The samurai were a walking arsenal of weapons. Not only did they carry a long sword and a second, shorter blade (wakazashi or tanto), but they would most likely have on their person a variety of other, smaller back-up weapons.
My instructor has recently returned from Colorado where he has been taught a range of new kata. One such set of kata concentrate on the use of the tetsubo (iron bar) in combat. This bar is approximately 1 foot long and may or may not have a curved extension on it like a half sai. The kata are very direct and brutal with target areas being the neck, ankles, knees and head. In some cases I believe the iron fan can be substituted for the bar. Last night for our Wednesday training we were taught the 5 kata concerning these secondary weapons. The tetsubo/iron fan was worn on the opposite side to the swords and used used in times when the sword was not accessible for whatever reason.
Another weapon of the samurai was the metal implement tool, it basically looks like a really sharp chop stick and was used for a variety of things outside of combat. Of course, being practical types, the samurai learned how to defend themselves with such a tool. I have yet to see the kata associated with that weapon.
I am really enjoying not only seeing these techniques demonstrated but also participating in the kata. It is becoming obvious where similar body movements and principles are overlapping from earlier kata I have been taught.
This is an exciting time to be in TSYR and with the news that Toby Threadgill will be travelling to NZ in December with two senior members of the ryu it can't get any better, can it?