Kumite means sparring, and is one of the three main sections of karate training. Kumite is when a Karateka practices skills against an adversary (partner), using the techniques learned from Kihon and Kata. Kumite can be used to develop a particular technique or a skill for example effectively judging and adjusting your distance from your opponent and applying correct timing for effectiveness of your footwork, blocks, strikes and kicks
There are three main types of Kumite. Yukusoko Kumite, is a prearranged sequence between two students. One student will usually attack, and the other will defend. Sometimes there is an exchange of attacks and defenses. In our dojo there are sessions to prearrange the attack and the defense, and others where the attack is prearranged and the defense is improvised.
The second type of Kumite that we teach is Jiyu Kumite or continuous fighting, not choreographed, where a student must improvise and adapt to the opponent. Beginners will be instructed to develop control and accuracy first followed by speed and finally adding power. In doing this it may seem like a student is pulling punches, when actually they are developing technique first. The level of fighting, speed and strength of the attacks will vary according to the rank of the Karateka. The sensei will ensure that a suitable level of contact is used based on the skill and experience level of each partner. Jiyu Kumite is an essential part of karate training. Free sparing is often exciting because both opponents have to react and adapt to each other very quickly.
Karate training is designed to give its practitioners the ability to deliver devastating power through techniques like punches and kicks. Often the aim of training is that each single strike should be enough to subdue the opponent. However, this clearly would make it difficult to train due to the possibility of injury. For injury purposes, certain targets are discouraged, for example strikes to the joints and any face contact for low ranks. Many schools prohibit strikes to the groin area. Goju karate is renowned for allowing groin strikes. In our Schools these techniques are only permitted with control from Brown belt (3rd Kyu) and above.
The third type of Kumite is Ippon Kumite or tournament point fighting. Some karate schools are very dedicated to this type of kumite practice as the students learn to strike with speed and train to avoid getting scored upon, after one single and effective point is scored then the fight is paused to allow the judge time to award a point or half point to the karateka which delivered the effective blow.
There are criteria which govern whether a scoring point was effective or not and this type of kumite can be scored in a subjective way. A technique with “good form” is said to have characteristics conferring probable effectiveness within the framework of traditional karate concepts. Sporting attitude is a component of good form, as is Vigorous application which defines the power and speed of the technique and the palpable will for it to succeed. Correct distance and timing is always considered.
Unfortunately Awareness (Zanshin) is often missed when a score is assessed. It is the state of continued commitment in which the contestant maintains total concentration, observation and awareness of the opponent’s potentiality to counter attack. The other necessary component most overlooked is the attackers grounding while delivering the attacking blow, this is where a Karateka yields their power, and is often frustrating to see a point given where grounding and awareness is missing. Sport s Karate has its place in Karate however Goju Karate Australia training ensures a focus on Jiyu Kumite