The Best Of 2018: Blood Grooves, Female Samurai, Ninjas VS Samurai, Steel Types & More

We think the best customers are well-informed customers, so we do our best to find valuable information and present it in a way everyone can enjoy.  As swords enthusiasts ourselves, we feel such information should be shared freely among all who share our passion.

Thus, in 2018, we worked hard to update old articles and create new ones chock full of information for old and new sword enthusiasts alike, while also making them fun and engaging to read.  Now, at the beginning of 2019, we look back at the results of our undertaking and feature the articles we and you liked the most.

Staff Picks

We asked our team to choose the posts they liked the most, and give their reason why.  Here are their top picks:

Female Samurai – The Onna Bugeisha – “My favourite post for 2018 was the one about the Onna Bugeisha. I am the only female in our team, and learning about Samurai and their history is a great passion of mine, so I was thrilled to learn about the role of women and the courage of some female samurai.

For over half a millennia, women stepped up to the plate to defend their homes and families as the men left for battles. Within their communities, these women became great examples of courage, leadership, and strength. This article shines a light on the less famous, yet equally fierce female samurai.” – Silvia.



The Magic of the “Blood Groove” – “I love how the blood groove (aka “Bo-Hi”) is woven into the story of Kana, showcasing its usefulness in lightening the blade while also making it a fun, engaging and personal read.” – Tristan


The Ninja vs The Samurai – “I like how the story is engaging while trying to stay as historically accurate as possible, even while creating the unlikely engagement between a samurai and a Ninja.  The information is interesting too.” – Ryan 


Top 3 Read

The next three posts were the ones you liked the most, judged by total page views.

Guide to Types of Sword Steel – Everything You Didn’t Know You Needed to Know – No story here, but chock full of information, from the attributes of each type of steels used in swords to whom they are best for.

Norimitsu Odachi: Who on Earth Could Have Wielded Such a Sword? – There is a gigantic sword in Japan measuring over three meters!  Who made it and why? We explore several possibilities.

European Longsword vs Katana? – This question has plagued sword enthusiasts for centuries.  Here we attempt to answer the question while being as fair as possible to both swords.


Popular Reference Posts

We also noticed that a lot our readers (that’s you!) looked for the following information, so we thought we’d put it front-and-center.  They have been updated to be current for 2019.

Are samurai swords, katana and wakizashi legal in the UK? – In short, yes, if made a certain way.  See this post for full details.  (All our swords are UK legal).

Sword Maintenance and Care – Chock full of advice for keeping your new sword looking shiny for years (or even decades).

Source: https://www.bladespro.co.uk/blogs/news/best-of-2018

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Boxing Day Sale: Discounts on our 2018 Best Sellers and Free Engraving on ALL Swords


We’re having a one-day sale with big discounts on our best-selling swords on Boxing Day, December 26th!  ALL swords — both discounted and not  — also come with FREE engraving (normally £15).

Click here to start shopping 2018 Best Sellers

Sale Info*

  • MASSIVE SAVINGS on our 2018 best-sellers
  • FREE Engraving on all swords
  • Sale one day only – from midnight to midnight on the 26th.

Shop 2018 Best Sellers >

*Click here for full terms and conditions of the sale. 

Source: https://www.bladespro.co.uk/blogs/news/boxing-day-sale-discounts-on-our-2018-best-sellers-and-free-engraving-on-all-swords

Best Selling Swords of 2018

As 2018 draws to a close, we’re taking the time to look back and reflect on the previous year. Striving to serve you best, we are constantly updating our product selections, taking your feedback into account. Here are the top Best-Selling Swords of 2018, picked by you, our beloved customers.

#1 – Blue Blade Samurai Katana

Blue Blade Samurai Katana

The beautify of this Sapphire Sword makes it clear why it’s our customers’ #1 pick. The ornate details on the Tusba and Saya are stunning, and the deep color draws in one’s eyes. While not cheap, it remains affordable at just under £200.

Like this sword? You can buy it here.

#2 – Kikyou Katana Samurai Sword ESA815

Stunningly white with a simple radial Tsuba, this battle-ready sword is popular with martial arts enthusiasts. An excellent mid-tier sword.

Like this sword? You can buy it here.

#3 – Dara Clay Tempered Folded Steel Katana Samurai Swords

Dara Clay Tempered Folded Steel Katana Samurai Sword

Both colorful and complex, the attention to detail of this sword shows through. The layers of the folded steel perfectly compliment the coloured streaks of the fittings. The quality demands a higher price, but, as its place of #3 on the list shows, many of our customers think it’s worth it.

Like this sword? You can buy it here.

#4 – Ruolan Folded Red Steel Katana Samurai Sword

Ruolan Folded Red Steel Katana Samurai Sword

Bearing gorgeously deep red steel combined with simple but well-contrasted fittings, it is no wonder this sword has proved popular enough to reach the #4 spot. Similar to our #1 sword, this comes in at just under £200.

Like this sword? You can buy it here.

#5 – Atid Clay Tempered Steel Katana Samurai Sword

Atid Clay Tempered Folded Steel Katana Samurai Sword

Mostly black, this sword projects a dash of colour on the Saya. Made of folded steel, this high-quality sword’s beauty comes from its functional elegance.

Like this sword? You can buy it here.

#6 – Yamamoto Clay Tempered Katana Samurai Sword

Yamamoto Clay Tempered Katana Samurai Sword

5cm longer than most, this sword is further distinguished by the random-looking Hamon line – a mark shared by the highest quality swords. Adorned with golden fittings, this sword is truly regal. Definitely a notch (or two) above most swords, it’s not for the budget collector.

Like this sword? You can buy it here.

#7 – Dotanuki Clay Tempered Katana Sword

Dotanuki Clay Tempered Katana Samurai Sword

Red is the name of the game here. Boasting many different shades, this fiery sword’s fittings wonderfully contrast its black blade. Both Folded and Clay Tempered, its high-quality blade makes its price above average.

Like this sword? You can buy it here.

#8 – Qingge Folded Blue Steel Katana Samurai Sword

Qingge Folded Blue Steel Katana Samurai Sword

Bright blue with touches of red, this lively sword is sure to draw attention. Further distinguished by its artistic Tsuba, this aesthetically pleasing sword is quite affordable.

Like this sword? You can buy it here.

#9 – Kurosaki Ichigo Bleach Sword

Kurosaki Ichigo Bleach Sword

Our Bleach collection has been rapidly rising in popularity, with Ichigo Kurosaki’s Zanpakutō Zangetsu reaching the top 10 in a remarkably short time. Revisit the world of Bleach with the sword of the protagonist.

Like this sword? You can buy it here.

#10 – Taniko Katana Samurai Sword

Taniko Katana Samurai Sword ESA804

Another sword popular with martial artists, this well-styled functional blade is ready for action. Affordable, it comes in at just under £200.

Like this sword? You can buy it here.

Source: https://www.bladespro.co.uk/blogs/news/best-selling-swords-2018

Female Samurai – The Onna Bugeisha

Two Leaders

Tomoe Gozen, first captain and wife of Minamoto no Yoshinaka, surveyed the field where the final battle was sure to soon take place.  A warrior first and foremost, she was dressed in full armor and carrying an oversized sword as well as a bow. Her husband Yoshinaka had recently taken Kyoto, the capital, and set himself up as head of the Minamoto clan.  Unfortunately, his cousin Yoritomo couldn’t leave well enough alone and had sent his two brothers with armies after Yoshinaka. Driven out of Kyoto, Tomoe and Yoshinaka had retreated here to Awazu, where would soon begin the battle to decide the leadership of the Minamoto clan, and, because of its status of Japan’s most powerful clan, the entire country.  As first captain, it was her job to lead the soldiers into the part of the battle where the fighting was thickest and ensure the victory.

Hōjō Masako, wife of Minamoto no Yoritomo, sat with her husband in the command tent, helping to manage the affairs of her husband’s armies.  They had been waiting for several days to hear back from Yoritomo’s cousins, who had been sent to chase down Yoshinaka after he decided to split from the rest of the clan and set himself up as effective emperor, taking Kyoto and kidnapping the emperor while burning down the palace in the process.  No stranger to the world of men, Masako had been taught from a young age horseback riding, hunting, and fishing, for she had been been raised among men rather than with her mother and sisters. While she an expert warrier, she was an even better general, and her husband valued her leadership abilities and took her with him on all his military campaigns, where she led to great effect.

The Onna Bugeisha

Both Tomoe Gozen and Hōjō Masako are famous examples of Onna Bugeisha, more commonly known as female Samurai.   Japan’s past is filled with internal and domestic strife, with attacks between villages quite common. Because of this, in ancient Japan, women were trained to defend their villages alongside the men, or without them if the villages lacked male fighters.  After the formation of the Samurai, some of these women became warriors in their own right.

One of the earliest Onna Bugeisha, Empress Jingū is a figure shrouded in legend and is thought not to have existed as a historical figure, however, her story is important as it embodies the very spirit of what it means to be a female samurai.   According to some chronicles, she led Japan after the death of her late husband, the fourteenth emperor until her son was old enough to take the throne. During this time, she not only improved Japan by making influential economic and social changes, but personally led a victorious invasion of Korea over the course of a three-year campaign.

The legacy of the Onna Bugeisha stretches over one and half millenia, from legends to modern history.  While Empress Ji is possibly the earliest, later examples of heroic women include Tomoe Gozen, Hojo Masako, and Nakano Takeko, who lived as late as 1868 and is credited with 172 samurai kills.  Of course, there are innumerable others who are not as well known, or have been lost to the ravages of history.

The Onna Bugeisha used naginata as their primary weapon, specifically the ko-naginata, a special version designed for women.  A naginata is basically a sword on a pole with a curved blade at the top. Because women are usually of smaller stature and have less upper body strength than men, their blades were smaller in order to reduce the weight. The main advantage of the naginata is that, because of its length and thus range, it partially negates the greater reach and strength advantage that men naturally have, allowing for more fair fights.  It was also very useful for dismounting riders in cavalry charges. The naginata eventually became as iconic to the social status of women as the Katana was the to the Samurai.

Aftermath

The battle was fierce.  Gozen mired in the thick of it, She fought soldier after soldier and pressed ever on, encouraging those around her through her example.  She climbed a ridge, and at the top, saw a line of Samurai at the bottom of the valley. Looking up, their eyes widened with recognition when they saw her, then they yelled and charged up the hill.  Calling her retinue to her, Gozen prepared to meet them. The first to fall to her Katana was Uchida Leyoshi. In his haste to capture her, he made a critical misstep that allowed her to step to the side and kill him.  His companion Hatakeyama Shigetada was a much better fighter. Dodging blow after blow, they fought valiantly, though both were tired already from the battle. When a slight respite allowed, Tomoe took stock of the situation and realized that her forces were being outrun. Knowing she was more valuable alive, she took the first opportunity she saw to disengage, and managed to leap on her horse and escape.  Determined to find her husband, she rode like the wind….

Masako noticed a disturbance in the outer camp.  Within a few minutes, a messenger was brought to them.  Her husband asked the messenger for news, and she listened attentively, wondering what changes in the campaign would soon need to be made.  The message was short but important: Yoshinaka and his forces had fallen. His wife Tomoe Gozen had been spotted leading near the front lines, and some of their best Samurai including Uchida Leyoshi and Hatakeyama Shigetada had attempted to capture her.  Unfortunately, she had managed to elude capture, killing Leyoshi in the process.  While no one knew where she went, her body had not been found among the dead. After the messenger left, Masako turned to her husband who was looking at her expectantly. With Yoshinaka out of the way and her husband now the strongest military leader in Japan, she knew her diplomatic talents would be crucial in the coming years. This was only the beginning.  

Want to see our Samurai sword range? Click here.

Source: https://www.bladespro.co.uk/blogs/news/female-samurai-the-onna-bugeisha

The Meaning of Bushido – The 47 Rōnin

Bushido is the name given by the West to the virtues the Samurai lived by.  Never formally codified, it was a system of values passed down by tradition, from master to apprentice, from father to son.  It was known, not written. The best way to know Bushido was to live it, or, lacking that, to learn of the deeds of those who did.  The following is a retelling of one of the most famous incidents in Japan that exemplifies in every way what it means to follow Bushido.  While it bears little historical resemblance to what actually happened, it is a cultural staple, and what follows is the traditional narrative.The following are excerpts from a diary composed by one of the fallen.  Some superfluous passages have been omitted, while others have been lost.

…the ramparts of Edo castle came into view as we approached.  We were almost at the end of our yearly journey, which we took for my daimyō [lord] to fulfill his duties to the shōgun [head of the military government].  While it would be another year before we could return home, for my daimyō it was his chance to reunite with his younger brother and adopted heir, for he had no children of his own…

…after one month here, I feel settled in again.  The daily tasks are routine now, and I do them without issue.  My daimyō Asano has been re-appointed as one of the two officials whose duty it is to host the emissaries from the imperial court to the Shogunate, a position he once held 18 years before.  While this would normally be an honor, if a small one, I’m concerned because of the recent tensions between him and Kira Yoshinaka, the head of ceremonial matters…

…It seems my concerns were warranted. Kira had been treating both Asano and Kamei poorly, enraging them both.  While my daimyō bore it well, giving no outward sign, Kamei took it less well and planned to kill Kira. (One of Kamei’s retainers relayed this to me in a recent dinner).  Fortunately for Kamei, his quick-thinking counselors offered Kira a large bribe, which has entreated him to favor Kamei more. However, he still treats Asano poorly, and I fear that even my noble master’s restraint cannot last forever…

…The worst has happened.  After a grave insult, my daimyō could take it no longer and attacked Kira.  While his first dagger strike hit and opened a flesh wound on Kira’s face, the second missed and guards separated them before a third could be made.  While the wound was not serious, it was made in the residence of the shōgun, where drawing any kind of weapon was forbidden, let alone using it. For this, Asano has been ordered to commit seppuku – ritual suicide by disembowelment…

…The walls of my home rose over the horizon.  Oh sad day. For, this time, it was not a triumphal return home as a loyal Samurai, but as a forlorn procession of soon-to-be-rōnin [leaderless Samurai] carrying out the orders of the shōgun to prepare the now-deceased Asano’s lands and property for seizing by government officials.  We had hurried to arrive before the government officials and inform the head chamberlain Ōishi Kuranosuke Yoshio of the news…

…It’s over.  I am now rōnin, and so are over 300 of my fellow Samurai.  Honor demands that we avenge our master, but the shōgun has made it clear that any such attempt is forbidden, and Kira has prepared for it by increasing the guards around his manor, making any such attempt suicide.  However, honor does not depend upon success but merely action, and there is a growing movement among some of the rōnin to make an attack anyway. Ōishi tried to get the Asano estate restored but was unsuccessful and has been quiet lately. However, he has recently called a meeting for some of the loudest discontents.  As one of them, I have been invited as well…

…The sweat continued to fall from my brow and it seemed like the dust stirred up by my broom would never settle.  It was hot in the shop, and I counted out the coins to my customers who were buying some of the pots I had recently sourced from some traders passing by.  It was humiliating work for a former Samurai, but it was for a cause. (I haven’t had much time to write much for the past few months, so I’ll give a short recap of the interim now).  In that fateful meeting, Ōishi laid down a grand plan in which over a period of years we would lull Kira’s suspicions, so he would eventually decrease his guard and we could complete our revenge.  The strategy was simple: we would all abandon our roles as Samurai and become tradesman and monks, positions well below our former status, humiliating us in the process, but giving us the greatest odds of success….

…A few more months have passed.  We have all taken to our new roles, however reluctantly.  Ōishi has fallen the farthest, as as our former leader he naturally attracts the most suspicion, so he has taken to frequenting taverns and brothels in order to cement the illusion.  A few days ago, I received word that he had been attacked by a man so infuriated with this behavior coming from a (former) Samurai, that even though it is forbidden to even touch a Samurai, the man felt justified in kicking and spitting on him…

…The first half of our plan has succeeded.  Kira has finally abandoned his suspicions and has lowered the guard on the castle.  Though it has taken a year and a half, our resolve has never wavered, though we did doubt at times.  For Ōishi, it has been even more difficult. He divorced his beloved and loyal wife shortly after he was assaulted in order to protect her from the fallout of our eventual attack.  He also sent away his two youngest children to live with her parents, though he offered the chance to join us to his eldest son, who has since accepted. Furthermore, he had us bring him a geisha [non-sexual female entertainer] in order to enhance the illusion.  It seems to have worked, though the cost is great. Of course, should we succeed, the cost will be even greater – our very lives…

…It has been another six months, but we are almost ready.   We have managed to use our newfound trades to gain access to Kira’s house, and have not only learned the layout of the place, but have managed to smuggle weapons into Edo.  One of us even married the daughter of the house’s builder in order to obtain the plans. Ōishi should be joining us soon to coordinate the final assault, but first he has to lose his spies in Kyoto…

…The night of the attack has arrived. We have armed ourselves with swords and bows.  We will split into two groups. One, led by Ōishi will attack the front gate, while the other, led by his eldest son will attack the back.  When we succeed in killing Kira, a whistle will sound. We begin at the sound of a drum…

…It’s over, and we’re alive, for now.  The fight was swift but deadly. Ōishi had prepared us well.  First, we sent a small group of four men to silence the guard and other men to warn the neighbors of the impending attack.  Once they learned they were in no danger themselves and that we were only there for Kira, whom most of them hated, they allowed us to continue without hindrance.   Ōishi put some archers on the roof to prevent requests for reinforcements from getting out. Then the drum sounded and we began the final assault.

We managed to swarm the guards inside the house from both directions, though the attack at the front gate was held off for a short while by a large group of retainers.  Coming together, we presented a united front to the remaining retainers rushing in from the barracks on the grounds outside the mansion. After a short skirmish, when they saw that we were too strong, they tried to call for reinforcements, but our archers made swift work of their messengers.  Once the fighting was over, we searched the house. Ōishi had reminded us to only kill combatants and Kira, not innocents. We found many women and children, though Kira remained missing. We determined he was nearby, however, when Ōishi discovered his bed was still warm.  After a thorough search, one of us discovered a secret courtyard behind a concealed entrance, where he was attacked by a lone man with a dagger. Sure this must be Kira, he sounded the whistle and we all gathered. Ōishi positively identified the man as Kira, as his face still bore the scar from Asano’s attack two years before.

Ōishi respectfully addressed Kira as he should to one of higher rank and informed him that we were there to perform our duty to our fallen daimyō . Ōishi offered him an honorable death of suicide by the same dagger Asano had used himself to commit seppuku , and even offered to be his second – the one to behead him afterward – to prevent a painful and lingering death.  Kira refused to answer, so Ōishi, realizing that time was short, had us hold Kira down and performed the beheading himself. We left with the head, extinguishing all fires in the house in order to prevent an out of control blaze that might spread and harm the neighbors….

…Tomorrow, I turn myself in.  Our mission has been completed and our honor restored.  We carried the head we had washed and cleaned to Asano’s tomb, and laid it with the dagger used.  We then went to the temple, and gave the abbot of the temple money for our burial, and asked that he pray for us. This will be my last entry…

The aftermath: With their mission completed, 46 of the 47 rōnin turned themselves in (the 47th was sent to Ako, their home, to report their success to Asano’s widow).  The shōgun faced a quandary: by defying his orders, they deserved death, yet they were well-loved by the populace for acting as true samurai should and avenging their master.  He resolved it by offering to allow each of the rōnin to commit ritual suicide rather than be dishonorably executed, which they all accepted. Ōishi Chikara, the eldest son was only 16 when he died.

They were all buried at Sengaku-ji, in front of their master’s tomb.  The man who assaulted Ōishi went to their graves, begged for forgiveness, committed seppuku, and was buried next to them  The 47th rōnin who served as messenger was pardoned by the shōgun and lived to a ripe-old age of 87 years before being interred with his comrades.  Their graves remain to this day and can be visited, The temple preserves their clothes and arms, which they handmade to prevent discovery.

If one wants to describe Bushido, a story can have much more impact and meaning then a lifeless list of rules.  This tale has remained popular in Japan because it tells of undying loyalty, honor, and long-suffering in pursuit of a just cause – principles that make up the core of Busihdo.   

Historical Note – Seppuko

Seppuko was practiced by Samurai as an honorable way of dying  They used a Japanese dagger – a Tanto – to pierce the abdomen and perform a rapid slash from left to right.  If done deep enough, this could cause a quick death from massive internal bleeding. If not, the death could be long and painful.  Thus, many Samurai would have a “second” standing by, whose job it was cut into the spinal column, thus ensuring a quick death for the performer.

Tantos are ancient, with over a thousand years of history.  Because the swords the Samurai carried represented their identity, and the Samurai were members of the highest social class, their daggers were quite ornate.  

Check out our Tantos for some examples here

Source: https://www.bladespro.co.uk/blogs/news/bushido-the-47-ronin

Sale Now On: BladesPro Black Friday Sale Friday-Monday (Spoiler: Our biggest sale ever)

Now On: Black Friday Sale
Huge Discounts and Free Engraving

It’s here!  Everything at BladesPro, that’s right, EVERYTHING is now hugely discounted.  As if that weren’t enough, we are also offering FREE engraving on all swords.  

If you’ve ever wanted to say “you matter” to that special person but weren’t sure how, the gift of a sword with their name on it (literally) may be the perfect way.  If you’re here for yourself, we don’t judge; you deserve a treat too!

What makes our swords special?  
They are all hand-made in the same way and using the same forging methods as the Samurai of Feudal Japan or the armies of ancient China.

For those with a love for pop culture, we also carry high-quality replica swords from the the cult-classic film Kill Bill and the Anime Bleach.

As you know, we don’t offer sales very often – and this is the BIGGEST sale we’ve ever done – so don’t miss it.  It’s for 4 days only, with free UK delivery.  

No need to enter a discount code* – simply start shopping here
 

Questions?  See the Sale Conditions and FAQs here, or contact us – but don’t wait until the last minute to send your question, as we cannot extend the sale for any reason.

Shop now! Sale ENDS in: 

motionmailapp.com

SHOP NOW > 

Source: https://www.bladespro.co.uk/blogs/news/sale-now-on-bladespro-black-friday-sale-friday-monday-spoiler-our-biggest-sale-ever

Samurai Sword Traditions – Changed, but not Forgotten

Reo bowed to his opponent, then raised his Shinai (bamboo practice sword).  He rushed toward his opponent, careful to keep his Shinai in guard position.  Using his momentum, he managed to lightly body-slam his opponent out of the ring.  He was awarded one point, then the match reset.

The next time, his opponent was more wary.  Reo prepared to rush again, but more slowly this time.  As he did so, his opponent tried to move out of the way, but Reo had prepared for this and quickly swung around his practice sword.  Their blades crossed, but Reo brought his body weight to bear and pivoted his sword around his opponent’s, careful to keep its edge away, and managed to score another point by pulling his Shinai back and cutting at his opponent.

A Continuous Legacy

Japanese sword traditions are unique in comparison to their European counterparts in that they have remained in practice since they were originally devised. European sword arts were discontinued around the Enlightenment era, as Europe turned its back on its traditions, thinking anything coming out of the Dark Ages was inherently flawed.  While sword use never truly fell away, for a long time it consisted mostly of fencing, and the original arts of the greatswords and longswords were mostly lost.

Japan, on the other hand, reached its “Enlightenment” much later, in the mid 1800s during the Meiji restoration.  While for a time they too turned their backs on the old ways, this time period was relatively short – only about 20 years – before the practice was resumed.  While these traditions have also changed over time, the fact that they use the Katana (or similar weapons such as the bokutō [bokken] and Shinai) and practice their traditions as a martial art rather than a sport, means that their traditions remain closer to what would have been practiced by the Samurai.  In fact, the modern sword traditions practiced in Japan are distillations and simplifications of forms practiced by the Samurai, and a student that practices all of them can get a well-rounded view of what a Samurai once would have learned.

Modern Sword Traditions

Kendo – Descended from Kenjutsu, Kendo (剣道) means “the way of the sword”.  It is a very common martial art practiced in Japan and around the world.  It is useful for learning practical armed fighting techniques, as sparring against live opponents is a large part of the art.  Because using a live Katana could cause injuries, the weapons used during sparring were first changed to a bokutō (wooden practice sword) and later switched to a Shinai (bamboo practice sword). Kendo was originally developed as a way to provide realistic combat experience to martial artists.

Iaido – Meaning “the way of mental presence and immediate reaction”, Iaido (居合道)  is focused on beginning and ending engagements quickly, usually within 1 or 2 strikes.  The art is heavily concerned with quickly drawing the Katana, making 1 or 2 strokes against an opponent, then wiping the blade and re-sheathing it.  While it is practiced using a real Katana, it is not as practical for gaining combat experienced as Kendo because the opponent is imaginary. However, because of the heavy emphasis on precision, it is an excellent way to learn fine control with an actual Katana, making it an excellent supplement to another martial art for the practical fighter.  It also includes Tameshigiri, where one practices cutting with the live blade on inanimate targets.

Toyama-Ryu – created by the Imperial Japanese army for use in combat shortly before WWII, it focuses on teaching the use of the Katana and bayonet for battle.  While it is not nearly as common as Kendo or Iaido, it is still practiced around the world.

Classical Sword Traditions

Iaijutsu – A family of martial arts rather than a singular art like Iaido, Iaijutsu (居合術) meaning “the method/technique/or art of”mental presence/immediate reaction” was developed primarily for self-defense rather than self-betterment.  It is not commonly practiced today, and it is almost impossible to find an authentic Iaijutsu school outside of Japan (though there are many fake schools).  Originally, Iaijutsu was part of Kenjutsu and utilized only standing fighting techniques.

Kenjutsu – the original predesceer of all the others, Kenjitsu means the “method/technique/art of the sword” (剣術) and is directly descended from the Samurai class that existed before the Meiji Restoration. Practiced mostly by families that have kept the traditions intact as cultural treasures (meaning it is almost impossible to learn outside Japan, and rare even inside it) Kenjutsu practitioners usually use a bokutō and practice against an imaginary opponent.

Want to buy a Shinai or Bokken sword? Click here.

Want to buy a Katana sword? Click here.

 

Source: https://www.bladespro.co.uk/blogs/news/samurai-sword-traditions