Prescribing to Kumite training that is progressive and systematic will benefit the practitioner of Karate beyond the tangible. Kumite is progressive in the sense that the practitioner is guided through a series of ascending drills. These specialized training methods will challenge the practitioner’s depth of skill on both a physical and mental level. Systematically the practitioner will develop the tools required to make effective and efficient self defense through their diligent efforts.

A central theme throughout Kumite training is the refinement of the Japanese philosophy Ma.  This prevalent theme is seen throughout the Martial Arts and Japanese culture. The practitioner's of Sado (The Way of Tea), Kado (Flower Arrangement), and Noh (Japanese Drama) consider the “control” of Ma as an integral theme to their arts. Ma may be defined in English as the “Space” between two things, or can also allude to the “Time” between two actions. On a profound level, the “Space” and “Time” of Ma will happen only once in a lifetime. Recognizing the appropriate time to initiate an attack requires a thorough understanding of Ma. There is no textbook for the refinement of Ma, it can only be learned through experience.  

Regrettably the fundamental purpose of Kumite training is often misunderstood. There is a tendency amongst the majority of Karate practitioners to make Kumite training competitive. The instructor of Karate must be steadfast in their resolve to properly educate their students. Translating the Japanese word Kumite will expose its inherent nature. The Kanji for Kumi translates as "To Cross", while Te means "Hands". Therefore the novice of Karate may ignorantly conclude that to "Cross Hands" with our partner implies combat. In life there are many times when we "Cross Hands" with others. As a greeting, a sign of affection, or to help another person. Approaching Kumite from this perspective will benefit the practitioner beyond the confines of the Dojo walls. 


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