A Study of Hikidasu 引き出す- Drawing out the Opponent

This article describes a more advanced technique referred to as hikidasu to create an opportunity to strike an opponent.   It is organized as follows.

  • What is hikidasu?
  • Video Examples
    • Examples of hikidasu with kaeshi-do
    • Examples of hikidasu with de-kote
    • Examples of hikidasu in Shinsa
  • What Makes hikidasu So Effective?
  • Closing Notes
  • References

Acknowledgement:  I would like to acknowledge the teachings of [Fuku] [KendoNotes_Fuku] that first opened my eyes to this technique, Katsushi Chinen Sensei for introducing me to the term and concept of “hikidasu”, discussions with fellow dojo members and finally the articles and videos cited below which helped improve my understanding of this technique. 

Updates:  Oct 26, 2017 – Added two videos demonstrating hikidasu with a de-kote by Katsuhiko Tani (8 Dan).  Oct 16, 2018 – Added videos showing hikidasu in shinsaNov 7, 2018 – Added an additional reason for the the value of hikidasu for those in jodan.

What is hikidasu?

The word hikidasu in Japanese means “to pull, take or draw out” according to jisho.org.  In the context of kendo, Geoffrey Salmon (Kyoshi 7th Dan) describes hikidasu as “pulling your opponent in” [Salmon13].  For example, it could be subtle with a sasoi (誘い) [Danno13_Slow] which translates to “inviting” or “luring” an opponent to come in.   Or, not-so-subtle by “provoking” or “triggering” the opponent to come in.

If the opponent is lured in and comes in to strike, then one has effectively created an opportunity to strike the opponent [Kendo-Guide_3Opportunities] [KendoNotes IpponChance].  Where the opponent is no longer able to block or evade an attack as described in [KendoNotes_Fuku] and, perhaps counter-intuitively, is vulnerable to attack.

It is probably best described with examples.

Video Examples

To illustrate the technique, I searched for and found a number of videos listed below which show hikidasu in matches and instructional demonstrations.  The video speeds are normal or slow.  Common to these particular examples are the following several stages.  First, an “initiator” applies seme and moves forward as if to attack the opponent.  This may include taking a small step forward with the right foot (seme-ashi) as is the case for these examples.  The goal of this first stage is to draw out the opponent – the technique of hikidasu.  Second, the opponent takes the bait and initiates (or is about to initiate) a men strike.  Third, in anticipation of the men, the initiator executes  a strike – which in the following first two sets of videos is limited to a kaeshi-do or de-kote.

It should be pointed out that one can also incorporate “inviting” the opponent as shown, for example, in [Danno13_Slow] at the 1:23, 2:15, 3:00 and 3:49 min marks.

Examples of Hikdasu with Kaeshi-Do

In the first set of examples, the initiator executes a kaeshi-do as the opponent is drawn out to strike men. 

Hikidasu with De-Kote

In the second set of examples, the initiator executes a de-kote as the opponent is drawn out to strike men.

  • [ZNKF10_KF_Normal] from 0:21 min to 0:36 min where Takao Fujiwara (Hanshi 8th Dan) moves in at about the 0:31min mark to draw out Kamei Sensei.
  • [ZNKF15_TaniVsMatsumoto_Normal] from 9:37min where Katsuhiko Tani (8 Dan) moves in while dipping the shinai to draw out Masashi Matsumoto (8 Dan).
    • [ZNKF15_TaniVsKurita_Normal] from 8:00min where Katsuhiko Tani (8 Dan) seems to perform the same technique to draw out Waichiro Kurita (8 Dan).
  • Here’s the technique executed by Koji Kasamura (Hanshi 8th Dan) at both speeds:
  • [Marugameissinkai-Kote] with clear examples in an instructional context.
  • There is a DVD which contains a brief section where Takao Fujiwara Sensei (Hanshi 8th Dan) teaches the technique and exercises to develop it [DVD08].
    • The section is located in the 2nd of two DVDs in [DVD08] in the teaching section for the third group of 5th Dan candidates entitled “藤原範士、相手を引き出す、右足の攻め入り方、(五段受審の部、第三組 ).”

Hikidasu in Shinsa

Here’s a couple of videos showing hikidasu in shinsa Note that it helps to slow down the video speed to, for example, 0.25 to clearly see the initial seme-ashi and/or the slight forward body motion as if to strike followed by the subsequent “real” strike.

What Makes Hikidasu So Effective?

The above video examples should clearly demonstrate the value of this technique to strike an ippon.  There are a number of reasons for its effectiveness.

First, as mentioned at the beginning and explained in [Fuku] (in Japanese) and the English description in [KendoNotes_Fuku], if one were to strike without drawing out the opponent, the opponent could potentially evade or block the strike.  However, by drawing out the opponent, since the opponent would focus on striking instead, the opponent would be unable (or less able) to evade or block.

Second,  control of the timing or trigger to strike shifts from the opponent to the person applying hikidasu.  As described by Salmon sensei in [Salmon1510]:

Sueno [Eiji Sueno (Hanshi 8th Dan)] sensei also talked about the preparation for ojiwaza and compared the difficulty of waiting and trying to counter your opponents timing rather than using seme and hikidasu to make him attack at a time when you are ready for him. 

Third, as explained in more detail in [Fuku] [KendoNotes_Fuku], it can be faster to strike the opponent.  Basically, the opponent has to take a big fumikomi to reach the initiator of hikidasu.  In contrast, however, since the opponent comes in closer, the initiator can take a small fumikomi which takes less time.

The fourth reason is related to the third. As explained in [Kumagorou,その 1] (in Japanese), it is physically easier to strike the opponent.  Since the opponent is coming in, one can take a smaller step to strike the opponent.  Effectively, the opponent is coming in to get hit.  This is particularly important for older kenshi [Kumagorou,その 1].

The fifth reason is related to the first.  As described in the comment by “dream_so_real_1008さん” on 2013/10/31 in [Chiebukuro] (in Japanese), this can be an effective tactic against an opponent (A) in “waiting” mode – waiting for one to come in to strike.  If, for example, one moves to strike men (with no hikidasu), A may be able to strike kaeshi-do or dekote for example.   However, if one pressures A with the right foot, one may be able to detect the “trap”, eventually scare A to strike and create an opportunity to strike A.

The sixth reason pertains to those in jodan.  As explained to me by Katsumi Chinen sensei, it’s highly desirable, from jodan, to strike an area near or on the target (e.g. the shoulder or men).  This is to ensure a natural recoil of the shinai and minimize the burden on the left arm to return to jodan and “reload.”  If the opponent moves out of the way or deflects the shinai, a  large amount of arm power may be required to stop and reload the shinai.  Hence, the desirability for those in jodan to make sure that the opponent is coming in forward to strike – rather than blocking or stepping out of harm’s way.

Closing Notes

For further information on this subject in English, there are three articles by Salmon sensei [Salmon13] [Salmon1509] [Salmon1510] – the only articles in English with information on hikidasu that I could find.   There are many Japanese articles including [Kumagorou] [Yokota] [Yomuken].   As noted therein, seme and the ability to read an opponent are other important aspects associated with this technique.   For example, this technique may be more effective when there is a build-up of pressure (that could be released at any moment) and/or when the opponent seems inclined or primed to strike.

In addition to the two instructional videos cited above, there is a video showing similar exercises for hikidasu 癒しの剣道 基本稽古 (22:39mins) e.g. at the 11:40, 10:42 and 16:42 marks, respectively,  for de-kote, debana-men and kaeshi-men.  For these videos, it’s important to keep in mind that there’s more to hikidasu than simply taking a small step forward.  It requires, for example, a sense of the opponent (his/her patterns, mental state or intentions), a complete readiness to strike and many other points related to seme as summarized in Quotes on Seme (攻め).  As noted by Lorenzo Zago (Renshi 7th Dan) in [Zago]:

Often, we tend to over simplify by associating seme with its physical manifestation, such as a small step forward with the kensen dominating the opponent’s centre.  However, this is just the superficial aspect.


[Chiebukuro] 知恵袋,[剣道 待ち剣の相手を引き出す方法] (Chiebukuro thread on “How to draw out an opponent with a waiting sword approach”), Oct 31, 2013.

[Danno13_Slow] Hiroyuki Danno, 「剣道攻め足研究」 The study of the foot to attack Kendo.100106, (6:27 mins), Feb 27, 2013.

[DVD08] 「剣道模擬審査 四・五段編」 DVD, スキージャナル株式会社 (Ski Journal, Japan), ISBN 978-4-7899-5535-5、2008 (Completely in Japanese with no subtitles).

[Fuku] FUKU先生, 「面打ちたい?勝つために。。。」(You want to strike men?  In order to win…”) Posted on “Kendo – Iaido – Munyukan 剣道 居合道 無入館” (10:41 mins), Nov 17, 2015.

Also can found at:  剣道の基本 1.合い面1 (Basics of Kendo 1. ai-men 1) 4:56 mins by moketo mokomoko (not sure which is the original).

[Kendo-Guide_3Opportunities] Hiro Masafuji, “Three Opportunities to Strike,” Kendo-Guide.com

[KendoNotes_Fuku] On “You Want to Strike Men? In Order to Win…” (面打ちたい?勝つために。。。) – A Video by Fuku-Sensei, KendoNotes.com May 19, 2016.

[KendoNotes_IpponChance] “How to See the Chance for an Ippon (Translation of 一本を取るチャンスの見つけ方 by こごろ一様)”, Kendonotes.com.

[Kumagorou] くまごろうの日記帳、「癒しの剣道」.

[Marugameissinkai-KaeshiDo] 亀武道館一心会 稽古用動画:面返し胴   (48 secs), Oct 15, 2011.

[Marugameissinkai-Kote] 丸亀武道館一心会 稽古用動画:出小手 (51 secs), Oct 21, 2011.

[Salmon13] Geoffrey Salmon (7th Dan), “Passing 6th and 7th dan”, kendoinfo.net, Oct. 21, 2013.

[Salmon1509] Geoffrey Salmon (7th Dan), “Making opportunity,” kendoinfo.net, Sept 13, 2015.

[Salmon1510] Geoffrey Salmon (7th Dan), “Up and down,” kendoinfo.net, Oct. 5, 2015.

[Suzuki1501_Slow] Naoto Suzuki,【機会・打ち方研究】 無理をせず相手を引き出して返し胴  (Study of How and When to Strike – Draw Out the Opponent and Do Kaeshi-Do without Overdoing Things), Jan 12, 2015.

[Suzuki1508_Slow]  Naoto Suzuki,【機会・打ち方研究】我慢して、引き出して返し胴スロー (Study of How and When to Strike – Be Patient, Do Hikidasu and Kaeshi-Do – Slow Motion), Feb 18, 2015.

[Yokota] 横田英行七段審査を振り返って (Looking Back to My 7th Dan Shinsa), Kyushu Electric Power Kendo Club.

[Yomuken] 読むだけで強くなれる剣道ブログ, 出小手は「引き出して打つ」。極めれば勝見洋介, May 26, 2016.

[Zago] Lorenzo Zago (Renshi 7th Dan), “About the meaning of Seme and Tame – Seme? Tame?,” (Translated by Emmanuele Levi).

[ZNKF10_KF_Normal] 全日本剣道連盟, 「第8回全日本選抜剣道八段優勝大会3回戦 藤原―亀井 ダイジェスト」, (Fujiwara vs Kamei, 8th All Japan Kendo 8-dan Tournament 2010 third round), (3:10 mins), April 2010.

[ZNKF11_HK_Normal] 全日本剣道連盟, 9th All Japan Kendo 8-dan Tournament 2011 first round Ust_16, April 2011.

[ZNKF11_HK_Slow] 全日本剣道連盟, Kamei vs Hatakeyama – 9th All Japan Kendo 8-dan Tournament 2011 first round Slow motion (1:09 mins), April, 2011.

[ZNKF15_SS_Normal] 全日本剣道連盟, Kota SASAI -eD Masahiro SHODAI – 63rd All Japan KENDO Championship – Third round 53, Nov 2015.

[ZNKF15_SS_Slow] 全日本剣道連盟, SlowMotion – SHODAI’s D (vs SASAI) – 63rd All Japan KENDO Championship – Third round, Nov. 2015.

[ZNKF15_TaniVsMatsumoto_Normal] Masashi MATSUMOTO -1K Katsuhiko TANI – 15th Japan 8dan KENDO Championship – Third round 25, Apr 16, 2017.

[ZNKF15_TaniVsKurita_Normal] Katsuhiko TANI KM- Waichiro KURITA – 15th Japan 8dan KENDO Championship – Semi final 29.

[ZNKF16_IM_Normal] 全日本剣道連盟, Masahiro INADOMI -1D Isato MATSUDA – 14th Japan 8dan KENDO Championship – Third round 25 v April 2016.

[ZNKF16_IM_Slow] 全日本剣道連盟, SlowMotion – MATSUDA’s D (vs INADOMI) – 14th Japan 8dan KENDO Championship – Third round, April 2016.

[ZNKF16_KS_Normal] 全日本剣道連盟, Hideharu SAKATA -eK Koji KASAMURA – 14th Japan 8dan KENDO Championship – Second round 19, April 2016.

[ZNKF16_KS_Slow] 全日本剣道連盟, SlowMotion – KASAMURA’s K (vs SAKATA) – 14th Japan 8dan KENDO Championship – Second round 19, April 2016.


Copyright 2016 KendoNotes.com




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