Karate sparring also known as kumite has been a very controversial practice and it wasn’t until the death of the great master Gichin Funakoshi that sparring was made a part of Karate training by Oyama. Later he understood the concern of his master… karate was losing its soul as a martial art and it was turning into a sport.
The Karate players used to train themselves to make every punch and kick lethal. Yes they trained to knock out their adversaries with only one strike. Imagine if you practice sparring with that objective in mind. It wouldn’t be a very smart thing to do. Injuries will be all over the place.
Karate Sparring in Modern Times
Nowadays it is very difficult to imagine that any body can acquire mastery in Karate without the practice of kumite. Karate was created as a martial art to be used in a real fight and in those days it was a matter of life and death.
Today karate sparring is mainly a practice with competition in mind. Where the main goal is to score points in a series of rounds. This is completely different than what Karate was originally created for.
In the modern days to practice kumite you will need the following karate sparring gear: A karategui is the karate training uniform, Karate gloves , Shin pads , Breast protector (for woman ), mouthguard and a groin protector
In karate you have to coordinate the strength (ki), posture and balance, hip rotation and move your body like a unit in total coordination.
It is a good idea to practice martial arts sparring to learn to control your emotions, remember that fear is a dis empowering factor. And lets get real… who doesn’t feel fear when the fight is coming. Sparring will help you to control your emotions and to remain calm and relaxed when you need it the most.
Tips to Improve Your Karate Sparring Skills
There are some things that you can do to improve faster: One is to take videos of yourself while you are sparring. Get ready for a surprise… you may not look as you expected! But anyway… it will help you to improve your technique like no other method. You’ll see your strengths and weakness…the naked truth. You’ll know where you stand and the steps you need to take to get to the next level.
Another useful thing to do is to keep a training diary. This will help you to keep motivated. Instead of comparing yourself with others, look at your diary and see how much you have improved since you started. It will also help you to measure your progress.
Another very useful tip is to practice your technique in slow motion till you get it right… this will help you to develop the neurological pathways faster.
Breathing is very important when you spar. If you can breath you can’t fight. Breathe naturally and expire forcefully when striking.
You may want to compete or not, it is all up to you. But nowadays we don’t have all the time in the world to practice katas and condition our body as a lethal weapon.
Even if you don’t want to compete try competition at least once. It doesn’t matter is you win or lose. The experience will be valuable, you will confront your fears of the unknown and as a result you’ll know yourself better. And remember: “The fastest and most efficient way to learn is the constant practice of karate sparring (kumite)”.