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Kumite: the secret of Karate effectiveness
What is Kumite in Karate?
Karate training is divided into 3 sections:
Kata (sequences of pre-arranged movements, read Are Karate's Kata, Kung Fu's form (etc.) useless?)
Kihon (the techniques that have derived from Katas)
Note - This article has been asked by one of our Core Course practitioners on Patreon (see how to attend our home study classes here Learn Kung Fu online: a beginner-to-expert course).
In terms of combat effectiveness, Kumite is the most important part: the one where a practitioner faces a training partner in a controlled friendly fight (ruled by specific limitations, read The 6 types of martial clash).
The types of Kumite
They are gradual and have different goals:
Ippon kumite - 1 step sparring
Sanbon kumite - 3 steps sparring
Gohon kumite - 5 step sparring
Kiso kumite - Sparring sequences drawn from the Katas
Jiyu ippon kumite - 1 step semi-free sparring
Jiyu kumite - Free sparring
A note by Master Kongling - Kumite nowadays is also known as an Olympic competition but that version is so rules and therefore "artifact" to be incredibly far from the idea of a real fight (this without detracting from its complexity, martial beauty and athletic preparation of its contenders; we are simply saying that it is a sport).
The goals of Kumite
The main objectives of this practice are:
Develop dynamic balance (read The concept of Dynamic Equilibrium)
Improve the knowledge of specific techniques (read A scheme to quickly learn any kind of technique)
Strengthen the body (read Conditioning check for the impact)
Strengthen the student's character
Work on speed (read Speed and quickness)
Improve spatial intelligence (read The most important skill in combat)
Last but not least, learn what does it mean to fight (read How to use martial arts in a real fight).
Why Kumite (sparring) is so important
If a karateka (and any other type of martial arts student) truly want to learn to fight, he / she has to fight (read How to learn to fight: all the steps).
The fact is that most people do not understand that no matter if a martial artist:
Is incredibly muscular
Is as fast as lightning
Knows 1 million techniques
Is capable of performing formidable acrobatic stunts
Has practiced for 30 years
Executes the preordered sequences (forms, kata, etc.) as a tiger
If he / she has never done sparring, in 90% of the cases, he / she is not at the level even of a random martial arts beginner who has constantly practiced sparring (even only for 1-2 years).
A note by Master Kongling - It is clear that the ones we have listed are all amazing and worthy of respect capabilities but let's do not get fooled: people get good at what they do and practically never at what they don't do (read Why martial arts do not work: 5 reasons).
Does 6 Dragons Kung Fu have a sort of "Kumite"?
Yes, 6 Dragons Kung Fu has different sparring types and the idea of creating more than one directly comes from Karate.
The difference is that instead of designing a gradual path, we have also chosen to create specific sectors of application. In our Kung Fu, exist many controlled contexts with precise rules, aimed to reach precise goals.
The list of our sparring mehods is here: The meaning of sparring fighting in martial arts.
A note by Master Kongling - In our vision, sparring has nothing to do with violence (read Violence and martial arts: the difference), competition, pride (etc.): it is a form of group study to improve the martial skills of a practitioner, nothing more, nothing less (read How to do sparring).
In-depth video courses
Basic 6 Dragons Kung Fu Exercises - A video course about the fundamental practices to build real martial skills (sparring included)
4 Tips to effectively apply any fighting technique - 4 necessary aspects to consider for combat application of any technique
Conditioning to pain: hitting our body - Impact conditioning basic prearation for Kumite / sparring
Reply in the comments and share your experience:
Have you ever practiced Karate?