Japanese: 組手

Kumi – coming together. Te – hands

“grappling hands”


Japanese組手, literally “grappling hands”

Kumi – coming together. Te – hands

Kumite is one of the three main sections of karate training, along with Kata and Kihon. Kumite is the part of karate in which a person trains against an adversary, using the techniques learned from the kihon and kata.

 Kumite can be used to develop a particular technique or a skill (e.g. effectively judging and adjusting one’s distance from one’s opponent) or it can be done in competition.

Kumite is a very important part of Karate training. Kumite utilizes the skills developed in Kata and allows the student to use them spontaneously. By practicing Kumite, timing and speed are increased. It is imperative that students practice using light contact with extreme self control.

Kata training readies the student for contact Kumite. Kumite sharpens punching, kicking, and blocking skills, while developing control, timing, speed and efficiency of movement.

Kumite teaches how to use fighting distance, called “ma-ai”, effectively in attacking and defending. Without kumite the student cannot learn combative skills.


Yakusoku Kumite

Yakusoku Kumite entails prearranged offense and defense sparring techniques and uses techniques from various katas. These exercises are used to help karateka better understand advanced applications of kata.

The drills consist of one student executing a technique and the other countering. These routines are performed in set stances by the attacker (kogeki) and the defender (hangeki). They are performed with power and speed but also control – thus maintaining safety.

The emphasis is on:

  •  Applying the basic techniques.
  •  Focus on targeting and proper completion of techniques.
  •  Acquiring the most important and basic principals of fighting, namely; proper timing, tension,  ashi sabaki (foot movement), tai sabaki (avoiding attack) and correct attitude.