Ken Sabaki - Nukitsuke

Drawing Cut

Key Points

Ensure that your draw is at the appropriate speed for the waza or technique you are practicing.


Your left hand releases the sword by pushing the tsuka free from the saya with the thumb in an act called 'koiguchi no kata' (opening the carps mouth). This should be done so that your opponent does not notice your preparation for combat.


Push the sword away from your body with you right hand along your centreline and towards your opponents eyes so that they cannot determine the length of your sword, how much is drawn and protects you behind the handle (tsuba).


While you push the sword forward 'draw' the saya back with your left hand (this is known as saya-biki).


Use your index finger and thumb to feel the bohi on your blade - when you can feel the end of the bohi your sword is drawn enough ready to cut.


Rotate the saya with the left hand to turn the sword to the required angle.


Ensure that your cut is 'big' and strong.


At the end of the cut ensure that your swrod is in a position where it applies pressure from the cutting edge or kissaki on your opponent.

View Clip

Sword Movement

Nukitsuke is the 'life of Iaido' or 'life giving sword'. 


Remember that as long as your swords remain in the saya you and your opponent will live. Once drawn both lives hang in the balance and it is for this reason that the draw is performed slowly where possible to allow you or your opponent to de-escalate the confrontation.


There are many variations of nukitsuke including cuts from different angles, blocks and counter attacks but all are designed to give you the advantage at the beginning of an engagement and this assure your victory.