The Samurai : Japanese Warriors
Brief History of Samurai Warriors
The samurai were a highly skilled Japanese warriors that hailed from noble families and served the local lords. These warriors were experts in martial arts. Out of the four main classes in ancient Japan—samurais, farmers, artisans and merchants—the samurai were the highest.
The 7 Virtues of Bushido
The Japanese feudal lords employed samurai to protect them and fight for them. Instead of getting paid in money, depending on the merit of the samurai, they were given a particular measure of rice. The samurai followed a strict code of conduct for their masters which was known as the ‘Bushido.’ This called for self-discipline, valour, honour, duty and self-sacrifice.
The samurai were expert in fighting on the horseback as well as in armed and un-armed combat on the ground. Their favourite weapon was the sword and they used this for beheading their enemies. A samurai’s sword used to be his most beloved and prized possession and he literally worshipped it. Only special sword smith could make the swords for the samurai and it was a long procedure to make one.
The oldest swords were straight and were designed in Korea and China. The swords were mainly made of iron, in combination with carbon. The sword smiths used fire, water, anvil and hammer to give the final shape to these unique swords.
7 Interesting Facts about the Samurai
- In ancient Japan, some women also received similar training in martial arts and strategy as men. These women samurai were called ‘Onna-Bugeisha’ and they actively took part in combat too.
- New samurai swords were tested on convicts—live human beings!
- The samurai usually carried two types of swords with them: a long one called ‘Katana’ and a short one called ‘Tanto.’
- Samurai named their swords as they believed the swords carried their warrior spirit.
- The sharp point of a samurai sword is known as the ‘kissaki. It is the toughest part to forge and often determines the overall quality.
- The samurai trained with the help of wooden swords. This art was called ‘Kendo’ and is still practiced today in Japan.
- The earliest samurai swords were straight and were designed in Korea and China. It was the samurai’s desire to have tougher and sharper swords that gave birth to the curved sword blades we have today.
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