Alternate Reality
(split 2233)

Hikaru Sulu activating his sword

The expanded sword

A retractable sword was a hand-held weapon, with a blade that could be retracted by pressing a button on the hilt. When sheathed, the blade was entirely contained within the hilt, making it small, compact and easy to carry. When released, the blade extended rapidly to a length of approximately one meter by unfolding in segments.

Hikaru Sulu owned a retractable sword and used it on the Narada's drill platform above Vulcan in 2258, to fight off a pair of Romulans. (Star Trek)

In the script of Star Trek, Sulu instead "kick[ed] off an antenna piece" which he proceeded to use "as a saber."
The blade was hand forged for the scene by David Forline. (citation needededit) In form when fully extended, the sword resembled a katana, a traditional Japanese sword.
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