A naginata consists of a oval wooden staff with a short sword's blade one end. Some were made custom to have a staff as long as its user was tall, and a blade a foot or two long, making this weapon longer than its user was tall.
A naginata was used mainly as an anti-cavalry weapon. Due to its length, one could knock a samurai off of his horse and finish him off with the blade. It had an advantage over a sword, at range, naginata would easily rule out any advantage of upper body strength and keep its wielder out of their opponent's reach. Sometimes, if a ninja managed to kill a samurai, he would take his naginata and swords because they were better than many of their weapons. Ninja liked the way it could take down a samurai from slightly further away. Of course, their downsides was that they could not be concealed and up close, one's amount of attacks was greatly limited.