Last night I had the chance to photograph the Cayuga Lake Seido Karate dojo as they practiced kumite. Having never seen kumite before, I was incredibly excited.
From wikipedia: Kumite (組手) literally translated means "grappling hands" and is one of the three main sections of karate training, along with kata andkihon. Kumite is the part of karate in which a person trains against an adversary, using the techniques learned from the kihon and kata.Kumite can be used to develop a particular technique or a skill (e.g. effectively judging and adjusting one's distance from one's opponent) or it can be done in competition.
Watching these students going through these sparring techniques was fantastic! Incredibly fast and grueling! The thing that really surprised me was how difficult it was to catch the action. They were moving faster than the hockey games I used to photograph way back when. Amazing!
Yup, that's my kiddo, getting tagged right smack in the middle of her chest. Bear in mind, that is not a full force kick from the black belt sempai, but rather a quick tap to her chest protector. She certainly felt it, but it wasn't enough of a kick to knock her end over end.
The simplest way I can understand kumite is to think of it like incredibly fast tag. You are trying to score points by just barely touching your opponent in key areas, while trying to block them from doing the same to you. It is so intense!