Kumite Training

Practicing for kumite requires imagination and repetition to build skills, muscle memory and reflexes. Here are some videos you can train along with to get you started.

Shadow Sparring Drills
10-MIN SHADOW BOXING WORKOUT (FOLLOW ALONG!)
4 MINUTE KARATE TABATA WORKOUT for Faster & Stronger PUNCHES
No Gym? Memorize this 6-Step Solo Footwork Drill

Now put it all together. Be sure to work some kicks into the drill, too.

Training Notes

Shadow boxing is great, but it’s not enough.

It’s important to work on body distancing, too. Working out alone means no partner to train with, to adjust to, to practice your techniques on, and no attacks/counterattacks to defend against. So you’re just going to have to figure out ways of practicing the same skills you would if they were there.

You need to practice your focus — hitting the precise spot you want to hit every time, regardless of whether you’re standing still or moving rapidly in the heat of battle.

Find targets around the house at different heights, and practice striking at them from various angles, body positions, techniques and movements. DON’T HIT THEM OR BREAK ANYTHING, ESPECIALLY YOUR HAND. Try to stop the forward momentum of your strike just before impact, rather than the traditional “pulling” back of the hand.

Pulling punches, though, can lead to bad habits. So striking a pad or other object (e.g., wooden dummy) is also good training. However, be careful of wall mounted makiwara (we have one), for penetration is generally impossible. While not so good for punches, they’re great for developing palm strikes and learning to avoid the energetic rebound back through your arm that comes when striking solid objects.

In addition, kicking a bag or heavy object can be helpful, too, both for focus and to avoid the tendency to pull your technique before adequate penetration is achieved after contact. While kicking pads can be leaned against a couch corner or placed against the back for kicks when training alone, those only provide low targets.

To practice higher kicks, you’ll have to get creative. Old towels or pillows tied to a tree truck might work for you. Just test it before going full throttle; no sense breaking a shin or foot in the process (wear shoes outside).


Find more kumite materials in our kumite reference forums.

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