However, while the samurai of the Tokugawa era (1603-1868) revered the sword as "the soul of the samurai," the weapon that defined the samurai throughout the early medieval period was the horse and the long bow. During early medieval times, the bow was the soul of the samurai.
These samurai carried a sword but it was not their primary weapon. The sword was the equivalent to the modern soldier's sidearm. The long bow was the medieval samurai's "assault rifle."