Kumite & Kyusho

Submited by Hermann Woodtli, Switzerland


Kumite is one of the three pillars of the Shotokan Karate curriculum, with Karateka slowly and systematically prepared for the competition. Different forms are practiced, depending on the degree and ability of the exerciser.

The curriculum or the method of teaching is the actual framework of a style. If two opponents face each other, style and method of teaching no longer play a role. What counts is the conflict between the respective counterparties. The goal is different depending on the situation. The competition is governed by rules that must be respected, but can also be used for the win. The situation is controlled.

In a self-defense situation, there are no rules and the goal is to survive as unscathed as possible.

Even this starting position makes it very difficult to practice goal-oriented. The karateka has to be aware of where his focus is. Many options are available: self-defense, competition, self-control, fitness etc.



Karate in the original sense had no styles. This tendency began with the export of karate from Okinawa to Japan and the adaptation to their budoculture, although actually all founders of different styles pointed out that there is only one karate.

Shotokan began systematic training with Kihon and Kata and was then further developed around certain forms of Kumite. With the Te no Kata omote there was the first time in the Shotokan a form of exercise for partner training. With the founding of the JKA by Nakayama Sensei, this development was continued and extended by various forms of cumulation. Kanazawa Sensei brought these forms into a clear structure.

Exercise Forms:

• Gohon Kumite (five-step partner exercise in basic position)
• Sanbon Kumite (three-step partner exercise in basic position)
• Kihon Ippon Kumite (one-step partner practice in basic position)
• Jiyu Ippon Kumite (one-step partner exercise in combat stance)
• Okuri Ippon Kumite, Kaeshi Ippon Kumite, Jiyu Kumite (free fight)
and several intermediate forms

Goals of these exercises are:

• Practical technology implementation
• feeling for distance
• timing
• Coordination
• movement in space
• Tactics study
• self-control
• Inner peace
• Attack target feeling (Kyusho)


From the point of view of self-defense, with the inclusion of Kyusho, Kihon Ippon Kumite is very well suited as a training base. The defender is in a natural position and the attacker has a certain distance and says the technique. If one starts from the standard exercises that are required in Kyu-test, you can build this depending on the ability of the exerciser.

You should analyze each exercise in terms of the goals: arm, head, body, leg, takedown, grappling, tuite and weapons and train with the appropriate vital points. It quickly becomes clear that not all goals can be achieved with the given technology and that the technology has to be adjusted according to the target region and intention. The scenario can become more and more realistic with the progress of the practitioner.As Kyusho is gradually being accepted by karatekas, it is even more important not to include unnecessary teaching concepts, such as traditional Chinese medicine or other esoteric dogmas, in standard training. Even the old masters were more pragmatic and used medical knowledge in their publications. Thanks to excellent, didactically well-trained teachers, with excellent knowledge of Kyusho International, my understanding of karate has been fundamentally changed and it will be my pleasure to share my experiences at the International Kyusho Convention in Salzburg.

Hermann Woodtli

Contact - Click Here