Very early in Sekiro, you’ll face your first mini-boss. You’ll find General Naomori Kawarada just past the Ashina Outskirts > Outskirts Wall – Gate Path Sculptor’s Idol. It’s a tough fight when you’re less than an hour into the game, but it’ll teach you several tactics that you’ll be using throughout the rest of Wolf’s journey.
Approaching General Naomori Kawarada
From the Outskirts Wall Sculptor’s Idol, grapple to the roof of the gatehouse. If you haven’t yet, make sure you grab the Shuriken Wheel from inside the hallway. Cross the roof heading to the left (away from the Sculptor’s Idol) to the clearing on the far side. Pick up the Pellets, then head along the left side of the arena — you’ll see General Naomori Kawarada below you.
Keep moving forward to the gate at the far end of the arena. To avoid getting spotted, stick close the the rock wall and don’t stop moving.
Use the gatehouse to cut to the right. You’ll end up standing above and behind the general. Lock on to him, then jump off the roof toward him. Hit R1/RB when you see the red glow to execute a Stealth Deathblow. This will cut his health in half before the fight even starts.
General Naomori Kawarada boss fight
You’ve been introduced to the fundamentals of Sekiro, and this fight will cement them in your mind. This is where you’ll put blocking, attacking, and even some new moves into practice, all in the same fight.
After you land your first Deathblow, back away a little and start blocking. Don’t worry too much about Deflects in this fight — it’s not worth opening yourself up to the chance of missing a block.
This fight — like most fights you’ll have in Sekiro — starts with your enemy rushing toward you with an attack. What you’re waiting for is his Perilous Attack — an unblockable, horizontal sweeping swing of his sword. He’ll take a distinctive stance when he’s about to do this and a bright red kanji will appear over Wolf.
As soon as you see the symbol, jump and then jump again. This move is called a Jump Kick. It gets you out of the way of the unblockable attack and — just as importantly — it deals substantial Posture Damage to the general.
After his sweeping attack, block any other attacks he throws at you. Keep blocking his regular attacks and Jump Kick whenever he sweeps. Again, don’t worry so much about Deflects. The penalty for missing is enormous, and it’s so early in the game that you won’t be great at them. It’s just as easy to beat him without using tons of Deflects.
His other Perilous Attack is a grab. You cannot block grabs. If you see him reach back with his left (non-sword) hand and the red kanji appears, dodge or jump away. If you can, follow your dodge with a Dodge Counterattack by hitting the attack button right after (we didn’t pull this off above).
Just keep blocking, dodging, Jump Kicking, and sneaking in a hit whenever you can. Don’t rush the fight or press the attack if you’re not comfortable. Your goal isn’t necessarily to deal Vitality damage (his health at the top left of the screen). If you can fill his Posture damage bar (the yellow one at the top center of the screen), you’ll get a Deathblow no matter where his Vitality is.
When you fill his Posture Damage about halfway, he’ll back away and strike a pose with a gray mist around him. This completely resets his Posture Damage. If you can rush in close and land a hit or toss a shuriken, you can interrupt him. If you can’t, don’t worry about it and just keep up with the same tactics.
Land hits whenever you can — even if he blocks them, you’ll still deal Posture damage. Watch for his Perilous Attacks and Jump Kick to deal even more Posture damage. With some patience, you’ll break his Posture and land your second Deathblow.
General Naomori Kawarada rewards
After defeating General Naomori Kawarada, you’ll get a Prayer Bead and a Gourd Seed.
Take the Gourd Seed to Emma at the Dilapidated Temple to increase the number of times you can use your Healing Gourd. (While you’re there, make sure you install the Shuriken Wheel in your Shinobi Prosthetic, if you haven’t already.)
You’ll need to collect three more Prayer Beads before you can cash those in at a Sculptor’s Idol to increase your Vitality and Posture.