Zanshin Martial Arts - Student Website
Kihon, Kata & Kumite
In your study of karate you will learn the 3 k's. These are the foundation and building blocks of your training so read below to get a better understanding of just what they are.
What is Kihon
The Fundamentals or kihon are the most important aspect of karate training. Hence Kihon covers every aspect of Karate training. Kihon in karate-do can be compared to the foundation of a building - no matter how beautiful a building may look, unless the foundation is good, the building will always be weak. There is a saying that the karate begins and ends with the three Ks - Kihon, Kata & Kumite however both Kata and Kumite depend on correct Kihon to be good. Therefore whether it be the course of the movement, the speed of the movement, the strength of the movement, the posture required, the correct musculature to be used, the correct form of breathing, all these are factors that comprise the practice of Kihon.
A story often told in the dojo is of 3 pigs and the wolf where the one with a strong house is the only one able to withstand the attempts of the wolf. Kihon is like that. If one's kihon is strong, one's karate is strong - this is something a sensei always stresses on.  
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A demonstration of Goju Ryu Kihon
What is Kata
Karate Kata or the formal exercises of karate consists of a series of basic techniques in Blocking, Punching, Striking and Kicking which are logically and orderly combined. The formal exercises are a systematically organized series of offensive and defensive techniques performed in a set sequence. A karate player perfoms a kata as if fighting imaginary enemies attacking him from different directions which determine the performance lines. Every movement in a kata has a meaning defining either defence or offence. The various kata have been developed by ancient masters through experience. Every 'kata' begins with a defensive technique. The kata which are practiced in the present day can be divided into two groups. One, those kata that look simple but at the same time show elegance and majesty and can be used for building up the physique. The other group is suggestive of speed and can be used for acquiring fast reflexes and reaction timing. By practicing Kata one can exercise the whole body as bending, stretching, jumping and turning are all present
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gekisai dai ichi kata by morio higaonna sensei himself!!!
What is Kumite
In kumite two persons face off demonstrating defensive and offensive techniques ensuring that while the techniques are being performed that balance is not lost. Basically, kumite can be considered the application of fundamentals learned in kata. In the dojo, the Sensei would always advise that training for improvement in kata is absolutely necessary for the improvement in kumite. The senior masters always stress that Kata and kumite are like the two wheels of cart. In the early days, jiyu Kumite was unknown and it was only with the introduction in the universities of Japan that modern karatekas took to Jiyu Kumite as a means to test their skills against one another. Many Sensei was however against this practice stressing mainly on the training of kata and it was only after his demise that the first Kumite Tournament was held.
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Full contact fight demo
Mirko Buchwald and chris De Wet perform a full contact fight demo at last years MCF in Toronto, May 3rd 2009
While learning karate in the Dojo, the student goes through three phases of kumite training.
The three types of kumite are kihon kumite, jiyu ippon kumite and jiyu kumite.
1)Yaksoku Kumite:
The term Yaksoku means promised. In this kumite the two players face each other at a designated interval and after determining which technique is to be practiced take turns at offensive and defensive roles. In this type of sparring, the attacker must make a prior commitment to attack with only the promised technique to the designated area. This is also known as Kihon Kumite and is the most basic type of kumite.
There are different types of kihon kumite -
a) Gohon kumite (where the roles of defence and attack are enacted in 5 steps)
b) Sanbon kumite(where the roles of defence and attack are enacted in 3 steps)
c) Kihon ippon kumite (where the roles of defence and attack are enacted in one step)
d) Kaeshi Ippon Kumite (An innovation of the kihon ippon kumite,this type of kumite is usually practiced in the dojo where the defender counterattacks with a whole step and forces the attacker to defend himself.
e) Okuri ippon Kumite (In this variation the attacker makes two attacks of which only the first is announced or predetermined.The second attack is the attacker's choice based on the distance and other factors
f) Jiyu Ippon Kumite: The attacker is free to choose his stance and interval between his opponent and makes an offensive move after announcing which techniques he is going to apply. The opponent is free to choose a defensive technique.
2)Jiyu Kumite: In jiyu Kumite the opponents are free to apply any techniques attacking freely with offensive kicks, strikes and punches as in an actual combat situation. The attacks must have maximum power but must stop short of coming in contact with the opponent's body.
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