Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Japanese Samurai sword- A history well preserved

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The Japanese Samurai sword is legendary and even a mention of this sword inspires both awe and reverence. It is actually hard to separate the Samurai warrior from the sword he wields, as the weapon is so fused to his personality, almost a natural extension of his physicality. Samurai warriors eulogized virtues such as bravery, fierce family pride, and selflessness. They were followers of “The Way of the Warrior” or Bushido, the path of the warrior as honor, emphasizing duty to one’s master and loyalty to death.

The main weapon of these noble and fiercely loyal warriors were their swords. It was a task for every samurai to maintain his sword, with respect and care. It takes time, patience and an effort to maintain a historical sword.The Samurai sword or Katana is made of carbon steel and carbon steel is prone to oxidation and corrosion. Therefore, the sword needs proper care like cleaning and oiling on a regular basis. A thin layer of oil works as a shield between the Samurai sword and air. Maintenance of any historical sword is a matter of patience. You have to be disciplined for sword cleaning and checking on regular basis. At least two to three times cleaning and oiling in a year is needed to keep the katana intact. It is important to remove the stale oil and applying the new oil time to time, and for this you just have to take a soft and fine fiber cloth and glide it through the sword to remove any dust or moist.Once your sword is oil free take the Uchiko powder ball. Uchiko powder consists of very fine particles of multiple types of polishing stones which has a very slight abrasive effect but is too soft to cause scratches so it's perfect for cleaning. Apply the powder on the blade by tapping the ball directly against the steel. Apply the powder liberally to both sides of the blade over the entire length. Wipe off the Uchiko powder with a fine cloth after this entire process.Now, take a small cotton cloth, put some drops of light mineral oil on it and apply it all over the sword carefully. Keep in mind, it is a weapon so you should be careful while handling a sharp object.

Though cleaning and oiling are the most important part of the maintenance ritual for the Japanese Samurai sword but don’t miss a crucial last step – which is keeping the historical sword into the sheath. The scabbard plays a major role in keeping the katana in a good condition. The first and foremost rule for every katana owner,is to not leave the katana in the open without its scabbard.  A katana should be kept inside the scabbard and always follow the safety rules while taking out the katana either for maintenance or for practice.

Owning a Japanese sword is considered a deeply rewarding and personal journey. It is believed that in time the right Japanese sword will ultimately speak to you, reminding us of an old Japanese saying “the spirit within the sword always chooses its rightful owner.”

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