Katana, the swords carried by Japanese samurai, are the sort of weapons which generate legends. Carried with the cutting edge facing forward in the scabbard, katana made one-stroke combat an art among bushido masters. Iaido, the practice of drawing the sword, is still one of the most advanced skills of that martial discipline.
If you find martial arts of interest, you know the katana is one of the most fascinating of the old weapons. Katana are deceptively simple in appearance, but the more you learn about them the more impressed you are by their hidden complexity. Many people today not only collect katana, but train in their use. Good swords are available in several levels of quality, designed for Iaido or for cutting practice as well as display. With a good katana in hand you get the feeling that what you’ve seen re-enacted in movies just might be possible.
If you have a generous budget the traditional combat quality katana is still available. Combat katana blades are forged from layers of tough low carbon steel surrounding a core of high carbon steel cutting edge. Traditional katana underwent a special clay tempering process which left a distinctive mark called a hamon along the blade. The best katana still show the true hamon, while today’s reproductions mimic this sign of quality with etching.
For those who look to the katana for inspiration rather than pure function, the Bushido Katana Set offers quality suitable for display.
Step up to tamashigiri, the art of striking, with this fully functional cutting katana, the Kyoumou Tora.
Combine the best modern steel with the traditional forging and tempering methods and you get our pick for the best katana — the Damascus Katana from Hanwei Forge. Combat quality at a reasonable price.