It would be useful to progress the Ippon Kumite training methodology beyond that of the standard jiyu ippon kumite illustrated in the previous post, to see if the techniques practised work in a situation closer to an actual fight. One thing I used to do when I trained strictly traditional karate was to reduce the time available for the defender. Rather than start from long stance the starting position would be made progressively closer, using sanchin and heiko rather than zenkutsu. It is possible to really shorten the distance and time available to the defender in this way or similar. The outcome is that available responses become much more limited, refining the response options.The next stage would be to attempt to implement these refined options in a freer scenario. Can you use these techniques in a fight? It is the instructor’s job to create drills to test the trained options. If a movement or technique does not work it gets binned.
Gasshuku Ippon Kumite
I’ve been on gasshuku’s where we would have a long Ippon Kumite session, swapping partners but going through exactly the same methodology with each, six attacks on each side of the body from long stance (head, torso and groin punches and front, side and roundhouse kicks). The idea was to try different responses throughout the session.
To be fair it was pretty good fun but you learnt very little. It would have been better to have a go at some of the techniques the higher ability people were employing and then work them using something like the Ippon progression I described above. That would have been more useful and would have fitted in with the ‘form police‘ ideology; i.e. everything could have been done ‘in stance’. Sadly, even that was small step was too much.
The upshot of the sort of Ippon Kumite training we did was that people would often spar in a disjointed way. Even on gradings this could be the case. I remember a grading where there was a multiples section, 2 on 1. I was really happy because I knew that I wouldn’t be called up for being too aggressive and for my group this part of the grading was very good with both attackers fighting as a team. However, the other group with the same 2 on 1 remit was more like a karate demo where one attack comes after another, poor.
Start with Ippon?
The Ippon Kumite I describe would probably improve the standard model, however it’s a bit like putting lipstick on a pig! Better to drop the whole thing and try something that provides more value. I am in favour of training that is sufficiently fluid so a beginner has a chance to pick stuff up. Altering the timing to make it easier is one method of doing this, which is probably what Ippon Kumite was intended to provide. However, for the training to be of value this easier training methodology simply has to be accompanied with training that applies the learned skills in a drill that is more representative of what is required in the real world; whether that be in the ring, cage or in a bar brawl.
While safety has to be a consideration, it is essential to at least attempt to bring the dojo into the 21st century! This could mean dropping training methods of limited value, such as Sanbon, Ippon Kumite and San Dan Ge, or at the very least moving these training practices on a little.
Originally posted 2010-11-14 18:17:41. Republished by Blog Post Promoter