HISTORY OF BLADE

Blade Limited was established by Phil Head in 2005.

“As a professional coach and player for many years, I am confident that my products are of the highest standard and will meet my clients expectations every time. Manufactured in the same factory as other top brands and specifically engineered to meet both the needs of amateur enthusiasts and professionals alike….you will find a racket to suit your style.

BLADEsmall.jpgI have found it difficult over the years to find good quality bags, strings and grips and recently decided to add these to the Blade range. I have taken great care to select and develop what I believe to be a great range of good quality and good value accessories. I am very passionate about squash and constantly strive to improve upon even the tried and tested. If you have any comments on any of the blade range I would love to hear from you…”

Yours in squash
Phil Head


    NINJA  File-Ninja-kanji.png

File-Hokusai-sketches---hokusai-manga-vol6-crop.jpg

A ninja (忍者) or shinobi (忍び) was a covert agent or mercenary in feudal Japan who specialized in unorthodox warfare. The functions of the ninja included espionage, sabotage, infiltration, and assassination, and open combat in certain situations. Their covert methods of waging war contrasted the ninja with the samurai, who observed strict rules about honor and combat. The shinobi proper, a specially trained group of spies and mercenaries, appeared in the Sengoku or "warring states" period, in the 15th century, but antecedents may have existed in the 14th century, and possibly even in the 12th century (Heian or early Kamakura era).

In the unrest of the Sengoku period (15th–17th centuries), mercenaries and spies for hire became active in the Iga Province and the adjacent area around the village of Kōga, and it is from their ninja clans that much of our knowledge of the ninja is drawn. Following the unification of Japanunder the Tokugawa shogunate (17th century), the ninja faded into obscurity, being replaced by the Oniwabanshū body of secret agents. A number of shinobi manuals, often centered around Chinese military philosophy, were written in the 17th and 18th centuries, most notably theBansenshukai (1676).

By the time of the Meiji Restoration (1868), the tradition of the shinobi had become a topic of popular imagination and mystery in Japan. Ninja figured prominently in folklore and legend, and as a result it is often difficult to separate historical fact from myth. Some legendary abilities purported to be in the province of ninja training include invisibility, walking on water, and control over the natural elements. As a consequence, their perception in western popular culture in the 20th century was based more on such legend and folklore than on the historical spies of the Sengoku period.


    SAMURAI   File-Samurai-shodo.svg.png

File-Samurai.jpgSamurai (侍?) [bu͍.ɕi̥] were the military nobility of pre-industrial Japan. According to translator William Scott Wilson: "In Chinese, the character 侍 was originally a verb meaning to wait upon or accompany persons in the upper ranks of society, and this is also true of the original term in Japanese, saburau. In both countries the terms were nominalized to mean "those who serve in close attendance to the nobility," the pronunciation in Japanese changing to saburai. According to Wilson, an early reference to the word "samurai" appears in the Kokin Wakashū (905–914), the first imperial anthology of poems, completed in the first part of the 10th century.

By the end of the 12th century, samurai became almost entirely synonymous with bushi (武 士), and the word was closely associated with the middle and upper echelons of the warrior class. The samurai followed a set of rules that came to be known as bushidō. While they numbered less than 10% of Japan's population samurai teachings can still be found today in both everyday life and in modern Japanese martial arts.


SHOGUN

File-Minamoto_no_Yoritomo.jpgA shogun (将軍 shōgun)  (literally, "a commander of a force") was one of the (usually) hereditary military dictators of Japan from 1192 to 1867. In this period, the shoguns, or their shikken regents (1203–1333), were the de facto rulers of Japan though they were nominally appointed by the emperor. When Portuguese explorers first came into contact with the Japanese (see Nanban period), they described Japanese conditions in analogy, likening the emperor, with great symbolic authority but little political power, to the Pope, and the shogun to secular European rulers, e.g. the Holy Roman Emperor. In keeping with the analogy, they even used the term "emperor" in reference to the shogun/regent, e.g. in the case of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, whom missionaries called "Emperor Taicosama" (from Taiko and the honorific sama)

The modern rank of shogun is equivalent to a generalissimo. Although the original meaning of "shogun" is simply "a general", as a title, it is used as the short form of seii taishōgun (征夷大将軍), the governing individual at various times in the history of Japan, ending when Tokugawa Yoshinobu relinquished the office to the Meiji Emperor in 1867.

A shogun's office or administration is known in English as the "office". In Japanese it was known as bakufu (幕府?) which literally means "tent office", and originally meant "house of the general", and later also suggested a private government. Bakufu could also mean "tent government" and was the way the government was run under a shogun. The tent symbolized the field commander but also denoted that such an office was meant to be temporary. The shogun's officials were as a collective the bakufu, and were those who carried out the actual duties of administration while the Imperial court retained only nominal authority.


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