Opening Shirasaya

1. Never pull or jerk the blade out with the power of your arms or you will lose control of the blade and possibly damage the saya (scabbard), yourself, or others. Use only small hand muscle movements to loosen it before drawing.

2. When unsheathing, make sure the edge is up, then pull just enough (a few mm) so that the habaki (blade collar) disengages its tight hold on the saya, then the blade may be easily and smoothly drawn, resting on the mune (spine) as it slides out.

3. One way to accomplish the initial part of the draw is to place a hand loosely on either side of the joint, topmost thumb knuckles together and then squeeze. The knuckles push against each other for only a short distance but it is enough to start the blade out in a controlled manner (this way is slightly more difficult and may take some practice)

4. Another method is to grasp the tsuka (handle) and saya tightly with a little space between your hands and then use your saya thumb or forefinger to push against the other hand or against the tsuba (handguard), if it has one, until the release.

5. To replace the blade in the saya, make sure the edge is up, rest the tip in the koiguchi (mouth of the scabbard), and slide it in smoothly, keeping the edge up and resting it on the mune (spine) until the habaki engages again.

**Do not force all the way closed if it is very tight due to climate or humidity, close until just tight enough to safely stay closed and monitor carefully as conditions change.

***Loose scabbards may be corrected using a small rectangle of washi paper attached with rice glue inside the scabbard where the spine of the habaki rests.

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