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There are a lot of choices when it comes to buying a sword. Just keep these important factors in mind and you will be very happy with your choice.

There are various types of Japanese swords, or nihonto, available today. Both antique swords as well as modern versions can be purchased depending on your preferences. A variety of these swords are made by a manufacturer, while the authentic swords are made by hand by a sword smith. When buying a sword it is important to understand the method by which it was made

The Katana is the most common type of Japanese swords and is a long, single-edged sword with a curved blade. Katana's were most commonly used by the Samurai as early as the 1400's. Samurai's were Japanese warriors in feudal Japan and were considered to be a nobility military class. The Samurai used a variety of weapons, including the Manrikigusari, bow and arrows, and the spear, but the weapon of choice for the Samurai was the Katana.

Another popular Japanese sword style is the Ninja sword. Ninja's were warriors in Japan at the same time as the Samurai that were specifically trained to use unconventional war techniques, such as assassination, sabotage, and martial arts. The original ninjato [ninjaken] was shorter than the Samurai Katana. This length gave the Ninja an advantage when they meat with their Samurai opponents. The Ninja could quickly get the sword out of the scabbard which would give them an advantage from the start.

Japanese swords are often purchased as decorative items. Quality and strength of the blade is not necessarily a factor when the sword will only be used as a show piece. But, there are three things you need to be particularly aware of:

1. The strength of the blade is determined by the manufacturer during the heating treatment. If this process is not properly done the ninja sword may end up being too soft and will dent easily. Verify that the blade was manufactured according to standards.

2. The sword must be properly balanced. If the sword is not properly balance it will not allow the user to control the sword as correctly.

3. Check to make sure the ninja sword handle and blade are forged together. This creates a much stronger sword.

So, if the sword is to be used strictly for a collector’s item the visual appearance is the most critical factor. However if the sword is meant to be used for sword practice or sword competitions make sure the sword is listed as 'fully functional' and keep in mind the treatment, balance, and forge of the sword.
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