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Karate Sport Versus the Art


There is a great difference between karate the sport, and karate the art, especially in kumite. Now that being said, tournaments do attempt to encompass both the sport via kumite competitions and the art through kata competitions. Many dojo focus primarily on the art side, many dojo focus on the competition side, and many dojo effectively focus on both.


An over emphasis on the sport, however, will possibly lead to issues with those students whom prefer the martial art side of the equation. The dividing line between these two aspects of karate is clearly the changes to the implementation of technique. For sport kumite, techniques are executed very differently than they are implemented in kata competitions. Training for the sport kumite does not look anything like training for kata. By adjusting strikes, kicks, and blocks for current kumite rules, we are changing the art and many students may not appreciate that the sport efforts are a singularly limited view of karate as a whole. If you view karate as a whole, most traditional karateka would place sport as a lesser amount of the overall karate efforts. Thus, traditionalist students may question sensei about the effectiveness of sport techniques versus traditional techniques.  And again, some dojo forego sport karate completely focussing entirely on karate the art.


Fortunately, there is room for both sport and traditionalism in the dojo. It is up to the sensei to clearly delineate sport applications from traditional applications for kumite. The important thing as a sensei is to make room for both aspects to co-exist and be clear to the students as to where the overall emphasis needs to be. Dojo where students are heavily involved in sport karate have an obligation to also emphasize to the students that the traditional karate has a place to play. Dojo that does not participate in sport karate also has an obligation to emphasize to those students that there is a sport aspect to karate as well.


Sensei's Corner

Episode 004 Karate Sport Versus the Art
Karate Sport Versus the Art
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