It seems to me, on reflection, that (especially for "Elite" forces [generally given the best new toys and training, e.g. non-lethal weapons in SWAT], or "Holy or Spiritual" Protectors of August personages) one will notice (if able to historically go back far enough) that the , call em Elite Warriors, have always started as other rank and file; but, as technique/weaponry/or plain Cool Attitude grew the 'Rules of Engagement' for the Elite slowly discarded or MODIFIED a "Peasant" weapon faster....Consider the poor and humble Tessen, not the Iron cudgel made to pass as a fan in 'polite 'society....but the Iron ribbed color you can see coded to command troop movements. Is this "Fan" not also a shield, just made PC...as a shield it hides what the other hand is doing, the heavy lacquered paper strong enough to deflect or at least stop full penetration of a variety of hand thrown weapons, the ribs sharpened at the tips to slash or jab as a shield...no self respecting Samurai following the code of Budo would be seen in the "Down home Shield Shop"; but, if it keeps one cool, works as a non-verbal command in battle, and just happens to look neat while functioning in tighter circles and quarters...a shield is a shield...unless the mores of the time dictate your Elite warrior status shun it for lower classes only (not quite same so in Chinese Weaponry, methinks)... cocky Samurai, kicks are for trids

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