Kihon is a Japanese term meaning basics or fundamentals when translated in English. The practice of Kihon is performed by all karate-ka regardless of grade, focusing on the basic techniques, stances, blocks, kicks and punches, it acts as the foundation of Karate training.
Kihon allows the karate-ka to practice the correct body form, breathing, focus (kime) and attitude, all of which helps foster and strengthen the correct and proper spirit. It is a repetitious activity, promoting muscle memory and instils in the karate-ka the concept of improving their technique each time it’s performed.
Kihon is practised often, in many cases we practice Kihon in every training session by all students to ensure solid basics, which helps in all aspects of our Karate.
Kumite (Gumite) when translated to English literally means grappling hands. Kumite is commonly used to refer to fighting in Karate. It includes free fighting, set attacks and defences with a partner, the practice of self-defence with a partner and defence against weapons with a partner.
This is traditionally where a karate-ka uses an adversary to utilise the techniques learned in Kihon and Kata, it helps to train speed, timing, quick thinking and tactics.
Kumite sometimes gets categorised into free fighting in the dojo and the practice of competition fighting used in the competition arena which is a different style of fighting to in the dojo. Students are taught all aspects of kumite, including traditional and competition fighting from orange belt upwards.
While difficult to translate, the easiest way to explain Kata is that it is a Japanese term meaning forms, it describes the detailed patterns of movements practised by a karate-ka. Each Kata contains a series and variety of moves allowing the karate-ka to train stances, stepping, turning, punching and kicking all while maintaining proper posture, focus (kime), timing, balance and awareness (zanshin). When performing Kata it must be done with the correct spirit (Inen), feeling and purpose (Ikita Kata).
Kata is sometimes explained as mock fights as it is easier to understand for the less experienced, while this is true to a point, the more experienced karate-ka find that there is more to Kata than they first thought. For them Kata acts as a plan or blueprint for them to apply to different fighting scenarios.
At CMA Karate we practice 16 Katas, one basic kata taught to red belts followed by the core Katas of Wado Ryu from yellow belt upwards.