A kiri otoshi is one of the most basic attacks in Japanese swordsmanship. It consists of bringing your weapon (be it katana, shinai, bokken, or iaito) over your head and then slicing downward directly in front of you. It is a completely vertical slice that would effectively cut your opponent in half.

Two of the trickiest things in trying to master the basic kiri otoshi are the follow-through and the ending.

During the follow-through, the student should always remember to pull the blade slightly towards themselves. The katana was never meant to be used in a hacking action like the axe. Pulling the blade allows the razor-sharp edge to do its slicing work.

During the end, one thing to master is a wringing of the wrists. This allows you to stop the momentum of your weapon without the blade bouncing, which makes your attack look far less amateurish (whether it's being done during an exhibition or just to show off in front of friends).

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