In a manga about boxing, a character is explaining what the famous Muhammad Ali's phantom/anchor punch is. The phantom punch is basically a fast punch landed over the opponent's punch, but I can't entirely understand the character explanation:

ファントムパンチかよ… パンチより早い〝引き手〟に合わせるカウンター…

What is the meaning of 引き手? I understand it has to do with pulling something, but I can't see how it fits the context. Also, being between quotes, I think it could have a metaphorical meaning. Here you can see the whole page, while here you can se a video of the phantom punch in slow motion. Thank you for your help!

  • I think that possibly in both boxing and martial arts, 引き手 refers to drawing the dormant(?) hand back in order to carry more upper-body momentum and power to the punching arm, which leaves one open to a counterpunches. Represented here and here under 'mistake #2
    – BJCUAI
    Jan 24, 2018 at 10:07

1 Answer 1


I think this 引き手 pretty straightforwardly refers to the movement of the fist returning to the body after a punch was thrown. When you throw a punch, it's always followed by a 引き手. A normal counter punch starts being thrown when the opponent's fist is still coming toward you. But this "phantom punch" starts after the opponent's punch was thrown. It needs to be extremely fast, as you can see in the video. Note that パンチより早い modifies 引き手に合わせるカウンター as a whole, not 引き手 alone. This パンチ is actually パンチに合わせるもの or パンチに合わせるカウンター.

A counter punch that is thrown over (the opponent's) 引き手, which is (a counter punch) faster than (one thrown over an approaching) punch...

These quotes are used to indicate 引き手 is not a common established term. They add the nuance of "so to say", "as one might call it" or "so-called". 引き手 seems to mean something else in karate, but it's not a common boxing term.

  • 元の日本語は分かりづらいので、「(向かってくる)パンチではなく〝引き手〟に合わせて放つ、早いカウンター」と言い換えた方がいい気がします。
    – naruto
    Jan 24, 2018 at 6:25

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