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The Mongolian lesson

The method of fighting during this period was by individual combat. Where one warrior would ride out and challenge a worthy opponent from the other side to engage in mortal combat.  However, in 1274 and 1281 the Mongols invaded Japan.  The Mongols did not fight by the traditional Japanese methods of challenges and individual combat.  Consequently , the Japanese quickly learnt that group warfare was the only way to beat the invaders.  Although the Mongol armies were beaten primarily by the weather (Kamekaze, the divine winds), the Mongol invasion brought about a conscious need for a strong national defence and sword smiths sprang up all over the country

Late in the Muromachi Period saw the rise of internal warfare once again. This led to over 100 years of civil wars in Japan as warlords fought for land and power.  The enormous requirement for weapons during this period meant a rise in the number of schools and a sharp decline in the quality of the swords.  Swords from this period are considered inferior, and the skills of the sword smiths from the golden age were lost, some say forever.




The three basic types of Japanese blades are


Katana or long sword has a blade of 24.5 inches or longer, the short sword or Wakizashi is from 12 to 24 inches, the tanto or dagger is less than 12 inches.

There are many other types of Japanese swords but these are the key three you must know about. The samurai warrior carried both of these thrust through the waistband edge up. This made for a quicker draw. With a slight turn of the scabbard he could change the angle of the cut to be from groin to head or horizontal. The wakizashi was used after the katana failed, fighting in enclosed spaces, close quarter combat and for some in a special technique called Nito Ryu (two swords at once )







Daisho means “long and short”. For the budding collectors purposes

the daisho, or matching pair, is the highest level of collecting. The




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