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Samurai Castles – The Secret Skills of the Samurai

While not a traditional martial art in itself as most know it, the fighting style of the Japanese samurai is still one of the most respected and mythical to this day. Still even now the samurai sword is one of the most coveted and respected weapons from history. These swords were treasured for their sharpness and were highly regarded with not only their military superiority but spiritual significance as well. But perhaps what is less known about the samurai is the great strategy they put into building and fortifying castles during their day. Among 2 of the most famous that still stand today are the Matsumoto Castle (built in 1594) and the Kumamoto Castle.
These castles truly give an insight into the great strategy and tactical thinking that went into making the samurai so famous. Far beyond just wandering swordsman, these elite castles built for protecting Japanese nobles featured large moats, cannon proof walls and specially designed stairways. In fact the whole surrounding area of the castles were intricately planned including the roads that were designed specifically to funnel any opposing forces into focused lines of fire.
The interiors of these castles were created from top to bottom to keep out invaders and to enable the samurai inside to defend them. Hallways were built just wide enough for samurai in full armor to navigate and stairways were built steeply to make it more difficult for invaders to make their way up on the inside. In contrast to common thought, in their last years the samurai were well armed with cannons and rifles. So the walls and turrets of these castles not only featured means of dropping rocks onto their enemies but had holes to shoot from as well. These castles are open to the public as museums today and feature armories showing off a wide range of  martial arts supplies and weapons including samurai swords.…