(Basic One Step Sparring)

Up until this point in one's kumite training, the emphasis has been on linear techniques and attacks. While gohon and sanbon kumite certainly do provide the opportunity to explore non-linear movement, it is during kihon ippon kumite that the principles of circle shifting/stepping and dodging are normally introduced.

Though it may have been practiced earlier in some cases, this exercise usually becomes a regular part of training at the intermediate level.

As in the basic level kumite (i.e. gohon and sanbon), practice is often kept very formal. The actions of exchanging courtesies (i.e. bowing) and establishing the intent to attack remain.

The main difference between this and the basic kumite exercises is that the exchange is now limited to only one attack. This means that the opportunity afforded for a second chance in the basic levels of kumite has been eliminated.

One Deadly Strike
(Ikken Hissatsu)

Generally considered to be one of the underlying principles of all Japanese martial arts training, the concept of 'ikken-hissatsu' is a theory that represents the total commitment necessary to end a conflict with one deadly strike.

Whereas Chinese martial arts tend to emphasize overwhelming the opponent with a barrage of several techniques, Japanese martial arts tend to emphasize ending the conflict with a single blow (speaking ideally, of course). The general idea behind this is the belief that in many cases a person will have only one opportunity to make a technique "count." In other words, you may get only one chance to execute an attack or a counterattack.

It is therefore important that one trains with the utmost seriousness at all times. Only when total commitment is made to a technique, can one hope to end a conflict with one blow. In essence, the theory behind this concept is that once you have decided to launch an attack, do so with everything you have. Hold nothing back. Ideally, execute every technique as though it were the only one you would have the opportunity to throw.


One of the main reasons a block is performed is to create the opening for a counterattack. In most cases, the opening created by a block will only exist for a very short period of time. For this reason, it is necessary that there is as little delay as possible between the time the opening is created and the counterattack is launched.

In other words, if you spend too much time preparing to launch the counterattack, you're never going to get to use it. For this reason, it is important to leave yourself in a position where a counterattack can be delivered quickly and effectively. At the basic levels, one of the tools for accomplishing this is to make use of the pulling hand concept. If you fully pull back the back hand on a block, it leaves it in an ideal position to launch an immediate counterattack (if punching is the counterattack you wish to use).

Of course, there are many other factors involved that may have an impact on your ability to perform a counterattack. For example, if your distance is incorrect (i.e. you are too far from the opponent to reach them quickly), it will be difficult to launch a counterattack at this level. There are methods by which to make up this distance such as stepping, shifting, jumping, or sliding.

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Courtesy Cory Searcy.

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