I have a question I would like to pose to Karl Friday if he would be so kind as to answer it, but, of course, I would welcome input from anyone who wishes to give it.

I am very interested in swordsmanship, and based on what I've read, the sword was used rather sparingly on the battlefields of the Sengoku period in Japan, while the primary arms of the day (after 1543) were the spear, bow and gun. It appears that the sword assumed an entirely secondary role to the above weapons, like a back-up or a side-arm. My question is, if this is true (correct me if it's not), then why did so many samurai, such as Tsukahara Bokuden, Kamiizumi Hidetsuna, Yagyu Muneyoshi, etc and their followers, dedicate their lives to the study of the sword? If the main goal of a samurai's martial training during this period was to be able to succeed on the battlefield, then why would they spend so much of their time learning and developing techniques for a secondary battlefield weapon insead of focusing their attention on, say, the spear, since it seems to have been the principle arm in battle?

Any information on this would be greatly appreciated.