Although I wrote this small article for Karate, it also applies to Kobudo so I have decided to include it here as well:

Hiki-Te (Pulling Hand)

This is a term that I refer to in Karate as the preparatory hand. The hand that is ready to strike or receive an attack. It is of course much more than this as it is the hand that has just finished a movement, such as in a block or a strike etc.

Most students tend to forget about the importance of this hand until they need it to strike with it or to block with it. They forget the hand that has just has just applied the technique and concentrate more on the hand that is applying the technique.

Before I carry on let’s just look at the term Hiki-Te. What does it mean? Well Hiki translates as “pulling” and of course Te is “hand”. So Hiki-Te is pulling hand. So, although I refer to the hand on the side of the ribs as Hiki-Te (which has just finished pulling) the hand extended is now the pulling hand, see picture:

The student in this picture has just committed a strike with her left hand. However, just prior to this strike the Hiki-Te hand (Right hand now on her ribs) has just finished pulling.

Most low kyu grade students only concentrate on the pushing hand in the strike (left hand in picture) and little attention is paid to the pulling action of this Hiki-Te. Why is it important? Well firstly there is a balance of rotation between both hands, equally pulling and pushing causing the correct centrifugal force that is needed in the strike, or block. Secondly it reinforces the momentum that is generated from our hips equally Thus, providing the power in the technique.

Hiki-Te is not only related to Karate, but also to Kobudo as well, no matter what the weapon is we should always not forget the Hiki-Te. See some example of where it can be applied below:

Similar to a strike in Karate


Although the hands are now linked with this Bo, it is important that the pulling hand does provide the same acceleration as the pushing hand to help create a powerful strike.

So, next time you train in either Karate or Kobudo, think about Hiki-Te and pay some more attention to it.