Wakizashi – Samurai Short Sword
Traditionally, Japanese samurai wore two swords (daisho) which consisted of the longer Katana and the shorter Wakizashi. All though occasionally the daisho could consist of a Katana and Tanto combination.
Wakizashi are used in Japanese sword-based arts such as Kenjutsu, Ninjutsu and Budo/Bujutsu. The typical length of a Wakizashi blade is around 20 inches with the handle being around 6 inches. A Wakisashi is typically used one handed as opposed to the two handed grip of the Katana.
As with the smaller Tanto, the Wakizashi is more suited to close quarter and indoor fighting. In Kenjutsu, the Wakizashi is used to practice Tameshigiri (cutting techniques) along with the Katana. In some sword schools such as Musashi’s famous Niten Ichi Ryu (two heavens school), the Katana and Wakisashi are used simultaneously with a katana in one hand and a Wakizashi in the other hand. Other sword combinations include 2 Katana, Katana and Tanto, Tanto and Wakizashi, and so on. In addition, Niten Ryu techniques can be performed using the sword and the saya (scabbard).
Like Katana, Wakizashi were traditionally constructed from folded steel (although nowadays there are excellent practical mono steel Wakizashi available).
Video Demonstration of the Wakazashi – Samurai Short Sword