When asked to name a martial arts weapon, most people will probably mention the nunchaku, but the second choice will probably be the samurai sword, the nihontō or katana. It has been glorified in movies and on televising for decades, most recently in the television show, Highlander. The sword, the katana, is woven through the entire tapestry of Japanese culture. It was chosen to be one of three items in the Imperial Regalia, the other two being the mirror and the jewel. Samurai swords were made by honored craftsman and were revered by the owners. Drawn in a "sky-to-ground" manner, it was worn in the belt on the left side, edge upward. Employed on foot or horseback as a thrusting weapon the katana was used in battle, competition and in ritual deaths.
In addition to the long sword, the samurai would frequently carry a shorter blade, the shuto.
Samurai would also carry a short knife, the tanto.
Samurai swords were the ultimate weapon of their time, but they have no use as a present day self-defense weapon.