Sean Constable wrote:
After the authorities at the time said the way of the samurai was to be abolished, all samurai hung up their katanas and that was that? It was never practiced again even in secret?
Wasn't so much about practicing anything. It was more their station in society.
Being a samurai wasn't about being a warrior, exactly. In fact, for much of Japanese history, they were far more bureaucrats than soldiers ...
When the class was abolished, it was expressly forbidden to wear the daisho (paired long and short swords); other prohibitions were in place as well, and yes, there was some resistance and even armed conflict (the movie Last Samurai depicts this period, though not particularly historically ...).
Part of the fallout was that budo actually sort of got a kickstart. Lots of unemployed former samurai who had been sword (or other weapons and unarmed as well) teachers for a lord or family opened dojo publicly, or became itinerant budo teachers, traveling the land and giving demonstration, taking on all challengers, offering instruction.
It was pretty chaotic at times, and this was the world in which Kano's judo and Ueshiba's aikido (though it was more Takeda's jujutsu, then) were born and shaped.
Did the samurai just fade gracefully into the sunset? For the most part, yes, though tales of ancestral derring-do and such continue to be passed down in the old families, even in modern days and (IMHO) to have samurai blood in your family is sort of like an American having an ancestor aboard the Mayflower (or DAR or DAC or whatever group of semi-blueblooded immigrants tickles your fancy).