Most of us are familiar with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Leonardo fights with two katana, one in each hand. In every other movie I have ever seen in which katana appear, they are treated as a two-handed weapon.

Does anyone really use two full sized katana at once?

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    This could be an okay question if you dropped the reference to a cartoon.... – slugster Aug 11 '15 at 5:38
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    My downvote is because your question shows you did no research whatsoever. 'nuff said. – Sardathrion - against SE abuse Aug 12 '15 at 12:28
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    I guess part of the question I'd have is, what sort of answer are you looking for? A brief search on the web will find reference to fighting with two swords, nitoken or nitojutsu. Miyamato Musashi wrote of wielding one sword in each hand. To my understanding, this is generally taught with the off-hand having a smaller sword, about 2/3 the size. However, I'm sure that we can find a picture of someone fighting with a katana in each hand if we want. Are you looking for famous cases? Anyone? Does it have to be full-size in each hand? – Macaco Branco Aug 12 '15 at 18:05
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    @TheWudangKid It's not as simple a matter as you suggest. Katana are not, and were not, a uniform size (and sword size and shape was largely dependent of the fashion of the age). Ko-, chu-, and o- all exist as linguistic size modifiers for sword size. There is even some weird crossover with references to o-wakizashi (great short sword) and ko-gatana (short long sword). I think the terminology (like in the West) is largely a product of modern attempts at classification. Historically, it was probably just a weapon made to the specifications of someone's personal preference or perceived need. – Zen_Hydra Jun 6 '16 at 15:14
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    @TimothyAWiseman Musashi's intent was for a swordsman to train to be ambidextrous in order to wield a katana in one's off-hand if their dominant hand was no longer able. He was all about practicality and using the right tool for the job (and very importantly, de-mystifying the cult of the sword). His Niten Ichi-ryu has techniques for using the katana and wakizashi together (and separately), but not really using two equal length weapons (it would have been gauche two wear two katana in Musashi's lifetime). I'd also argue that two unequal length weapons have advantages over two of equal length. – Zen_Hydra Jun 6 '16 at 15:25

There are a few forms in Tenshinsho-den Katori Shinto ryu. I know they exist, but was not able to progress to that level in my local school. Here is a link to a video of the style. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2xmfyZSn80


The book of five rings, written by Miyamoto Musashi around 1645, advocates two-sword fencing style (nitōjutsu): that is, wielding both katana and wakizashi.

He does, however, states that you should use two long swords while training!!


This would be within the realms of possibility. I would not rule out the existence of some kata for this, because there are hundreds of Japanese sword schools. But, it is unlikely.

To understand why, you need to know what a katana is. It is not a general term for a Japanese sword. It is not a weapon designed for the battlefield. A katana was one of the swords carried as a marker of social privilege (and responsibility) by the members of the Military Government. The other was the wakizashi.

They form a pair, because the katana is a long sword for two hands which is not suitable for all occasions. Indoors for example.

So, there are some techniques for dual wielding katana and wakizashi. But not very many. Situations where it might be useful include corridors and when surrounded.

But since people did not carry two long swords, there is no reason for there to be techniques for fighting with two long swords.

History aside, there are also mechanical problems. If you really want to use both hands, it would be far better two use two one-handed swords.


As Sean said, nito ryu teach the way to fight with a katana and a wakizashi, but in real fight, on a ground battle, a samurai could use those technique with a second full sized katana. I practised it and i don't remember any technique which wouldn't work with two katana. There is some Kenjutsu Dojo that are able to teach it if you wanna try it

  • Do you mean ground battle as in on foot (as opposed to horseback), or as in grappling? – The Wudang Kid Sep 9 '15 at 11:52
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    Excuse my bad english I meant huge battle between two armies, a samurai surrounded by many ennemies could grab a additional sword from a fallen foe to defend himself – Erchos Sep 9 '15 at 12:31

Dual wielding of equal weapons is relatively rare in warfare historically. Wielding a smaller secondary weapon is much more common (e.g. rapier + parrying dagger, katana + wakizashi, tomahawk + longknife). However, there are a few cases (though all of these are 'small' weapons, none the size of katanas):

  • Dual sai (Okinawan martial arts)
  • Dual butterfly swords / dual hook swords (Chinese martial arts)
  • Dual siccae / dual gladius (dimachaerus)

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