Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is a tough game and some of the toughest enemies early on are the guys with shields or the little rat men with wooden hats. Their shields/hats deflect all of your sword blows making them tricky to take down head on.
This is where the loaded axe prosthetic comes in. Once equipped the axe will make short work of these enemies making them incredibly easy to take out.
You need to find the Shinobi Axe of the Monkey, which can be found in the Hintari Estate area.
From the Estate Path shrine head forwards towards the gate that you may or may not have opened yet. There will be a few guards on the way including a couple of archers so take your time and take them out. In my video below I’m a bit reckless and end up having to use a resurrection.
You can see this in video form below:
Once through the gate take a right at the next open gate. There is a guy hidden in the house straight ahead of you and two guards to the right who you can eavesdrop on if you wish. They are stood in front of a small temple. Take out these guards and open the door to the temple. Inside you will find the Shinobi Axe of the Monkey. Take this back to the sculptor and there you have it, the Loaded Axe is now yours.
Have fun smashing shields!