A warrior needs the sword for self-improvement. The most accomplished of all weapons, its magnificence is confirmed the first time one feels it in their hands.
The katana is full of poetry and spirit; threatening and spiritual at the same time. The katana is so dangerous that when an unprepared person grasps it he immediately feels incompetent. Indeed, the slightest lapse in caution can have severe consequences. The katana is so sharp that a slight movement can inflict a serious wound.
But if a person practices katana, it will gradually restructure and focus his mind.
If a person can handle a katana, it means he has achieved a high level of concentration. If a warrior can wield a katana blind-folded, it means he has developed a deep spirituality and reached the highest awareness.
Painting "Like Sakura Petals" by Tatiana Berg
A warrior appreciates life and respects death.
V. N. Morshankin
The samurai discovered long ago that the katana forges the spirit. They turned training into an existential practice, a magic rite, the philosophy of action and total activity similar to the katana itself. After all, the katana incorporates all aspects of the samurai philosophy. Its strike is momentary as is the theory of living in the moment. The katana is as glorious as a samurai’s soul, intrinsically just, determined and resolute. Everything becomes clear when you hold the sword.
A warrior appreciates that life is an opportunity to improve the spirit through the body. Having the ability to execute lightning-fast movements using the sharpest implement of karma, he respects that death is the door to rebirth. Concentrate on the sword point!
Two Masters once decided to compare their swords whose blades were stuck in the bottom of a leaf-littered stream. The first sword was forged by Master Muramasa, a violent and unbalanced man who was rumored to be in contact with demons. While this bladesmith’s swords were valued for their destructive power, they were believed to have murderous energy, influencing their owners to kill. True to form, Muramasa’s sword sliced through all the leaves that sailed by its direction.
In contrast, devout Buddhist Masamune’s swords imparted a sense of peace, thus shielding their owners. Legend has it that one of Masamune’s swords jumped out of its scabbard and into its owner’s hands at a dangerous moment, whereas another refused to slay its host and stuck itself into a stone.
Likewise, Masamune’s swords were rumored to be the best advisers. As the story goes, if these swords were placed in a stream any stray leaves floating in it would be protected by an invisible barrier which would guide them around the blade unscathed. And then there’s the tale of the dead butterfly which was resurrected after brushing by these mystical swords. Most of these were destroyed by the ruling clan Tokugawa, and the remainders passed on through the generations as highly valuable heirlooms.
A man who has thoroughly mastered the art does not use the sword, and the opponent kills himself; when a man uses the sword, he makes it serve to give life to others. When killing is the order, it kills; when giving life is the order, it gives life. While killing there is no thought of killing, while giving life there is no thought of giving life; for in the killing or in the giving life, no Self is asserted. The man does not see ‘this’ or ‘that’; he makes...
Read further in Samurai: Spirit of the Warrior
This an abstract from the chapter "Sword" from Spirit of the Warrior by A. R. Berg