Karate is a contact activity. However, our style stresses control. This means, one must be able to execute a technique with full power and extension, but develop an understanding of their distance in order to stop that technique prior to making contact; a skill much more difficult that just making impact. That is not to say however, there is no contact in the dojo. We practice drills to condition our bodies to absorb and become accustomed to some impact. As we practice to improve our skills, sometimes, contact is made with one another. While some of this contact is not intentional, it is an important part of the learning process. This is why dojo etiquette and respect for each other is so important in our dojo.
Kumite (free sparring) is often an activity that many are anxious to start when beginning karate. But there is much more to karate than kumite. One must learn basic skills and build a good foundation in these skills before advancing to kumite. A baby must learn to crawl before it can walk. And it must learn to walk before it can run. The same holds true for kumite. It may look easy, but imagine a baby trying to run before even learning to crawl. If learning kumite is your goal, patience and hard work are the key.
How Soon Do New Students Get to Free Spar?