is depicted brandishing a straight-bladed short sword similar to a chokutō. Stephen Turnbull, a historian specializing in the military history of Japan indicates of historical ninja: 'The most important ninja weapon was his sword. This was the standard Japanese fighting sword or katana ... for convenience the ninja would choose a blade that was shorter and straighter than usual.'.

Usage.

Due to the lack of historical evidence regarding the existence of the ninjatō, techniques for usage in a martial context are largely speculative. When used in film and stage, ninjatō are depicted as being shorter than a katana with a straight blade but they are utilized in a 'nearly identical' manner as the katana. Books and other written materials have described a number of possible ways to use the sword including 'fast draw techniques centered around drawing the sword and cutting as a simultaneous defensive or attacking action', with 'a thrust fencing technique', and with a 'reverse grip'.

The scabbards were often said to have been used for various purposes such as a respiration pipe (snorkel) in underwater activities or for secretly overhearing conversations. The scabbard is also said to have been longer than the blade of the ninjatō in order to hide various objects such as chemicals used to blind pursuers. The tsuba (hand guard) of the ninjato is often described as being larger than average and square instead of the much more common round tsuba. One theory on the ninjatō tsuba size and shape is that it was used as a tool, the sword would be leaned against a wall and ninja would use the tsuba as a step to extend his normal reach, the sword would then be retrieved by pulling it up by the sageo (saya cord).

Source: Ninjatō on Wikipedia.




Modern Ninjas with Ninjatō.


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