For better understanding please see photos in the bottom of the page.
There are three parts of karate training:
– Kihon (basics),
– Kata (forms),
– Kumite (sparring).
Karate is built upon a strong foundation of basic moves that include specific stances, punches, blocks, and kicks. Proper body alignment and movement are emphasized, as are concentration and focus. During the practice of basics, students learn stability, balance, proper technique, and the principles of body contraction and relaxation. Basics are practiced during every training session by every level of karateka (karate student)
Kata, the formal movements of karate, are its very essence. They are sequences of movements which simulate attacks and defenses against a number of imaginary enemies. Katas contain all the basic techniques and stances, which are necessary to attain rhythm and coordination. Each kata begins with a block to emphasize the use of karate strictly for self-defense. They can be roughly divided into two types: those which emphasize muscle strengthening and body building, and those that concentrate more on speed training and the development of lighting fast reflexes.
According to Master Funakoshi, kumite is “. ..a form used to apply offensive and defensive techniques practiced in the kata under more realistic condition in which, by prearrangement between the participants, one applies offensive and the other defensive techniques.” In other words, where the practice of kata assumes an imaginary opponent, kumite is practiced with another karateka in alternating roles of defender and aggressor.
Kumite allows the practical application of the moves found in the kata. Contact is not allowed to the face and there may only be light contact to the body. During kumite, students learn proper distancing, timing, body-shifting, and focus. Kumite always begins and ends with sparring partners bowing to each other as an indication of respect for each other. Jiyu Kumite is free sparring, which is sparring engaged in without prearrangement. It is practiced by higher belts and is a form of training that is developed through the practice of step sparring (prearranged sparring).
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