what is hikite

引き手 or simply 引手 can be translated as knob, handle or catch.

Within Budo the translation is usually the pulling back of the hand. This is also logic if you analyse the Kanji seperately.

引 = hiki (hiku = verb) = to pull

手 = te = hand

Hikite is most commonly described as the pulling back of a punch or the position at the side of the chest. Hikite itself indeed refers to pulling back, but not necessarily a punch. In fact, any movement after attacking with your arm can be classified as Hikite. Since we are practicing Budo, which you can see as a specialisation, words such as Hikite are not always clear. In the summer of 2015 for example, I was in Japan. Since I can read several Kanji I was able to discover the true meaning of Nagasu on the toilet..

Of course I am not serious with this example, but it does show that the meaning of or behind a word can be quite different in daily life as opposed to using it professionally. The same goes for Hikite.

Hikite does not only describe the pulling of the hand and the end position, but also the function.

Hikite as a term within Karate, is attributed to different forms:

  • The pulling back of the non punching hand
  • The position at the side of the chest 
  • The pulling back of a strike or punch

1/3 pulling back your fist from kamae

The fist has a start (1) and a final position (2). For convenience sake, let's assume that your arm is stretched. The action of bringing back your fist from the stretched position to the end position at the side of the chest is one of the Hikite. The name of the action is therefore called Hikite, which actually takes place between picture 1 and 2.

1. Arm streched 
(start position)


2. Arm pulled back 
(end position)


The action of pulling back is called Hikite. 

Having said that, the end position is called Hikite as well.

2/3 position at the side of the chest


The end position of the action at the side of the chest is also called Hikite. Although there are numerous of possible positions if you are going to check inch by inch, you could categorise the end positions of Hikite in three heights. 

what is the correct height of hikite?

In this video, I explain the three different heights of Hikite and will share the answer of Hironori Ohtsuka senseis answer to this question:

3/3 pulling back a strike or punch


It is commonly known that when it comes to sparring you have to pull your punch, called Hikite.

For beginners and competition type of fighting, Hikite is well known for its big and visible movement - especially for Tsuki.

For Uraken, there is also Hikite.   

three reasons why to execute hikite for uraken in this manner

In this video I demonstrate two ways of doing Hikite for Uraken and will explain which one I prefer over the other based on three reasons.