How To Hold A Katana Properly? (Hand Position Break Down)


How To Hold A Katana Properly? (Hand Position Break Down)

How To Hold A Katana Properly_ (Hand Position Break Down)

As someone interested in Katana-based martial arts, you have undoubtedly come across multiple instructors emphasizing the importance of gripping the handle. Kanata benefits from a precise grip style like most other delicate bladed weapons. 

In iaitō and other modern katana styles, the grip focuses on flexibility. You would hold the katana with your left hand at the bottom and your right hand close to the guard in the standard grip. The katana after fully drawn should be at a 45-degree angle. 

Most of the cutting motion of a katana comes from the wrists. Learning the correct way of drawing the katana from its sheath to transition into the standard grip is also crucial. Today's article will focus on how to hold a katana properly.

Holding Katana Hand Position1

How To Draw A Katana From Its Sheath?

Katana is a two handed sword. That means the katana tsuka length is designed to sit two hands. To draw a katana correctly, you need to place the katana correctly. The curve of the standard katana goes downwards, as opposed to Tachi. It should also stay on your left side. It is the same for left-handed people too. No katana style does things in reverse.

The first rule of proper katana drawing is holding the hilt gently with your right hand. In most styles, the standard practice is to grip the handle gently with your thumb going below the Tsuka Maki or hilt. Your other four fingers should stay above the Tsuka.

Now gently pull the blade out by putting more pressure on your middle and ring finger. This is the standard style of drawing a katana; different techniques may emphasize the index finger or middle finger to change the drawing motion slightly.

After you draw the katana, it should be at a 45-degree angle to your mid-section. Now, to know the position of your katana after it has been unsheathed, hold out your left hand like in the image below. Your wrist should be at the naval level and the index finger will direct the position of your katana.  

Proper Hand Position For Gripping A Katana For Cutting

After the initial drawing of the blade, your grip needs precise adjustments to achieve the optimal stance.

The Right Hand

After pulling out the katana in the way stated above, it should stay at a 45-degree angle on your palm. This angle measurement is crucial; hold your palm out and make sure the handle aligns with the base of your index finger and the lower part of your wrist.

Holding Katana Hand Position3

After you perfect the alignment of the blade, use your thumb (which should now stay on the top) and middle finger to form a lock. This lock needs to stay firm but also retain some flexibility.

Now your index finger will govern one side of the lock. The ring and little finger will do the same on the other side. You can gain more swinging motion by strengthening and releasing the tension from these fingers.

Note that the lock formed by your thumb and middle finger needs to stay stationary throughout the entire process.

The Left Hand

The left-hand stays near the bottom of the hilt. The grip on your left hand should mirror what you did with the right hand, but from the other side. 

Use your left hand to initiate the swinging motion and your right to guide the angle. Also, make sure that the katana blade aligns with your hand and faces forward.

Holding Katana Hand Position4


The katana is an elegant yet dangerous weapon that is extremely technique sensitive. From unsheathing it to holding it in position, every step of that transition requires precise rules to be followed. Hopefully, this write-up will allow you to do that without any issue. 

Make sure to practice your drawing regularly. But don’t forget to maintain extreme caution. 

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