How much time to dedicate to kata (prones or forms), training vs kumite (sparing)?

how impotent is kata in relationship to kumite?

Bookmark the permalink.

All comments are reviewed before publication and all links removed.

14 Responses to How much time to dedicate to kata (prones or forms), training vs kumite (sparing)?

  1. captain slacker says:

    Forms perfect technique and make it second nature. Sparring is the application of your knowlege. Both are important. However, I suppose someone could always learn by “trial and error”

  2. Karate Warrior says:

    Kata is like the heart of karate. Withought kata, there are only arcrobatics. You need to spent time on kata to polish your technique, to become more concentrated in a fight, and develop muscle memory. Kumite is also important but what we do is about 10 minutes kumite and 10/15 min kata.

  3. Rem says:

    Forms/Kata/Sets are good for training by yourself. Depending on your discipline, many of them have more techniques within the movements than are readily apparent at first glance. Try to find them. Minor alterations in the movements can result in very different applications of similar techniques. Try looking at the various components and trying things out. In that line, they are also good eventually understanding the principles behind the various movements. Find where the power comes from, what exactly you are doing or gaining from each movement. Find the underlying principles that the forms are supposed to be teaching you. Giving forms work proper weight gives you ample opportunity to learn on your own and work out the various kinks in your form and otherwise and to really discover the potential of each movement. In isolation, its a good way to learn.

    Having said all that, there is no substitute for actually using these techniques against another living breathing person. This is also training, and a good opportunity to try all the things you’ve learned and how to apply them. The more opponents the better, with the added benefit that they’re not going to kill you for making a mistake. Any given technique only works for you once you can do it against any opponent. Getting to that point takes a lot of trial and error. A good point to remember is that delivering any technique against an opponent is not going to be exactly as it is in the kata. Learn how to set up your moves and how to deliver them with power and precision. Practice chaining techniques together in variation, feinting, moving, and pacing. Learn rhythm and learn to break rhythm.

    If given the chance, I would likely split my training about 50/50 between the two to start. As your technique and understanding grow, and as you change from conscious competence to unconscious competence, start favoring the sparring portion of your training and increase it to as much as 90% of your training. This is seldom possible for most of us, as we more often have time by ourselves than with a good training partner.

  4. Df says:

    kata teaches you bad body mechanics. if you train to stop or pull your punches, that what you will do. try bag work instead. all air punching does is weaken your form.

    I trained in karate before moveing to moy thi. at first I was amazed at how hard everyone could kick, and then I realized. when we where shadow boxing and threw a kick we dident stop it at the target point like I had been trained to, but completed the kick and spun around. training yourself to stop for the sake of control only makes you weaker.

    kumeite is really 90% of what you need.

  5. jwbulldogs says:

    In our dojo every class is different. Generaly it goes something similar to this.

    Warm up and stretching
    basics and combination
    kata and or weapons kata

    We spend more time on basics and combinations, then kata. Sometimes more on kata then basics. Depending on the make up of the class may determine how much time is spent on sparring. There are days with no sparring and we may do weapons defense and or othe self defense techniques.

  6. nwohioguy says:

    Impotent LOL…nice one Shihan. To answer your question though in relation to Kumite and Kata personally I feel they require equal time dedicated in order to develop them both to proper levels. Some people just happen to prefer Kata, others Kumite…regardless one should devote enough time to both to develop each one. Through the study of Kata you will gain many things that are needed in Kumite such as proper technique, footwork and hip development among many others. The best Kumite fighters I have ever seen were also great at Kata and the sloppiest Kumite fighters I have ever seen sucked at Kata. There is a direct coorelation between the two and one without the other is fruitless…but this is just my opinion.

  7. Aaron J says:

    I’d have to say both are equally important. One will not get better without the other. Kata helps form and function while kumite helps execution and understanding.

  8. amritamoy g says:

    In our dojo we spend more time in kata & training than kumite , I think Kata & kumite have a strong relationship only if practitioner understand the meaning of kata , like we are doing down block & then middle punch(Ten-no kata) that means , down block is for blocking a mai geri & then a middle punch to hit the opponent . etc etc .

  9. Stephen says:

    Can kata and kumite work together? Isn’t that what you really want to know? If you knew kata and kumite both worked well for fighting would your practice be a 50/50 split? Hard to say. The one thing I have seen in dozens of karate based schools is a total lack of applied forms in sparring or otherwise. It should be a 50/50 split but if you can’t transition into moves from a form when sparring then why practice them? Some kata applications are too dangerous but still, do you practice “free” sparring then seamlessly apply a technique or concept from a form? You should be able to. If you can’t maybe you can find some one who can teach you how… Just kidding…

  10. LIONDANCER says:

    That’s an interesting question. When I started out in Karate I did not like to fight. I was mostly the punching bag for my teacher who weighed 3 times more than I did and was strong as an ox. I focused on Kata. I still had to spar in class but never liked it. One senior student whom I eneded up calling my real teacher took me under his wings. He was an incredible fighter and was also very good at Kata. More over he was small too so he could relate. He made sure I executed every move with power and precision. He also made me practice all the bunkai to every move and taught me how to analyze moves which to this day turned out to be one of my greatest assets I have while training. Long story short eventually I became better in fighting and can hold my own now pretty good.
    I think it all depends how a person learns and who is teaching. In my case I learned to fight through my Kata and due to the fact that I had a teacher who excelled in fighting and knew how to teach many ways. Some people he taught through the sparring others like myself he understood how to teach through Kata. Regardless of how we all learned every student he taught turned out to be a really good fighter. Unfortunately, teachers like him are very rare. He definitely was one in a million.

  11. callsignfuzzy says:

    It depends on how the kata is trained. If it’s just used without bunkai and drills, and the overall goal is self-defense, I would relegate it to a small role. If again the goal is self-defense, and the kata are used as the basis of progressive drills and sparring is used as a way to prep the martial artist for the stresses of combat, I’d weigh kata, or more importantly the drills built from them, rather highly. I don’t find that kata without bunkai or sport-style sparring have a whole lot alike. Kata with progressive drills and “situational sparring” that’s aimed towards translating the kata movements to a live situation, not quite free sparring, can have much to do with one another. So really, it depends on how both are trained.

  12. SiFu frank says:

    During a cycle of several classes we will spend time in class as follows:
    20 min warm up exercise where I may use part of a form that most of the students can do fairly well. This helps reinforce their forms done with speed.
    Then we use about 5 min. of that 20 min for cool down and stretching.
    The next 20 min will focus on drills using the moves in the forms learned to that point. The remainder of the time about 20 min sometimes longer we will work on adding a new move or addressing applications.
    This looks like about 1/3rd of our time on Pomice or Kata if you will and the balance on physical training and application Kumite.
    I also have open time for individuals who have trouble with either forms or application or need to work out. I find some students have a difficult time with Kata and others with Kumite. I do what I can to treat them as individuals and still keep my sanity. The forms in TKD are long and I find myself blending them together in my mind. I’m sure this happens to my students as well. It is a good thing when the blending makes sense. Bad when it doesn’t fit. I find my more advanced students can do this with ease. I also find them practicing their kata on their own sometimes exploring the applications. That is when I know I have hit a home run. I still insist that my students learn the forms in their proper pattern, especially ranked below 1dan.
    Kata and Kumite are linked. Kata though should never be taught for it’s own sake. Kata teaches how to move not when or what combination will present every time. I believe in forms though not for forms sake alone.
    As someone else mentioned students that excell at forms often excell in sparing.
    Df, I’m sorry you had a bad experience at a McDojo. It is clear that at least in your case you were taught improperly. You got so many thumbs down because you paint with too broad a brush. Perhaps you view would be improved if you had the opertunity to train with a real master and good instructors who werent so full of their own BS.

  13. bunminjutsu says:

    As kata is and was designed for violent street encounters it’s value as a sparring tool is limited.One partner would have to play the part of thug .No squaring off or getting set in close attacks wild swinging punches low kicks etc. street type grappling and grabbing .Should also be done with contact so protection is a must .No violent assailant comes at you with those nice clean arrow straight punches and kicks many don’t punch and kick at all but grab you right away to overpower you.That is what kata was designed to overcome .

  14. curious1 says:

    Students are ALWAYS coming up to me and asking, “when are we going to practice fighting?”. When they do, I respond with, “if you do your katas right, you ARE fighting! Just be patient, and the next time you fight you SHOULD see a marked improvement in your kumite…. IF you were practicing your katas correctly!”. Sure enough, MOST students find this to be so. Most of our fighting drills are mixed into the workout portion of class and is not actually fighting. My students like to compete in tournaments a lot, so I have them perform their “primary” kata after the workout portion of the class and “tune them up” while the students are warmed up well. I teach new techniques, new katas, and kata interpretation at the END of class as a “cool-down”. Actual fighting between the students is generally only practiced the week before a tournament, and is substituted for the new kata and technique period after practicing their primary kata. During the 5 months of off-season from tournament, I teach the grappling moves within the katas, as well as practicing throws, falls, joint locks, etc.

    I guess it works out as, fighting about 1 to 1-1/2 hours per class the week before tournament, and 3 weeks without ACTUAL fighting, but still doing heavy bag and movement drills.

    Oh, I forgot to mention that our classes are 3 hours long !

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *