I recently started wondering why kime is promoted in that high degree in karate circles (at least in Shotokan).
Kime or kimeru as everybody knows (I guess) means to fix, to set or to decide.
So I understand kime as the fixiation at the end of a certain technique due to muscle tension.
But why do most people spend years to train being relaxed all the time and than suddenly at the end of a technique do that kime thing? Is there any combative relevance?
I have experienced the following. Hitting with kime feels a lot weaker than hitting relaxed.
That is may be because the fixiation of a punch causes a massive deterioration of speed.
And speed is an important factor for hitting hard.
I only found one reasonable explanation.
Joint protection, when doing Kihon.
When hitting the opponent or another target you do it relaxed. The fist is stopped by making contact and you can not straighten the arm further. But when punching thin air, there is nothing that can stop the straightening of the arm and that could cause damages to the joints (e.g. elbow) over a long period of time.
But is Kime only for joint protection?