Types of Kumite


The following notes describe the different types and levels of sparring taught within the S.S.K. These notes are not intended to provide a detailed description of each technique and certainly do not intend to teach the exercises. Instead these notes intend to provide a general description of each sparring exercise.

It should be pointed out that Karate is primarily a physical sport and no amount of purely reading or writing will improve your physical ability. Therefore these notes are only intended to aid S.S.K. students with their physical training.

Collectively the aim of these sparring exercises is to introduce the various aspects of sparring gradually, to enable students to develop their sparing in-line with their grade and ability (in other words you are not expected to fight without first building up the ability and experience). Each sparring exercise is explained below by describing the aim of the exercise, the general form of the exercise (but not a move by move breakdowns, this is for the instructors)

SANBON KUMITE (3 step sparring - basic).

Aim of Exercise: The main aims of this exercise are to teach students about reacting to consecutive attacks and maintaining correct distancing. It also improves the awareness of the defender although the defender knows the ares of attack.the time of the next attack is unknown and the defender must react only to the attackers movement. Finally this exercise gives students experience of having to consistently defend well.

Description of Exercise: This exercise consists of a sequence of 3 consecutive attacks, to the same target area (jodan or chudan punches) All 3 attacks are blocked using the same blocking technique before a final counter attack is made.

Points to watch: On the chudan attacks the attacker should aim to make light contact Finally it is very easy for the attacker to unknowingly indicate that they are about to attack by giving little signs, such as a small initial foot or hand movements or a change in facial expression. The attacker should avoid this in all kumite as it telegraphs the intentions to attack. Conversely the defenders should learn to read these signs to help them react to a possible attack. As with all kihon sparring no contact is made on the counter attack.

IPPON KUMITE (basic one step sparring)

Aim of exercise: The aim of this exercise is to familiarize the student with using karate techniques against a real opponent, which is not readily experienced in kihon or kata. Although this exercise uses only predetermined attacks and defense, the concept of body evasion is also introduced at a fairly early stage.

Description of exercise: This exercise consists of a sequence of individual, predetermined attacks and counter attacks. The individual attacks (a series of 3, 4 or 5)are made in the order, jodan punch, chudan punch, a chudan front kick, a chudan side thrust kick and a jodan (or chudan) roundhouse kick. Although the attacks always remain the same, there are 5 sets of defense and counter attacks to be learnt., on both left and right sides. The defense\counter attacks get progressively harder and complex, and the importance of correct distancing and body evasion is emphasized at an early stage.

Points to watch: learning the 5 different sets often proves to be the most mentally challenging of the 3 Ks (kihon, kata and kumite) as each is different must be learnt on both the left and right sides and there is little thinking time during the exercise itself. When using body ovation to avoid an attack the block should only be used as an extra precaution,however many students believe that they must always make contact with the attack and therefore over stretch or extend the technique so that it becomes weak and out of position. As with all kihon sparring, no contact is made on the counter attack.

JIYU IPPON KUMITE (semi freestyle sparring)

Aim of exercise: jiyu or semi-freestyle sparring introduces the student to a more realistic application of karate techniques and has less emphasis on basic (technically correct) techniques and long stances instead more emphasis is placed on the speed of technique, accuracy of attacks, good distancing and then pulling away (to relative safety) after a counter attack. As in all freestyle sparring, light contact with control is expected of each attack (for safety reasons mitts must be worn at all times)

Description of Exercise: This form of this exercise is very similar to kihon ippon kumite using the same sequence of 6 individual attacks. The differences between this exercise and kihon ippon kumite are intended to make jiyu kumite more realistic. For example the attacker can delay and feign an attack (the defender must only react to the actual attack) light contact with control is expected as all realistic techniques must be able to contact the target the defense are generally more realistic and are often not as complicated as some of the kihon ippon kumite defense techniques can be extended beyond the length allowed by basic front stance pulling back to a safe range once an attack is made is expected as it is dangerous to stay close to an opponent in a real situation.

Points to Watch: Due to the freestyle stances and the emphasis on making controlled contact student often lean forward when punching resulting in a weak technique. Also because students are first introduced to basic kumite they are not used to pulling away after a counter attack and often forgotten to do so. Conversely those that do pull away tend to put too much emphasis on pulling away, resulting in a very flicky counter attack instead of a good strong counter attacking technique.


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