Sparring (kumite) is a form used to apply offensive and defensive techniques
practiced in the kata, under more realistic conditions, in which by
prearrangement between participants one applies offensive and defensive
techniques. Karate, to the very end, should be practiced with kata as the
principal method and sparring as a supporting method.
April 2, 2007 Midwest Jiyu-kumite (free sparring) championship highlights:
sente nashi 空手に
先手 無し [ からてに せんて なし ]
[ からて ] (literally ‘empty
ni [ に
‘toward’ ‘karate-ni’ could be read ‘in
karate’ or ‘toward karate’.
Sente先手 [ せんて ] (literally
‘first hand’) means ‘the first move’
Nashi無し[ なし ] literally
‘without’) means ‘does not exist’
sente nashi’ means ‘the first attack does
not exist in karate’ – a fundamental strategy in karate-do is to
force the opponent to commit to a first attack – at the moment he does,
you destroy him. (this phrase can also be translated, 'there
is no first attack in karate').
It has long been said that there is no advantage to the one who makes the first
attack in karate, and whether performing kata or kumite, the front fist is used
for defense and the fist held to the back is used for offense.
Consequently, immediately following (without a hairbreadth delay) the blocking
of a opponent's attack with the front fist, the rear fist is used to destroy the
opponent. If there is even the slightest delay in the movement, one will
be forced into the predicament of maintaining a defensive role. There are
times, depending upon the moment or adjusting to a changing situation when the
defensive hand becomes an offensive hand (changing hands, or 'hente'), and
frequently in actual cases it is more effective than the orthodox use.