"Welcome, honored guest, to the armory of the Akechi clan. Here, some of our best works and crafts are kept in display for future generations to view as well as keep all weapons and armor not in use. I am Akechi Tama, your guide. What, you haven't heard of me? Well, maybe you might be familiar with Akechi Gracia? Either way, I am the first full daughter of Akechi Mitsuhide and Akechi Yoriko. Shall we begin?"
This of course is the sectional staff. Legends say that a warrior from China broke his staff in combat so he tied it back together to continue fighting. In the world today and in the past, there is two styles in shaping it. The Chinese makes a rounded staff while the Japanese create all their staff like weapons in a hexagonal shape. This includes their staffs, sectional staffs, and nunchaku. It was first made a popular weapon in 960 A.D. By Emperor Chao Hong-Yin of China. Made from whiteoak, waxwood, or Chinese red maple, each section is the length of the wielder's forearm. To harden the staff and other wooden weapons, they are buried in air tight mud to prevent decomposition for several years until they have hardened to such a point that they are almost petrified. These weapons show great flexibility as well as range and impact power. The down side is that to stop them, you must break their movement on something. As martial arts becomes less needed for war, this weapon is just one of the many that have fallen out of popularity.
The Japanese spear. All throughout history, the spearman has been the backbone of many armies for their versatility and range. Of the yari and other spears, there are hundreds of designs. As such, I shall list only a few.
This particular Jumonji Yari is the Crimson Fang, the spear of my uncle Sanada. It is also known as a 'crossbar spear' and a Mancatcher. One foot from the tip of the blade, there is a crossbar to literally catch the person impaled on the spear. This allows you to manipulate them as needed to free yourself that much quicker.
The shrine maiden's spear. Originally, it was a weapon of samurai. Similar to the European glaive, the Chinese guan dao, and the Russian sovnya, it is a spear little more than man height with a surved blade on the end. In the nagitana's case, it is crafted in a similar manner as the katana, even possessing a hamon, the design along the blade edge. Today, in Japan, it is typically a woman's weapon, often viewed being used by priestesses and shrine maidens. In combat, it is a beating, stabbing weapon with its balance in the center to allow for spinning.
The European Halberd is one of the most famous polearms in history. It is a spear that when completed will be between one point five to one point eight meters longs for the staff and another eighteen inches with the head. It was cheap and quick to produce, a mass produced weapon where as Japanese weapons were custom tailored for the wielders. The tip held a spike while an ax blade sat just below it. These weapons were ideal for not only the battlefield but also the defense of a castle portcullis, the gate. It was narrow and long, allowing it to slip through the gate to stab attackers while at the same time, study enough to be used as an ax against infantry and Calvary.
Finally, we have reached the weapons you have no doubt been looking forward to, the Katana.
The katana is in a single word, perfection. It is the culmination of thousands of years to create the perfect blade. Even the development of how it is forged is the result of many, many years and even generations working. So we shall start there, the forging. To begin with, the metal. At the beginning of the era of the katana, there was mass amounts of iron metal that was impure. The practice of folding the metal over and over again was made to remove those impurities. It is standard for a katana to be folded around sixteen times but some swordsmith, usually the best, will fold the steel hundred, maybe thousands of times. Then, in the rough forging, the steel block is beaten into the very general shape of the katana, evenly dispersing the carbon through the steel. In the rough shaping, the blade is given the shape of the katana, but the blade is straight. Here is where it truly differs from most other blades in the world. Most blades are either forged straight or curved by the maker's efforts. The katana is forged straight and curved through the quenching. After the rough shaping, it is covered in clay by hand. A thin coat along the blade and a thick coat along the back before being heated once more. Tradition says it is heated until it is the same color of the moon in august. Once the right temperature is reached, it is dipped in water, quenching.
During any forging process, there is two kinds of steel; hard, high carbon steel and tough, low carbon steel. High carbon is harder, making them hold a sharper edge but the blade becomes very brittle, able to be broke during combat. Low carbon steel is tougher, able to take more hits, but is also malleable, making it lose its edge very quickly.
These are determined by how fast the blade cools. But the katana, after being covered in clay, is far different. To take advantage of both steels, the clay is in different layers. The edge will become hard, able to hold such a sharp edge as to slice through most anything while the back is tougher but flexible, allow it to accept hits without breaking. The spine, as it is allowed to cool more slowly, begins to shrink from the lost of heat, creating the katana's sori, the curve. After the quenching, the swordsmith begins the sizing, removing excess metal and adjusting the sori if needed. It is during this that the rough polishing takes place and the habaki, the cap above the hilt, is fitted. Finally, the finishing. Here, the fine polishing begins, defining the edges as well as bringing out the true beauty of the hamon. After polishing, the katana is given to the hilt maker, the sayashi, to be fitted with a proper hilt. The tsuba, the guard, is fitted below the habaki, and the tsuka, the handle, is put on below that, completing the katana, only the test of the edge remains. Before such practiced were outlawed, it was tested by placing a grouping of men, usually six, atop of one another. These men, condemned to death for various crimes, were then cut through from top to bottom in a single strike. Anything cutting two or three is considered a good blade. A blade that cuts all six was to be viewed as the perfect katana. In irony, the prisoners often ate stones the night before, in hopes of breaking the blade. Today, the test is done with tightly woven mats around bamboo, a close imitation of the human body. Some may remember movies where the samurai wears the blade edge down verses up. These are different styles, edge down being a tachi. That same blade worn edge up has become a katana.
Because of the curvature of the blade, only a single point will hit the boy at first. As it begins to slice through their body, more of the blade slides through, increasing the cut until the blade is stopped or goes on through.
This particular daisho is a copy, made in the same process I just spoke of, folded two hundred and seventy two times. Why go through such effort for a copy? The originals are the Kyuubi and the Fox's Guard, the blades made by my older brothers Naruto from the fangs of the Kyuubi itself, named in honor of the great creature.
The warizashi is made in the exact manner as the katana, but where the katana is usually twenty four to twenty eight inches, the warizashi is twelve to twenty four inches, with twenty being average.
The ninja-to is made similar to the katana but as you have no doubt noticed, the ninja-to is a straight blade by Japanese standards. This is because the ninja-to is often a quicker made, cheaper and lower quality blade than the katana. Its straighter blade disallows the cutting that katanas have. Instead, it relies more on a chopping motion like that of an ax or cleaver. But please, forget all you think you know about such a blade. Its true origins are not originally ninja, its movie productions. Yes, this sword was made for movies and has become so popular, its own fighting schools have formed. It is not without merit though. The blade is worn on the back, hilt over the strong arm shoulder. Combined with its short length, the blade can be easily hidden and quickly drawn. Being straight also makes it a more stabbing weaponm giving it the punching power to push through weaker armor and even some stronger ones.
Reverse Blade Katana.
The Reverse blade katana was an actual weapons, though not in the standards most would think. Largely, it was used by former swordsmen as a scythe while still keeping a blade on them to prevent surprise attacks.
This shield was developed before the medieval era Europe. It is a round, disk shield that guards from knees to chest. A few millennium old, it was made to be used in a phalanx but also single combat. Its conclave design allowed it to accept hits while spreading the impact out along the shield, defusing it. Fighting styles have been based around the use of this shield and the spear or even the shield alone. The most famous users of a targe shield are the spartans, who also called it a Hoplon, and Captain America of Marvel Comics.
"Well, we have reach the end of this section and I thank you for coming. We shall have more weapons for your viewing as well as armor at a future date. Please, enjoy your visit to the Akechi Estate and be mindful of the fox kits. They tend to get underfoot."