3 Simple ways to get better in Kumite


3 Simple Ways to get better in Kumite

No matter if you are a supporter of traditional Karatedo or a sports karate enthusiast, Karatedo is inevitably into the Olympics.

We cannot deny in the near future, Sport Karatedo is the trend to go, no matter you like it or not.

As what the famous Karate Nerd Jesse-san says from a recent seminar, we should take advantage of this to promote this martial art, instead of hating it, we should embrace it. 

As a long time Kumite competitor and coach, I have seen the changes of how competitors around the world fought in the past 10 years, and this is my suggestions and tips on how to get better in Kumite.


1. Understand the rule

Often times competitors train mindlessly, aiming for faster punches and kicks, swifter movements and turns, improving strength and power. But we got to understand, to WIN a game, you got to KNOW the game. And it is the rules that many, may have overlooked.

The simplest way to know the rule is to read the WKF regulations.

6 Criteria (https://www.wkf.net/pdf/rules/wkf-competition-rules-2019_en-pdf-en-764.pdf)

  • Good Form –  characteristics conferring probable effectiveness within the framework of traditional Karate concepts.
  • Sporting Attitude – is a component of good form and refers to a non-malicious attitude of great concentration, obvious during delivery of the scoring technique. 
  • Vigorous Application – defines the power and speed of the technique and the palpable will for it to succeed.
  • Zanshin – is that criterion most often missed when a score is assessed. It is the state of continued commitment in which the Competitor maintains awareness of the opponent’s potentiality to counter-attack
  • Good Timing – means delivering a technique when it will have the greatest potential effect. 
  • Correct Distance –  similarly means delivering a technique at the precise distance where it will have the greatest potential effect.
  • Dive deep into the above six phrases, and think in depth, train according to the rules to win.



2. Take a video of yourself fighting

You should look at yourself in a 3rd person perspective, and make it as a regular training regimen. But how should you review your own self when you watch the videos in the aftermath?

  • Don’t overemphasize on the mistakes you make in that training session, just open up your mind and let the video flow into your brain.
  • It is suggested to watch at least 75% of positive “highlights” to allow your mind and body to absorb positive images and feelings.
  • Then, watch yourself in the same session of where you need to improve.
  • And close your eyes, and immediately IMAGINE what you would do to improve next time.
  • Watch great athletes fight, preferably LIVE. Get inspirations. You fight better when you gain more experiences, in which stack up time by time to become the best of you.



3. Sparring, a lot.

Back to the roots, if you want to be good at math exams, you have to practice loads of different questions with different scenarios. If you want to perform like a master in kumite, you have to spar with DIFFERENT partner on a regular basis.

  • Sparring is the best way to be good in kumite.
  • Spar with different partners when possible.
  • Tell your partners in a hard sparring session, nothing happening in the next few minutes are personal, and you would apologize genuinely if you hurt your partner UNINTENTIONALLY.
  • One point Kumite under 30 seconds is extremely fun, and boost your precision and timing.
  • Strive to win every match. Be humble in victory and gracious in defeat.



Thanks for reading! Train hard, train smart!

Anson Lo Photo





Anson Lo

Karate enthusiast for over 20 years. Black belt 4th dan. Kumite Coach of Tiger Team.

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