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"Ninja Swords Revealed"

 
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The Ninja Sword, also known as the ‘ninja-to’, were quite unlike the Samurai Sword, which were called ‘katana’.

Sometimes 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.

The 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.

For 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 to sword.

This 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:

1. A certain number of ninja actually started out as samurai warriors and continued to use their katanas when they became ninja.

2. Successful ninjas would sometimes purchase katana due to their superior quality over the ninja swords commonly used.

3. 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 sword.

The 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.

The 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.

The 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 over walls.


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