When held, the player sheathes the weapon and prepares to use one of two special attacks. Using a normal attack while in Hold will cause the player to bring the katana out in a forward stride, powerfully slashing horizontally for 130% of the weapon's Attack Rating and inflicting 150% of the weapon's base Poise damage. Using a strong attack will cause the player to quickly perform a parry with the blade, increasing absorption across the board by 50% during and shortly after the parry frames.
Use of this skill can be quite powerful in the hands of a good offensive-minded player, depending on the specific enemy. The normal attack allows the player to get in a powerful attack inside a short window while moving forward, useful against enemies whose attacks have small recovery times and long reach. The strong attack allows the player to parry without the need to equip a shield in the off-hand, which can be handy depending on the equipment loadout, though in order to conserve FP simply carrying a parrying tool in the off-hand can be more economical.
It should be noted that remaining in the Hold stance for any duration of time will telegraph intentions to any opponents; much like equipping a parrying tool in the off-hand, smart players will immediately know that an attempt to parry may be coming. As such, it is ideal to try to perform either of the attacks immediately without remaining in the stance for any period of time, to give opponents no chance to react.
The normal attack has a short delay and strong forward momentum, which makes it ideal for roll-catching defensive opponents who attempt to roll away the moment they see an attack movement. The lunging motion gives the weapon increased reach, making it ideal for offensive movements and striking targets that think that they are out of range of the weapon.
The parry has the same startup and a similar number of active frames as a dedicated parrying shield, meaning that under the right circumstances it is possible to parry another player on reaction. However, caution should still be exercised as entering the Hold stance will require a slight delay, and remaining in the stance will invite an easy backstab.