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Types Of Swords

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While there may be hundreds, maybe even thousands of types of swords throughout history, we will break down for you the main types and give you a brief description of each type.

Japanese Sword Types

Katana - A katana is a Japanese sword and was considered the soul of the Samurai.

Wakizashi - A wakizashi is a shorter version of the katana and was used either by itslef, or in conjunction with the katana.

Tanto - The tanto was the knife of the Samurai.

Odachi - The long sword of the Samurai. Usually not carried into battle these huge swords were usually meant for decoration and to test the smith's skill.

Ninja-to / Ninjato - a straight bladed Japanese sword with a square guard used by Ninja

Medieval Sword Types (Western)

Hand and a half sword - Also known as a bastard sword or Longsword. The term "hand-and-a-half sword" is relatively modern (from the late 19th century). This name was given because the balance of the sword made it usable in one or two handed styles

Single hand sword - As the name implies, this swords handle only accommodated one hand, but the blade was balanced in a way that made this possible to wield the sword quickly.

Broadsword - This sword usually had a broad blade at the hilt that tapered down towards the tip and were double edged.

Great Sword - These massive two handed swords had huge handles and could be as long as 72"!

Scimitar - This sword, used by the Saracens against the crusaders had a very curved blade for maximum slashing power. A really balanced scimitar is also used for dance routines.

Messer - A German style sword with a single edge. Literally means "Big Knife".

Gladius - This sword, used by the Romans, was usually double edged and shorter than other swords.

Claymore - A Scottish two handed sword which was a variant of the two handed long sword.

Backsword - A backsword is a type of European sword characterized by having a straight single-edged blade and a hilt with a single-handed grip.

Rapier - A European sword used for thrusting attacks, also known as a fencing sword

Chinese Sword Types

Dao - A Chinese style sabre used for slashing attacks

Dadao - Another Chinese slashing sword with a wide blade and two handed grip

Pudao - A long blade on a long staff, similar to a naginata

Tai Chi / Jian - A Chinese straight Sword

Did we miss any of your favorites? Say so in the comments below!

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