Kumite (Japanese : 組手, literally "grappling hands") is one of the three main sections of karate training, along with kata and kihon. Kumite is the part of karate in which a person trains against an adversary, using the techniques learned from the kihon and kata.
Kumite can be used to develop a particular technique or a skill (e.g. effectively judging and adjusting one's distance from one's opponent) or it can be done in competition.
Since the word "kumite" refers to forms of sparring, it covers a vast range of activities. In traditional Shotokan karate, the first type of kumite for beginners is gohon kumite. The defender steps back each time, blocking the attacks and performing a counterattack after the last block. This activity looks nothing like the jiyu kumite (or "free sparring") practiced by more advanced practitioners, which is far closer to how karate would look if used in a real fight, especially because it is not choreographed.
Many schools feel it is important that karateka "pull their punches". 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. Many beginners, while sparring, will be instructed to develop control and accuracy first, then speed and power later. In doing this, it may seem like the student is pulling his punches, when actually, he is developing technique first. For injury purposes, certain targets are discouraged, like strikes to the knee and face contact for low ranks. Many schools prohibit strikes to the groin, while others allow it completely. Some schools might limit contact to light contact all around, while others may employ power usage at higher grades.
All types of sparring allow the martial artist to develop both control and experience in delivering powerful strikes against an opponent. In full contact karate, punches are often "pulled" to some slight extent in training, to minimize the occurrence of injuries that would interrupt practice. However, some karate schools use protective gear in free sparring, so that strikes can be delivered closer to their full power. Most karate clubs and most styles of karate combine some controlled full-contact sparring and some sparring with protective gear (from gloves to feet pads and up to full head and even chest guards such as in taekwondo).
However, a few more traditional clubs that never use protective gear for sparring (except groin and mouth guards that protect against accidental injuries) argue that a karateka will not be able to make their most powerful strike when sparring in the dojo (against a friend whom they no doubt do not want to injure) even if this opponent is wearing protective clothing. Therefore, the karateka will still be using some level of control, as is obviously necessary, and cannot truly capture the spirit of one lethal strike whilst sparring. Except for a life or death self-defense situation, the spirit and power of the single lethal strike can only be achieved when a karateka does not have to avoid injuring their training partner. The traditionalists therefore argue that there is no benefit to sparring with more forceful strikes.
However, in Kyokushin Karate no paddingis used and fighters don't "pull their punches" as fights are finished by knockdown.
In some forms of competition kumite, punching ("tsuki") and kicking ("geri") techniques are allowed at the head ("jodan") and abdomen ("chudan"). In some tournaments, face contact is allowed, sometimes limited to senior practitioners. One example of a scoring system is that the first competitor to take eight points in three minutes wins the bout.
Kumite is an essential part of karate training, and free sparring is often experienced as exciting, because both opponents have to react and adapt to each other very quickly.
In tournaments kumite often takes place inside of a 'ringed' area similar to that of a boxing ring. If a karateka steps out of the ring, they are given a warning. If they step out of the ring two times, the other person gains a point. Many international tournaments use a "point sparring" form of kumite that requires control ('pulling punches') and therefore warnings can be dealt for excessive force on techniques to the head, or sensitive areas. Full contact is permitted to the torso area of the body only. Some tournament rules allow for light contact to the head, whereas other rules do not allow this.
Kumite also includes a series of guidelines that, if followed correctly, result in a clean and safe fight. These are some of those guidelines:
For the last point about stance and footwork: it is often taught that a karateka who wishes to be fast and agile while competing in kumite should always be 'pulsing'. Pulsing is where the karateka remains almost bouncing on the balls of their feet to maintain minimal frictional contact with the ground, allowing them to move quickly.
Another aspect of kumite which is often seen in international tournaments, as well as many local competitions is what is referred to as clashing.[ citation needed ] Clashing is where both opponents throw techniques against each other at the same time, often resulting in both getting hit with the techniques. This creates a problem for referees as they are unable to make out which technique was quick, on target and recoiled - all the things that constitute a clean technique that is scored. Because of clashing, most modern day karateka are taught to practice kumite in a 'one for one' situation where one attacks, then the other attacks and so on. However, due to the speed of these techniques, and the speed of the footwork of each karateka, to the casual observer it may appear that they are still clashing when in fact they are not. When opponents are considered to be clashing, the head referee should declare "aiuchi" which means "simultaneous hit". When a winner is decided, the referee will announce "~ no kachi" which means "~'s win".
The tournament rules of full contact or "knockdown" styles of karate often don't award any points for controlled techniques delivered to the opponent. In fact, they usually don't award points for full-force techniques delivered to the opponent either. Instead, points are only awarded for knocking, sweeping, or throwing your opponent to the floor. Kyokushinkai and its "offshoot" karate organizations are the styles usually known to promote knockdown tournament rules. They believe this type of tournament competition is closer to "real life" personal combat, although still in a tournament setting with rules.
There are three criticisms to date. First, is the quickness versus skill argument. The tournament fighter learns how to shoot in quickly but deliver an unimpressive strike that gains him or her a point. Also, the question of discoloration of face due to contact, which can allow for disqualification. It is often difficult to gauge the true intensity of the attack, so this could cause questioning. Last, it is seen as sport and sport alone. Traditionalists may dismiss it as "useless", but modern dojos often band with other dojos to form organizations that utilize a tournament circuit as a way to promote their dojos.
Most high school karate associations use the following point scheme:
International competition under the World Karate Federation also includes the following point scoring:
Karate (空手) is a martial art developed in the Ryukyu Kingdom. It developed from the indigenous Ryukyuan martial arts under the influence of Kung Fu, particularly Fujian White Crane. Karate is now predominantly a striking art using punching, kicking, knee strikes, elbow strikes and open-hand techniques such as knife-hands, spear-hands and palm-heel strikes. Historically, and in some modern styles, grappling, throws, joint locks, restraints and vital-point strikes are also taught. A karate practitioner is called a karateka (空手家).
Kickboxing is a stand-up combat sport based on kicking and punching, historically developed from karate mixed with boxing. Kickboxing is practiced for self-defence, general fitness, or as a contact sport.
Randori (乱取り) is a term used in Japanese martial arts to describe free-style practice. The term denotes an exercise in 取り tori, applying technique to a random succession of uke attacks.
Shōtōkan is a style of karate, developed from various martial arts by Gichin Funakoshi (1868–1957) and his son Gigo (Yoshitaka) Funakoshi (1906–1945). Gichin Funakoshi was born in Okinawa and is widely credited with popularizing "karate do" through a series of public demonstrations, and by promoting the development of university karate clubs, including those at Keio, Waseda, Hitotsubashi (Shodai), Takushoku, Chuo, Gakushuin, and Hosei.
Kyokushin (極真) is a style of stand-up fighting and was founded in 1964 by Korean-Japanese Masutatsu Oyama. "Kyokushin" is Japanese for "the ultimate truth". It is rooted in a philosophy of self-improvement, discipline and hard training. Its full contact style has international appeal.
Full contact karate is any format of karate where competitors spar full-contact and allow a knockout as winning criterion
Isshin-Ryū is a style of Okinawan karate founded by Tatsuo Shimabuku in 1956. Isshin-Ryū karate is largely a synthesis of Shorin-ryū karate, Gojū-ryū karate, and kobudō. The name means, literally, "one heart method". In 1989 there were 336 branches of Isshin-ryū throughout the world, most of which were concentrated in the United States.
A strike is a directed physical attack with either a part of the human body or with an inanimate object intended to cause blunt trauma or penetrating trauma upon an opponent.
Sanda, formerly Sanshou, also known as Chinese boxing or Chinese kickboxing, is the official Chinese full contact combat sport. Sanda is a fighting system which was originally developed by the Chinese military based upon the study and practices of traditional Kung fu and modern combat fighting techniques; it combines full-contact kickboxing, which includes close range and rapid successive punches and kicks, with wrestling, takedowns, throws, sweeps, kick catches, and in some competitions, even elbow and knee strikes.
The front kick in martial arts is a kick executed by lifting the knee straight forward, while keeping the foot and shin either hanging freely or pulled to the hip, and then straightening the leg in front of the practitioner and striking the target area. It is desirable to retract the leg immediately after delivering the kick, to avoid the opponent trying to grapple the leg and to return to stable fighting stance.
Enshin kaikan (円心会館) is a style of "full contact karate", or Knockdown karate, founded in 1988 with dojo and students in various countries around the world.
Ippon is the highest score a fighter can achieve in a Japanese martial arts ippon-wazari contest, usually kendo, judo, karate or jujitsu.
Meibukan (明武舘) is a branch of Gōjū-ryū karate. It was created by Meitoku Yagi, a student of Gojyu-ryu's founder, Chojun Miyagi. Meibukan means "House of the pure-minded warrior."
Tōon-ryū is a style of Okinawan Karate founded by Juhatsu Kyoda.
The Karate World Championships, also known as the World Karate Championships, are the highest level of competition for karate organized by the World Karate Federation (WKF). The competition is held in a different city every two years. Some of the most recent championships include Madrid in 2002, Monterrey in 2004, Tampere in 2006, Tokyo in 2008, and Belgrade in 2010. The competition was initially riddled with controversy regarding karate styles and the ruleset.
Ashihara kaikan is a modern full contact street karate developed from Kyokushin karate by Hideyuki Ashihara with influences from various martial arts including Muay Thai, Pankration, and Jujutsu with an emphasis on Sabaki, using footwork and techniques to turn an opponent's power and momentum against them and to reposition oneself to the opponent's "blind" spot. The style is focused on practical application in a real fight including multiple attackers.
Shidōkan (士道館) is a eclectic style of Knockdown karate, founded by Yoshiji Soeno. Established in 1978, its governing body is the World Karate Association Shidokan, with its headquarters located in Ito City, Shizuoka Prefecture. Currently, it has branches in 68 countries around the world.
The Byakuren Kaikan or Byakuren Karate is a full contact karate style founded in 1984 by Sugihara Masayasu.
Karate at the Summer Olympics will make its debut at the 2020 Games in Tokyo, Japan.
Hokutoryu Ju-Jutsu is a Finnish style of the Japanese martial art Jujutsu developed in 1977 by Auvo Niiniketo. The name of the style is Japanese and literally translates as Style of the Big Dipper, though is more commonly translated as Style of the North Star. The style uses a Japanese name to show respect to the origin country of the art. Practitioners of the style can be recognized by the logo of the style on their jujutsugi, a red inversed triangle.