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The tsubais usually a round or occasionally squarish guard at the end of the grip of bladed Japanese weapons, like the katana and its various declinations. They contribute to the balance of the weapon and to the protection of the hand. The tsuba was mostly meant to be used to prevent the hand from sliding onto the blade during thrusts as opposed to protecting from an opponent's blade.
Tsuba are usually finely decorated, and nowadays are collectors' items. Tsuba were made by whole dynasties of craftsmen whose only craft was making tsuba. They were usually lavishly decorated. In addition to being collectors items, they were often used as heirlooms, passed from one generation to the next. Japanese families with samurai roots sometimes have their family crest (mon) crafted onto a tsuba. Tsuba can be found in a variety of metals and alloys, including iron, steel, brass, copper and shakudo. In a duel, two participants may lock their katana together at the point of the tsuba and push, trying to gain a better position from which to strike the other down.
The openings in tsubas are purposely made smaller. They are to be adapted by filing it down to the individual size of the blade tang. Should the opening be slightly bigger for your blade, can it be made smaller by the hammering its edges. Take your time and work precisely to adjust the tsuba opening to your blade tang. Without this adjustment it would be a big coincidence, if the tsuba would fit exactly!
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