Free karate tips

Guidelines for Partner training in Karate

In all Karate partner training exercises when attack/block exercises are performed, the rule is: The person attacking moves at the command of the instructor. The person blocking only moves once the attack has been initiated.

In partner training such as Ippon Kumite (one-step sparring), typically the person assigned to be attacker, stands in a traditional ready position (Chudan No Kamae, middle level fighting posture) or a natural fighting stance (Shizen dachi no kamae). The person blocking usually assumes a formal attention stance (this varies from style to style).

Karate Partner Training

Guidelines for the person attacking

If it is a new Karate technique that either your or your partner are not familiar with, perform the first few repetitions at slow pace, until you’re certain that your partner can properly block your attack without the risk of injury. If your partner is comfortable with blocking your attack, increase the speed and power of your attack as if you “mean it”. There is no point in teaching your partner how to block “sissy attacks”.

Sometimes the person defending already positions himself in the way they’re going to move when they block. As the attacker, do not co-operate here. If you’re meant to aim for the solar plexus, then aim there. You fix your target at the moment you’re given the command to attack. Do not follow a moving target once you have initiated the attack (because you’re not supposed to know where you partner is going to end up). However, if the person defending has changed the distance between individual repetitions of the exercise, adjust your distance quickly before you attack, instead of overextending your limbs and thus performing an unrealistic attack.

What NOT to do

Do not hit with full speed and power from the word go, rushing in like a bull. Do not continuously hit slow and without commitment, as your strike becomes effectively unblockable because your partner has nothing to block.

Guidelines for the person defending

Move only once your attacker moves. In other words, don’t start your defensive action until an attack has commenced. When your opponent attacks, block the attack, whether there was a command from the instructor or not. Block every time as if it was a serious attack, regardless of the intensity of the attack – take it seriously every time. Don’t adjust your stance or technique because of the short-comings of your partner who performs the attack.

This is a common problem for new Karate students. They hear the instructor, and they start their blocking technique, regardless of what their attacker is up to. Clearly, a block performed this way is not very effective. If the blocker does his block to the count, the attacker who may have delayed his attack is now pretty much at a loss of what do do. He can either contort himself to put his punch where it would have been if it had been properly blocked (bad idea). He can simply ignore the defenders premature movement and continue on with the attack undeterred (and thus whack his partner in the nose – very bad idea). He could be tempted to ask the defender to reset his position so the exercise can be properly performed (bad idea too – this will make both partner lose sync with the instructor).

Not following these simple guidelines means that you always move in preconceived ways, practicing a useless choreographed ballet which has really nothing to do with Karate or martial arts.

38 comments about “Partner training guidelines”

  1. peter said:

    italian man34 years.2kyu.Practice karate shotokan ryu by 9years.Rei Sensei.os.

  2. Daniel said:

    Those are great tips

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  5. Carol said:

    My grandson is taking karate from his minister and has told me he has knocked the wind out of him at least 3 times. Is this a normal routine in teaching karate?

  6. kamron said:

    this shouldnt be happening.the sensie should show his students how its done but not by physical hitting.he should show the power points and show them in slow motion but not by hitting them.

  7. Parsnips said:

    Very good and helpful guidelines here. However I disagree with one of the last points made, you say “He can simply ignore the defenders premature movement and continue on with the attack undeterred (and thus whack his partner in the nose – very bad idea).” However I think is a good idea and this is how we train. If me or my partner want to block an attack that is not there then that is fine, however it is our own fult when the attacker strikes us. The person blocking SHOULD NOT MOVE until the attacker commences the sequence. Personally I find there is no quicker way to learn other than to get punched a few times.

    This might seem a slightly harsh approach, but I find it works and therefore I will keep it up.

  8. johnny said:

    Well if he wants to learn he should be getting hit quite often.

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