Tag Archives: Kumite

Kumite in 1989

In this scene we see Tomio Imamura vs. Masao Kagawa. As we can see they are wearing no hand- , mouth- or shin-protection in their kumite. Because it is a non contact kumite.

This circumstance demands absolute body control from both competitors. If only one blow would hit and blood would flow, the attacker would be immediately disqualified. This fight is completely different as we see it today in modern karate with all the different body protectors. Conclusion – the rules determine the fighting style. Think about and remember in self-defense there are no rules, only the moment of truth.

Karate Fight Strategies

Video Example: Sensei Kunio Miyake, 8th Dan of Shuko-Kai-International, explains the difference between Go-no-sen, Sen-no-sen and Tai-no-sen (Sen-sen-no-sen) tactics in the kumite.

Go no sen

Go no sen is block and attacking the opponent after their attack has finished. For example, my opponent throws a reverse punch at my face, I stop that attack with a block and then follow up with a counter attack.

Sen no sen

Sen no sen is a block and counter attack while the opponent is attacking. For example, my opponent shifts in with a reverse punch and at the same time, I shift back, block his reverse punch with an outward block and counter attack with a reverse punch at the same time. The timing here is very important because both people are committing to the attack at the same time.

Sen sen no sen

Sen sen no sen is attacking and counter attacking the opponent while they are attacking. How I understand this is, make opponent shifts in and attacks with a reverse punch and you shift in and attack with a jab at the same time and immediately follow up with a reverse punch.


The concept behind deai is you sense your attackers attack coming and you counter attack before the opponent can fully start his offensive attack. For example, both opponents are either shifting or standing in kamae and your opponent goes to throw a rear leg roundhouse kick, before he can get the roundhouse kick off, you shift in and jab.

The key here is that your opponent gives some sort of tell or sign (leaning before kick or changing balance points before bringing their leg up) that they are going to attack and you sense this attack coming and counter attack them before they get their attack off. This tell or sign could be a twitch, eyes widening or even being able to feel their energy before they attack.

Kumite by Frank Brennan

Watch here the impressive competition kumite fights of sensei Frank Brennan. He is a complete fighter with hands and legs in any situation and a renowend karate fighter of the United Kingdom. As you can see those bouts were really hard for both sides.