Karate - Budo  
  The key features and principles for understanding karate  


  >> Stage karaté Vincenzo Figuccio 19-21 mai - Belgique english français
The core components of karate
  Styles of karate
  Aims of karate
  Kihon, kata, kumite
  Physical principes
  Aggression and stress
  Kumite in pratice
  Dangerous spots
  Japan, Buddhism & Zen
  Karate and emptiness
  The book
    Shotokan kata
    Shitoryu kata
    Goju-ryu kata
    Takedown & MMA
    Physical training



Karate is a discipline that consists of impact techniques together with locks and throws. Irrespective of the style, karate training features three key areas: kihon, katas and kumite.


1. Kihon

Kihon means “basic technique” and consists of repeating techniques in isolation. The teacher demonstrates a movement which is then replicated by the pupil. These techniques are generally attacks or blocks but can also be stances, moves, slips or throws.

The tireless practice of basic movements is of fundamental importance, because it ensures that good technique and automatisms are acquired. At first the techniques are simple and isolated before becoming complex drills coupled with various moves. The kihon often starts slowly with a breakdown of the movements before becoming smoother and swifter and finally turning into automatisms that are performed at full strength.

The kihon serves as preparation for studying katas and kumite.


2. Kata

Kata means “form” or “mould”. It is a codified series of techniques representing a fight against one or more opponents. At the dawn of karate, as there were no written records, the kata was a mnemonic device for transmitting techniques. Each kata starts with a block, thereby underlining the defensive nature of karate.

  • Numerous martial artspractise katas, as they help to shape the body and mind.
  • These techniques are practised slowly or at full strength. The kata works on body muscle and explosiveness.
  • It develops control of the body, breathing, rhythm, stances and moves in all directions.
  • It helps to acquire combat automatisms.
  • Katas go beyond the purely physical and technical: they require memorisation, concentration and relaxation, and they forge the fighting spirit.
  • To perform a kata correctly, it has to be repeated endlessly and diligently, as the goal is to seek perfect movements.

To execute a good kata, it is essential to energise it with alternating strong and flexible, fast and slow moments as well as wide and short movements. The karateka who practises kata must be aware of the messages it conveys and understand the significance of each technique.


3 Kumite

Kumite means “bringing the hands together”. It is often translated as “combat” but is better understood as “the art of meeting”. In contrast to competition, there should not be any opponents in karate-do but only partners.

The aim of traditional kumite is to develop technically, physically and mentally thanks to your partner whilst learning how to master your body, mind and ego.

Kumite also aims to put into practice the techniques studied in the katas.

Kumites reflect different types of exchanges:
The kumite can be basic (kihon kumite) with a specified number of pre-defined attacks (one attack: ippon kumite; two attacks: nippon kumite; three attacks: sanbon kumite; five attacks: gohon kumite).
The kumite can be supple (jiyu kumite), contactless (kunde kumite), free with an attack (jiyu ippon kumite) or free with any number of attacks (jiyu kumite), etc.

Jiyu kumite has only existed since the 1920s at the initiative of university students. The first public demonstration goes back to 1936. Jiyu kumite is attractive for young people, but its popularity means that the techniques essential for real combat run the risk of being neglected. The basic work that is critical for developing power and efficiency, through kihon, kata and kihon kumite, should not be abandoned.