This is the Japanese word to describe Sparring. It literally means “the meeting of hands”. In KUMITE the Karateka applies his knowledge of KATA to real opponents.
At Mizu Karate Academy a beginner is taught KUMITE in a controlled way through basic drills of one, three or five attacks to the head (Jodan) or body (Chudan) with the defender stepping backwards whilst blocking and only countering on the last defence.
As the Karateka progresses through the ranks we introduce more advanced sparring techniques. Only one step is involved rather than three or five. This exercise is more advanced because it involves a greater variety of attacks and blocks usually those of the defender’s own choice. It also requires the defender to execute a counter-attack faster than in the earlier types of sparring.
Advanced levels of KUMITE is taught after Purple Belt rank and is freestyle one-step sparring (jiyu ippon KUMITE). This type of KUMITE, is followed by free sparring. In Shotokan Karate, sparring partners are encouraged to make controlled and focused contact with their opponent, but to withdraw their attack as soon as surface contact has been made. An encounter is ended with a single attack. (Ippon).
In Shotokan Karate extended periods of contact is avoided. As such, a degree of safety is maintained and so no padding or protective gloves is required when sparring.