Guest Author - Joy Alari
To the Samurai his sword is more than just an ordinary weapon, he believes that his sword, has a life of its own and possess special powers which protects him.
A tale in Samurai times buttresses this fact, when two famous swordsmiths called Muramasa and Masume, who always competed with each other, claiming that they were a better swordsmith than the other.
One day Muramasa and Masume decided that it was time, for all of Japan to know once and for all who the best swordsmith, they both agreed to settle the rivalry, by organizing a peculiar contest which was held at a stream.
Muramasa and Masume were to each take turns, to place their individual swords into the stream and any of the swords, that happened to cut a passing leaf would be judged the winner.
Muramasa started the contest first, by placing his sword into the stream, he and his supporters were delighted to see that any passing leaf, that so much as came close to his sword, got shredded to pieces.
The supporters of the other swordsmith Masume were anxious because they felt that Muramasa had surely won the contest but they were surprised at Masume'sonfidence as he approached the water's edge and placed his own sword into the stream.
All the onlookers including Muramasa were stunned into silence before a great shout from Masume's surpporters filled the air because they had just seen something strange thing, which had never happened in smithery. Muramasa's sword could shred a leaf to pieces but all the leaves and even debris in the stream were avoiding Masume's sword!
Who do you think won the contest? Of cos it was Masume! His sword didn’t need to attack by cutting the leaves to shreds, Masume’s sword offered a better protection by repelling the leaves, the same fate would befall anyone or any enemy forces, that went against the holder of Masume’s swords, this was because Masume always added, a special mystical touch to all the swords he makes.
The regular Samurai, must hold dear to his heart, three special bladed weapons and they are the Katana, Wakizashi and Tanto. These weapons are made with the best of metals, as well as with great care because it is said that a Samurai must be as good as his sword
In Japan the Katana has a well established history, it also holds a very special place in the heart of a Samurai. The Katana is a long bladed sword that is approximately 24 inches long. The Katana is always forged in varing degrees of hardness, by folding several layers of metal which would have the softer metals as its core and harder metals making the Katana’s surface.
The Katana’s blade is always curved with a razor sharp edge, also the back of the Katana’s blade is blunt as well as curved.
The Wakizashi is also a sword like the Katana, only that its shorter than the Katana. The blade of the Wakizashi, is between 12 to 20 inches long as well as short size. The Wakizashi makes it an ideal, as well as convenient weapon for the Samurai to use to fight in small spaces.
The Tanto is a lot smaller than the Katana and the Wakizashi, it is just 12 inches in length and is known as the Samurai’s dagger.