Kumite (sparring) is an important aspect of karate training
for kids (and adults) because it gives experience in two critical areas: timing and distance. The full range of karate techniques can be practiced through kata, or prearranged exercises, but kata cannot teach timing or distance. Sparring practice is therefore highly recommended if karate is to be practical for real self-defense, and most kids soon learn to enjoy it.
Sensei works closely with his young students to help them get used to the moving around, the footwork, the straight-line punches (no “haymakers”), the blocking and the strategies used in karate fighting. He also helps them learn the details of point-fighting for tournaments, and the Japanese terminology that referees will use.