Ashina Elite Jinsuke Saze - known as just the Ashina Elite to most - is the next fight in Sekiro, found in the game's Ashina Castle area, following on from General Kuranosuke Matsumoto in our walkthrough of the game's bosses and mini-bosses, and indeed not long after him in your progress through the game.
You'll find Ashina Elite Jinsuke Saze waiting for you in a dojo-like room on the inside of Ashina Castle, near the top.
Below, we'll cover how to beat Sekiro's Ashina Elite Jinsuke Saze, including any particularly strong methods or weaknesses they might have and any handy things to bear in mind.
For more guides and pages like this, meanwhile, cycle back to our main Sekiro walkthrough and boss guide hub.
Sekiro Ashina Elite Jinsuke Saze - how to beat and kill the Ashina Elite
The Ashina Elite can be beaten in two ways: going toe-to-toe with him and deflecting his rapid slash attack, or by baiting him into attacking and catching him with a quick counter of your own, and repeating.
Going for the deflecting option is tempting, because he more or less uses just the one attack - barring the odd punch or elbow here and there - and it's a 'simple' one to counter, requiring just one, very fast double tap of L1/LB.
This issue is that it is incredibly fast, coming almost out of nowhere, with only a minuscule amount of time to react to his movement before you're hit. The good news if you do fancy beating the Ashina Elite this way though, is that it is at least telegraphed quite clearly, at the last second.
What you need to look for, as shown in that image above, is the little silver glint that appears by his waist just before he lunges. Double-tap the block button as soon as you see that, and you'll successfully parry his attack. That's just much easier said than done because that attack is just so fast.
How to beat the Ashina Elite Jinsuke Saze without parrying
If you don't have superhuman reflexes, then there is another way to do it: you beat the Ashine Elite in the same way you beat the Blazing Bull, by circling him at sprint speed, baiting him into an attack that only hits thin air, and getting a quick couple of hits in on his side after he misses you.
First, get some free damage off on the Ashina Elite by rushing him in the following way - he has very low health, which is key to how you beat him.
Sprint into the room and either hold the attack button to lunge at him, or perform a Whirlwind Strike attack if you have the skill unlocked (which we strongly recommend you do). Follow that with one attack then instantly block (he will immediately try to hit you in most cases) and back away. This will chunk about a fifth of his health off, meaning his posture recovers slower and you've got a head start in the fight.
Looking for more Sekiro pages like this? First up, the first main Sekiro patch notes for update 1.03 are live. Otherwise, our Sekiro boss guide, boss list and walkthrough hub has everything in one place, including pages on Lady Butterfly, Genichiro Ashina Way of Tomoe, Folding Screen Monkeys, Corrupted Monk, Guardian Ape, Great Shinobi Owl, Emma and Isshin Ashina, True Corrupted Monk, and Divine Dragon. We also have in-depth pages like Sekiro tips and tricks to get you started, Sekiro Skills, skill tree and Esoteric Text locations explained, our deep dive on the Sekiro combat system, Posture, and Perilous Attacks, or details on all Sekiro Prosthetic Tool locations, how to cure Dragonrot and Rot Essence in Sekiro, Gourd Seed locations, a Divine Confetti farm route method, all Treasure Carp Scale locations, all, Prayer Beads locations and all Snap Seed locations, too. And when you're ready - the how to beat Isshin Sword Saint and an Isshin Sword Saint cheese, plus the many Sekiro endings.
After that, get circling. Back away several yards, and sprint around him in a big circle in one direction (we preferred clockwise as it seemed easier to avoid his attacks from that side of him).
Try to clear all of the screens and structures in the room as you go at this early stage too, because you'll need to be able to see him at all times.
Now, keep circling until you find a rhythm, at a distance where he won't try to attack you because you're too far away. Then, just dip in and out of range, whilst still circling, trying to tease an attack out of him but always still circling and always immediately going back out of range as soon as he starts to move.
You'll notice he will try to attack you with the usual lunge, but miss - if you're doing it right - always attacking where you were, rather than where you now are. That's what you now to need to exploit.
Repeat it, baiting him into attacks that only hit thin air, and quickly land a Whirlwind Strike on him from the side when he does so. Immediately sprint away again out to safe range, manoeuvre him back into the middle of the room again if you got a bit close to one wall, and repeat. You'll need to do this about seven or eight times for each of his two Deathblow Marks, but it doesn't take long at all when you have the knack.
If you're struggling, just keep trying until you get the feel for it, and remember to never stop sprinting until he's attacked and missed, instantly get a couple hits, and go back to sprinting in this big circle around him. Get it right and he'll go down in no time.
That's all you'll hopefully need for tackling this encounter. Next up in our guide is Seven Ashina Spears Shikibu Toshikatsu Yamauchi and Lone Shadow Longswordsman - or you can go straight to Genichiro Ashina, Way of Tomoe by simply darting out the window on the left and following the rooftops clockwise and upwards round the building - or you can cycle back to our main Sekiro walkthrough and boss guide hub for much more explainers and advice.