Improve Your Karate Kumite – Six Karate Kumite Tips

Karate kumite is a hand to hand combat engagement between two or more persons.  In competition thankfully this is limited to just the one opponent.  For you to improve your karate kumite, and to help you defeat your opponent, you must understand these Six Karate Kumite Tips.  These tips, shared by, are also the key principles to fighting and provide the foundations to karate kumite.  By understanding these kumite principles you will dramatically improve your karate kumite and your chances of winning competitions.

The Six Karate Kumite Tips (principles) are:



This refers to our ability to maintain equilibrium by ensuring we stay in a stable and upright position.  This will enable us the freedom to attack, counter-attack at will, and provide a solid defensive base.  There are two aspects we must understand to balance.  Firstly we must know how to keep and regain our own balance, and secondly we must understand how to exploit weaknesses in our opponents balance.

Mental Attitude

We must learn to manage our fear and anger so that we are able to react instinctively and also to maintain control.  If we also learn to strike fear into our opponent then their will to fight will diminish.


This refers to your position in relation to your opponent.  When being attacked it is vital to move your body position so that the attack cannot continue unless your opponent moves once again into range.  If you wish to counter-attack then you must move your position away from your opponent’s line of attack normally to a 45 degree angle.  This will allow you to attack weaknesses in your opponent’s defence, to do so will require accurate timing and distance perception.


There are fighters out there who have a natural instinct to detect the best time to move attack or counter.  However it is something than can be trained fairly easily over a short period of time.  The fighter who can judge the ideal time to move will always be in a more advantageous position to attack.  If you decide to move to quickly your opponent will be able to anticipate your attack, if you move to late then it makes it easier for your opponent to attack.  You must learn to launch your attack or counter-attack at the instant your opponent is the most vulnerable.


This refers to the distance between you and your opponent and ideally this will suit your kumite style.  The distance should be just outside striking range, and we control this range by changing position and developing attacks or counter-attacks.



Whenever we attack an opponent we generate momentum, this is our body mass in motion.  The greater the body mass or speed the greater the momentum generated.  Therefore we must understand the effects of this principle and apply it to our advantage.  We can do this by…….

  • Putting our opponent into a vulnerable position by using his momentum against him.
  • Taking-away our opponents balance using their own momentum.
  • Causing an opponent to extend further than they expected so an effective counter-attack can be launched.
  • Aggressively attacking our opponent with multiple techniques will increase our chances of scoring.

Now that you have learned these six karate kumite tips, it is time to put them into practice.  When you are sparring think about these kumite principles and how you can use them against your opponent.  Whilst you are practicing your kumite techniques also think how you can apply these six fighting principles, and after a few months they will become second nature and your karate kumite will dramatically improve.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *