WHAT IS KUMITE?
Kumite (fighting) is taught in various formats and levels of difficult from beginner through to blackbelt. All kumite is practiced with control when working with a fellow student or opponent in competition.
Gohon Kumite / Sanbon Kumite [ Five Step / Three Step Sparring]:
Beginners first learn kumite through basic drills, of one, three or five attacks to the head (jodan) or body (chudan) with the defender stepping backwards whilst blocking and only countering on the last defence. These drills use basic (kihon) techniques and develop a sense of timing and distance in defence against a known attack.
Kihon Ippon Kumite [One Step Sparring]:
At around purple belt level karateka learn one-
Jiyu Ippon Kumite [ Free Step Sparring]:
The next level of kumite is freestyle one-
Jiyu Kumite [Free Sparring]:
Free sparring (or free style) is the last element of sparring learned. In this exercise,
two training partners are free to use any karate technique or combination of attacks,
and the defender at any given moment is free to avoid, block, counter, or attack
with any karate technique. Training partners are encouraged to make controlled and
focused contact with their opponent, but to withdraw their attack as soon as surface
contact has been made. This allows attacking a full range of target areas (including
punches and kicks to the face, head, throat, and body) with no padding or protective
gloves, but maintains a degree of safety for the participants. Throwing one's partner
and performing takedowns are permitted in free sparring, but it is unusual for competition
matches to involve extended grappling or ground-
Dojo Kumite & Competition Kumite:
Kumite within the dojo often differs from competition kumite. In dojo kumite any and all techniques, within reason, are valid; punches, knife hand strikes, headbutt, locks, takedowns, kicks, etc. In competition certain regulations apply, certain techniques are valid, and certain target areas, such as the joints or throat, are forbidden. The purpose of competition is to score points through the application of kumite principles while creating an exciting and competitive atmosphere, whereas the purpose of training kumite in the dojo is to be prepared to kill or cripple an opponent in a realistic situation.