Sunday, December 14, 2008

Match-Style Kumite (from Kanazawa Kancho's Karate Fighting Techniques)

While there are no competitive encounters in karate as a martial art, match-style (shiai) kumite provides a substitute for actual combat that enables practitioners to experience firsthand an authentic exchange of offensive and defensive techniques. Match-style kumite represents a means of testing skills and abilities to freely evaluate one's mental, physical, and technical prowess.
Unlike tournament kumite, match-style kumite does not adhere to any special rules, such as those stipulated in competition regulations. One's conscience dictates the only rules that exist for this type of kumite and, within the framework of these rules, practitioners call on the mental, physical, and technical faculties that they have developed and polished through daily training.
The shiai-kumite of karate-do is characterized by attacks of deadly force that are controlled to stop a mere inch in front of their intended target. Mastering the control of one's body and limbs facilitates the control of one's spirit, which fosters self-discipline and contributes to the building of character. Because there are no formal rules, the threat of serious injury poses a genuine risk. Accordingly, shiai-kumite relies heavily on not only the participants' sense of responsibility, but also on mutual trust.
The true essence of karate-do boils down to how to control a strike that is powerful enough to kill with a single blow by delivering it so that its explosive force culminates at the instant before it reaches its target. This ability can only be achieved through the diligent and steady training of first tanren (training) kumite, followed by kihon (basic) kumite, and then yakusoku (promise) kumite

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