The educational system often talks about the Three R’s - Reading Writing and Arithmetic. In Karate we have Three K’s - Kihon, Kata and Kumite.
Kihon means Basics. Basics are the fundamental foundation of our art or style. In Karate, basics are our punches, our kicks, our blocks, our strikes and our stances. In order to build a strong foundation for our karate we must drill and practice the basics constantly. The honing of our basic technique is the very essence of our training and must be taken seriously in order to progress to a high level of skill. If we compare karate to learning a language, our kihon or karate basics are our vocabulary.
Kata means Form. Forms are sequences of movements that are put together in an overall pattern that we must memorize. Kata training includes the elements of direction, technique, speed, power and rhythm. On a deeper level the analysis of kata can lead to many useful discoveries for practical self-defense, since hidden within the different forms are many useful sequences of movements that can be directly applied to different scenarios. Going back to our language analogy, kata can be likened to the grammar of our karate.
Kumite means Grappling Hands, Partner Work or Sparring. Basic partner work introduces pre-arranged training drills that help us get used to using different punches, kicks, blocks and strikes. Through these set training drills we are able to directly apply our defensive movements and counters against actual attacks.