The Withdrawing Hand
Hikite (te means hand and hiki means drawing in) is a classic action in traditional martial arts, especially in Karate.
Traditionally we are taught that this is to generate greater power in our strikes, more focus (Kime) and even balance. It helps generate greater hip rotation as it converts the power of the stance into the arms and hands.
But it never made much sense in combative application as fights do not coincide with this type of body action, so what could a deeper meaning be?
In conventional methods, we could have grabbed the opponent and pulled them (As the extended punching action was used as a push) over our extended knee (as this image portrays. However there are more efficient and safer leg positions for such a throw that the Karateka could use. So how are we to find deeper meaning in this as well as all Kata actions, postures and transitions?
Now this action not only delivers more power, it also contains many practical self protection methods other than the simple punch, or rear elbow. As example, from a clinch position:
- The withdrawing hand could be a pulling knuckle to the facial nerve behind the jaw.
- Or the withdrawing hand could pull the opponents shoulder to stretch the neck for a front punch to the carotid sinus (a nerve and blood vessel rich Kyusho target) to the nerves of that stretched area.
- Or the withdrawing hand could pull the opponents shoulder to stretch the neck for a forearm strike to the nerves of that stretched area.
- Or the withdrawing hand could have grasped on to the carotid sinus area or even the windpipe itself as it pulls to inflict damage.
- Or the fist could have gripped the carotid sinus from behind to pull as the forward push turns and unbalances the opponent.
- Or it could be that the pulling fist is striking to the back of the jaw on the facial nerve root (with the small finger knuckle as in a hammer fist type attack), as they extending fist has grabbed and pushed the jaw or shoulder simultaneously.
- Or even an arm bar type action on the elbow tendon, where instead of simply rubbing the tendon to cause the neurological dysfunction, you simultaneously pull the wrist (nerves) with the withdrawing hand as the forearm attacks the elbow tendon.
As long as you have Kyusho targets in mind, you have so many possibilities to add depth and potency to even the most simple and common moves in your Kata or Style.