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rbartley's picture
Practicality of Wado Kihon Kumite

Dear forum members,

I come from a rather mixed karate background but have trained with a Wado based group for many years now.  Since moving abroad, I have been exposed to many other clubs and training methods, which could be considered both a good and a bad thing.

While the Wado group I train with is Wado-based it does not include the practice of kihon kumite or ohyo kumite.  Over the past year or so I have trained with other groups who do practice these and I am trying to apply the principles found within them to my own training.  I would be interested to hear from other Wadoka about their experiences of kihon and ohyo kumite.  Do you regard them as being effective from a 'fighting' and/or self-defence point-of-view (please do not read to much into my choice of words here, I have used these terms to distinguish this from competition sparring)?  What other benefits do you think practicing them brings?  do you see any disadvantages in practicing them?

I look forward to hearing from you,


Black Tiger
Black Tiger's picture

Spending 4 years practicing Wado Ryu, I enjoyed the Ohyo & Kihon Gumite that is exclusive to Wado, BUT that's the point. It's excluisive to Wado.

I "tried" several of these against a Tang Soo Do Blackbelt and they'd didn't work the same or at all. but in my Wado Class the same Day they worked perfect against another Wado'ist.

To me they have something but not to be concidered as the ultimate training media

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

I think the Kihon Gumite demonstrate body shifting, and the Ohyo Gumite do contain techniques that are applicable to karate vs. karate “competition style” sparring. I don’t think either are particularly relevant to self-defence due to the formal nature of the Kihons, and the distance and types of attacks we see in the Ohyos. The Ohyos are something I no longer teach or practise as we don’t spar in that way and hence they would be a dead end for us. I also don’t see much value in one-step sparring so we’ve dropped those too.  See this podcast for my reasoning there:


The Kihons we do still practise because they do have some nice ideas on body shifting (even if presented in a very formal way), but primarily because they are part of our martial heritage and we like them for the “art” that they provide. So we don’t practise them for their self-defence value, but their value as art, history and (overly) formal demonstration of the concepts body shifting. I enjoy doing them too.

There are only ten of them, and they are all very short (most are just 2 or 3 motions), so they don’t take up a huge amount of training time. Our bunkai drills (which do have direct relevance to self-defence) are much greater in terms of numbers and time spent on them. So I don’t feel we lose anything by devoting a little time to their practise.

All the best,


Dill Young
Dill Young's picture

Hello. I am from a Wado background and practised both Kihon gumite and Ohyo for many years. As far as I know the Ohyo were put together by Tatsuo Suzuki and were developed along sport karate lines as Wado was a major player in early British sport karate tournaments. However there are one or two throws in there so its a bit of a mixed bag, but must be taken in the context of the time they were introduced. As far as i know i dont think they were ever brought from Japan by the early Instructors.

I like Iain , still practise the Kihon from time to time and enjoy it as a Karateka v Karateka excersise. However ,I believe that the principles contained are still of some relevence, you need to adapt them to be of value for self defence. They all contain centreline theory and perhaps one of the best legacys for me personally was it taught you to move efficiently and develop sensitivity  using the other persons energy against them which is quite a valuable martial skill. But I always thought they werent taught very well. The distance is too big for self defence and quite often in the opening moves we were encouraged to avoid the incoming punch rather than re-direct their power. it makes more sense if you pull/draw your opponent off line rather than you move off line, this takes a way your opponents power from the off and you immediately begin to take advantage of the situation.

However , there are many Wado groups and over time many people would have adapted/changed them or "stayed within the traditional way" depending of course who you were taught by. This is just my experience. Another way of looking at them is that they contain a lot of hand/arm positions that you see in fundamental kata such as Sanchin and naifanchi...  if you understand those kata then you get a better /stronger way of holding/rooting yourself whilst being attacked which is useful and better applied at close quarters. You have given me the urge to include them in my next session. Thanks.