The user of the technique holds his sword in the Dragonfly Stance (蜻蛉構) with the sword positioned vertically above the right shoulder before running forward at his opponent and then cutting diagonally down on their neck in the Kesagiri position while delivering a loud kiai (traditionally, "Ei!").
It is said that students of this style practice Jigen-ryū by striking a vertical pole or tree with a bōken or jō. At the peak of its popularity, Jigen-ryū practitioners were said to practice the strike three thousand times each morning and another eight thousand times each afternoon. During a hard practice, the wood is said to give off the smell of smoke.
The famous soldiers of Satsuma who joined the ranks of the Ishin Shishi during the Bakumatsu were often schooled in Jigen-ryū and made it notorious in combat. Lt. Ujiki of the Tokyo Police Sword Corps used this style in a skirmish against Himura Kenshin, but was soundly defeated by Himura's Hiten Mitsurugi-ryū.