Top 10 tips for Kumite

When it comes to kumite and sparring there are many tips out there and approaches to take. Kumite is an integral part of any karateka’s training regime. Some karateka hate the kumite part of the class and some only go for the kumite. It is said that Kumite is the spirit and Kata is the soul of karate, but without both, there is NO Karatedo!

So no matter whether you enjoy or are petrified there are basic principles that can make sparring easier and increase the effectiveness of those sparring.

So while there are many tips out there we have grabbed a top 10 list for you to bear in mind during your next kumite session.

1. Intensity
2. Reactions
3. Explosiveness
4. Speed
5. Accuracy
6. Impact & Power
7. Distance
8. Control
9. Relax
10. Adaptability

1. Intensity. Try to practice at full intensity always. Fight as though your life depended on it. This will help your fitness and focus.

2. Reactions. During a fight, things change in the blink of an eye. Your reactions need to be lightning fast. Training exercises that develop your reaction timing are crucial.

3. Explosiveness. Hesitation and starting slowly are a definite no no. Explode into your techniques with speed and ferocity.

4. Speed. This is linked closely to Reactions. The speed of your techniques is something to constantly work on. Stay relaxed and try to move at maximum speed to shock your opponent.

5. Accuracy. Targets targets targets. Pick them off work out where holes are on your opponent and thread the needle with your techniques. Clean accurate strikes score easily.

6. Impact & power. Add power to your strikes by using a punching bag, striking pads or makiwara which are excellent training devices for building the impact of your techniques. There are people learning karate and never hit anything, DO NOT be one of these people.

7. Distance. If your distance is good, then your counter attacks and initial attacks will be effective. Use basic sparring exercises and your karate classes to develop good distance.

8. Control. During any fight, people can be vicious and lose control. Don’t be like that. If you can maintain control of yourself and the situation then you will avoid getting into trouble. During kumite being able to maintain control will enable you to be more accurate, manage distance and remain focused.

9. Relax. Being tense uses energy. Staying relaxed is crucial to being able to last the distance of a kumite match. If you are relaxed, you can react and move to the ever changing environment, if you are tense, you cannot move without relaxing first, by the time you relax, it’s too late!

10. Adaptability. During a kumite bout much like a street fight, things can change in an instant. A slight slip or distraction can change things real fast, one minute you are on your feet, then suddenly, you are on the floor. Being able to adapt to your surroundings and attackers is crucial to success in any fight.

There you have it our top 10 tips for Kumite. Fighting/Kumite/Sparring, whatever you call it, is so much more than just hitting and swinging. The dynamics of fighting will come the more you practice. The more you understand the differing aspects of fighting the more confident you will be as a fighter.