Re: "blocking" with japanese sword
Another point on tsuba: You need one to draw the sword correctly. Koiguchi No Kiri Kata is the movement used to flick the tsuba to free the seal keeping the blade in the saya, I believe.
As for 'Samurai armour' It changed over the centuries/decades and so did the swords in accordance.
In the heian Period the armor was what people think of as typical samurai armour, wood/leather/bamboo and had the huge shoulder pads (which you could argue were shields) which were for trapping/deflecting arrows as most warfare was horse mounted archery in those days. Swords in these days had very hard, very sharp edges as the armour didnt offer much resistance.
In the 16th century after the introduction of the matchlock to japan, armour was modified to make it shot proof. More metal was used, particularly steel/iron. Chain mail was introduced underneath the plate, similar to european armour. This armour was very resistant to gun shot and so swords were given a broader, slighlty softer edge so that they would not damage as much upon striking the armour. Also, european armour modified to japanese taste was seen as a status symbol and display of wealth. See the suit of armour Tokugawa Leyasu wore during the battle of Sekigahara, it is housed in Nikko Shrine Mueseum at the minute I believe.
Also there were several other contraptions such as a wicker cage worn across the back with a cape over it to catch arrows, it was generally associated with messengers on the field who would be racing to deliver a message to a general and needed to reach their goal before they were shot in the back by the enemy.
Last edited by Nick Simpson : 08-04-2005 at 06:14 AM.