By Yossi Sheriff

Katana (刀), ( קטאנה, חרב יפנית), is the word for "sword" in the Japanese language. It is also used specifically for a type of Japanese backsword or longsword (大刀 daitō) in use after the 1400s: a curved, single-edged sword traditionally used by the samurai.

Pronounced [kah-tah-nah] in the kun'yomi (Japanese reading) of the kanji 刀, the word has been adopted as a loan word by the English language; as Japanese does not have separate plural and singular forms, both "katanas" and "katana" are considered acceptable plural forms in English.

For an extensive Weapon techniques list and videos go to the Traditional weapons portal

Image of AKBAN veterans with KATANA

From 2011 AKBAN desert gathering

katana on back
Katana in Rucksack at at the desert gathering

Image of Bokken above a Katana

katan in the desert
Bokken above a Katana

The katana was typically paired with the wakizashi or shōtō, a similarly made but shorter sword, both worn by the members of the warrior class. It could also be worn with the tantō, an even smaller similarly shaped blade. The two weapons together were called the daisho, and represented the social power and personal honor of the samurai. The long blade was used for open combat, while the shorter blade was considered a side arm, more suited for stabbing, close quarters combat, and seppuku, a form of ritual suicide.

The katana was primarily used for cutting, and intended for use with a two-handed grip. It is traditionally worn edge up. While the practical arts for using the sword for its original purpose are now obsolete, kenjutsu and iaijutsu have turned into gendai budo|modern martial arts. The art of drawing the katana and attacking one's enemies is iaidō.

Authentic Japanese swords are fairly uncommon today, although genuine antiques can be acquired at significant expense. Modern katana and wakizashi are only made by the few licenced practitioners that still practice making these crafted weapons today.

List of Katana sword drawing technique on this wiki

Video List of Katana sword drawing technique on this wiki

List of all the Katana stances on the AKBAN wiki

Video list of the Japanese Sword stances

list of Katana kata on this wiki

Video list of Katana kata on this wiki