The naginata (glaive) is a weapon with a curved blade (around 30 to 60 centimetres) at the end of a wooden shaft, which typically measures between 1.2 to 2.4 metres long. Originally, it was the primary weapon of foot soldiers and warrior-monks during the eleventh to fifteenth centuries. However, its usefulness in battle waned after the introduction of firearms in the sixteenth century. Naginata then evolved into a martial art practised primarily by women during peacetime in the seventeenth century. Today, it has become a thrilling sport similar to kendo, although some still study the traditional schools. Naginata has transformed over time but has always aimed to foster personal growth and mind-body harmony. Thousands of people worldwide, mainly women, now practise naginata to achieve these ideals.