Ninja Sword, also known as the ‘ninja-to’, were quite
unlike the Samurai Sword, which were called ‘katana’.
called ‘shinobigatana’, the Ninja Sword was generally
much shorter than the katana which enabled ninjas to
move more effectively and stealthily and to draw their
weapons faster so they could swiftly defeat their enemies
and quickly retreat into the shadows.
Ninja Sword was sometimes curved in the same way as
a katana, but was more often straight in order to allow
ninja’s to conceal their weapons within their clothing
easier, which was ideal for covert assassination missions.
The ninja were quite often outnumbered by their enemies
which meant they had to become masters at improvising
and making do with the limited weapons at their disposal.
What this meant was they had to get creative and therefore
the ninja sword was used in many different ways.
example, the ninja sword was known to be used as a grappling
hook or a step ladder. Simply by attaching a cord to
it the ninja could use the ninja sword to wrap around
an overhead tree branch and then climb up the cord.
The scabbard of the ninja sword also doubled as a blow
dart by putting a hole in the end of it. It could then
also be used as a snorkel to allow the ninja to breath
under water when escaping from or sneaking up on enemies
undetected. Secret compartments also quite often existed
on the scabbard of the ninja sword to allow the concealment
of shruiken or ninja stars, tanto or daggers and poisons.
In contrast to the ninja sword, the samurai not only
used the longer katana, but they also used a shorter
more curved sword, called the ‘wakizashi’. This type
of sword was used in combination with the katana so
the samurai also had a smaller weapon that they could
draw quickly to give them a greater chance of surviving
a deadly stealth attack from a ninja with a swift ninja
type of sword was also commonly used by the ninja, quite
often obtained after the ninja had taken the life of
a samurai warrior and kept his victims sword.
Another type of ninja sword commonly used was the ‘tanto’.
The tanto was a much shorter sword and was in fact more
like a dagger or a half sword. It was suited for close
ninja combat or as a fall back weapon if the ninja lost
his sword in battle, or for deep under cover assassinations
where the ninja could not effectively conceal a full
length ninja sword.
The last type of ninja sword used by ninja’s in days
gone by was the katana itself, sword of the samurai
warrior. This type of sword was generally longer than
the ninja sword and much better made, usually being
handed down from generation to generation of samurai.
So how and why did ninja’s end up with these swords?
A few reasons resulted in ninjas using the samurai sword
as their weapon of choice:
A certain number of ninja actually started out as samurai
warriors and continued to use their katanas when they
Successful ninjas would sometimes purchase katana due
to their superior quality over the ninja swords commonly
Ninja would simply use the sword of slain samurai enemy.
The samurai sword would be made of high quality carbon
steel and would take months to make. They were hand
made specially for each samurai warrior, with great
skill and care taken to produce a very high quality
art of Japanese sword making was used by highly trained
black smiths to make the finest swords in all of Japan
for the highly respected samurai warriors.
In contrast, the ninja sword was considerably shorter
and was of a much lower quality due mainly to the fact
that ninja were underground stealth warriors who did
not have access to the money to hire highly skilled
sword smiths, nor did they have the necessary resources
to make such precision weapons as the samurai.
ninja used their swords for everything, whereas a samurai
would never dream of using their sword for anything
other than battle. The technique for using the ninja
sword was also very different to the katana, the end
of the ninja sword was very sharp so the ninja could
stab their victim almost as if using a spear. The Samurai
sword on the other hand had a very sharp blade and could
be used to easily cut a man in half.
Although the ninja sword was smaller and poorer quality
than the katana it was used in many more versatile ways
than the samurai sword. For instance the ninja sword
was sometimes used as a hammer, because the blade was
not particularly sharp the sword could be held by the
blade and the handle used as a hammer.
ninja sword could also be driven into the ground tip
first, thereby allowing the ninja to stand on the handle
in order to climb up onto things and to help climbing
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