Wednesday 9 August 2023

Koryu Karate: Highlighted by HIKITE

One of main strategies of 古流空手 (koryu ‘old school’ karate), which is a constant throughout kihon, kata and yakusoku-kumite is “…to grab, pull and attack”.


This is highlighted, for majority of the time, by the 引き手 (HIKI-TE).


My theory is that this ‘constant physical action to apply karate techniques with optimal effectiveness’ was one of the technical reasons why Funakoshi Gichin Sensei strongly disapproved of karate competitions. It is obvious, that hikite when applied in the aforementioned classical sense, is purely for self-defense as opposed to a karate match or any form of combat sports.


Considering this point further, this is why people often say: “Why is Kata so different from Kumite and so seemingly unrelated?” At least for me, it seems these logical assumptions perfectly concur with Funakoshi Sensei. Isn’t that ironic. Well, I guess, not really.


For many years I’ve personally been practicing Shotokan as Budo/Bujutsu in the koryu manner—personally encouraged by Master Asai; however, the basis remains the JKA style as refined by Nakayama Masatoshi Sensei. Without this strong Shotokan foundation, one cannot maximize physicality. Nonetheless, without the understanding, practice and application of koryu karate, shotokan—even when claimed to be traditional, is actually mitigated to a sport: irrespective of being labeled budo or otherwise.


Returning to the 引き手, the idea of “…pulling back one fist or hand to the hip (or in front of the solar plexus) and impacting with the other”—to ‘make more power’ or ‘to have cleaner technique’—is actually embarrassing and, to be honest, totally stupid.


Am I attacking competitions. No, not at all. However, karate if only trained for competitions (or, more commonly, ‘in the competition way’—without knowing it) is unreliable as art of self-defense and is detached from Bujutsu.


The old school application of hiki-te is one of the major technical points that blatantly elucidates this.



アンドレ  バーテル

          © André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2023).

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