Katana samurai sword blade labelled
Before the Katana
In the 1200ís the popular style of sword was the tachi, which was slung by two hangers at the left side of the waist edge down .In this position the warrior drew the blade in a movement from groin to head. Later style of combat changed and the katana became the main sword of choice. The tachi was still used but in a lesser capacity . Golden Age of sword making (specifically 1294 - 1427) was also the age of the tachi.
The tachi was more often seen on the warlords and generals as a highly decorated blade showing their position and power in society. They also favoured it for practical reasons the blade was more curved and made it more effective for them to cut downwards from horseback on to their enemyís. Where as the average samurai would be fighting on foot .
During this period five famous schools of sword making arose, their location was based on proximity to the need for swords (centres of administration), easy access to ore and charcoal, a plentiful supply of good water and a cool climate. The five schools were Bizen, Yamashiro, Yamato, Soshu and Mino.