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Kumite (Sparring)

Jiyu Kumite
(Freestyle Sparring)

Kumite (Sparring) allows students to practice techniques with the aid of a fellow karateka (karate student) in a safe and controlled setting. Jiyu Kumite (freestyle sparring) is the most recognized, and is when two karateka practice and improve their timing and distance of their attacking and defending techniques.

There are strict safety rules followed in the dojo to prevent injury and make for a controlled and respectful exercise. For instance, sparring is only done in the presence of a senior instructor who pairs karatekas appropriately (rank, size, age). Safety gear is worn to protect both parties, and the Renshi (senior instructor) will instruct on the 4 levels of kumite, which are:

  1. Footwork only – practicing mobility, blending, evading, and closing
  2. Shadow boxing - no contact, both karateka look for openings but do not hit
  3. Blocking contact only – one person at a time throws light techniques while their partner practices blocking, avoiding, and footwork
  4. Light contact – supervised freestyle sparring with light, respectful contact

Yakusoku Kumite (Agreement Sparring)

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Yakusoku kumite (agreement sparring) are prearranged sparring drills taught at different rank levels to show actual applications of kihon (basic techniques). Drills are part of the curriculum and help students develop their technique and confidence, while learning how to work with others. Safety and control are stressed, as well as respect.

Video Download: Windows users right-click on a video link and select “Save Target as...” Mac users control-click on a video link and select “Download Linked File.” The video files are large and will take some time to download. Once downloaded you can play them in your favorite video player. If you’re using the cross-platform QuickTime Pro you can even play the videos full screen and in slow motion, which is a great way to learn.

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