If I strike someone, why on Earth would I pull my other hand back so that the fist, palm upwards, was by the side of my lowest rib, and my elbow pointing backwards? Is that merely silly? A sensei tells me to practise hikite. Oh, OK then.
An aim I have is to strike in a state of no-mind (if I use the word correctly)- the autonomous nervous system does what it need do, and my fist comes out with the right force to the right place. I might also say, striking with my Qi. If my conscious mind judges what I do, I become tense and robotic, so that my strike is less powerful. So I practise striking the air to learn what the ideal muscle movements are, so that I can later make them, without thought. Striking the air must satisfy any tuptophilist desires. But why would pulling back the other fist be part of that?
I am bothered about the strength of my strikes. Perhaps I need more press-ups. Oestrogen takes away muscle strength, which is why the IOC allows trans women to compete as women. (That link- I can’t actually find the recommendations themselves.) Oh well, try it.
As I perform the different set blocks, slowly, I concentrate on that hikite of the other limb. The full force of the striking limb should exert just before contact, rather than throughout the strike, and the pulling back of the other limb occurs in that moment. It seems that the movement of both limbs enhances the force of the striking or blocking limb, even though the torso stays in the same place and the withdrawing limb goes in completely the wrong direction. The sense is clearest in the blocks- I contract the back muscles on both sides at the same time, and that feels powerful. In a strike, it is the chest muscle on the striking side that contracts: the value of hikite feels less. In the mirror, however, I see my hips moving as I strike: this could be the way of putting the hips into the strike.
In sparring, I want to use my other limb for a quick follow-up strike, or at least to block possible blows. Having it by my side seems useless. One rule of interpreting kata is that “a hand returning to chamber usually has something in it”- grab a wrist or arm or hair.
Speculating wildly, perhaps mammals fighting, being more open, prevents males doing too much damage to each other; or it could have something to do with the efficient way a quadruped walks or runs, moving opposite limbs alternately.
Taigyoku shodan, first kata. At my level, I am allowed to have two stages, preparing then moving. First count- prepare: place left foot, look to left, left fist at right shoulder preparing for gedan berai; then move- turn at hips to face left while sweeping the left hand down; at the last moment pull the right fist into chamber. With force. Having so much to think of before it may flow without thought, I need to practise each count separately and repeatedly. And- it appears that the hikite may increase the force of the block. Unless I am just fooling myself.