of Ippon Kumite
Kumite places one student facing another student, approximately an arms length
hands either at their sides or in a defensive posture. There are three types of
Ippon Kumite. They are “Promise,” “Impulse,” and “Sticky Hand”
Impulse. They differ in content and intent. The Ippon kumite is done by count or
without count depending upon the type.
Ippon is meant to teach the students to defend themselves from a sudden attack,
by awareness of impending harm, by reacting instantaneously and instinctively,
with a block and
technique. All techniques are pulled in Ippon kumite, but thrown with focus. It
is the Basic Foundation of unarmed combat or self defense in the streets. In all
Ippon Kumite, I want the final result to be total control, with a hand grip of
hair or collar on a shirt and the other hand on the assailants chin, face or
eyes, in order to throw them backward into the ground, head first. That shock,
after a directional block and strike to a critical area, followed by hitting the
pavement, you finish the prone assailant off with your feet. Always be sure that
they are incapacitated, before you stop fighting, if this is a life and death
situation, as it would be for my Marine Corps students.
“Promise” Ippon one person is designated the good guy and the other is
designated the bad guy. The Sensei will tell the bad guy which blow or kick, or
what combination to throw at the good guy. Then the good guy is shown one of
many choices of block and offensive technique, with which to defend against the
attack. Multiple repetitions of each Ippon that the Sensei designates are done,
with the students changing places. Before the Ippon session is completed, many
combinations will be designated by the Sensei's and practiced until the students
become familiar with them and with the spirit and feel of the motion, including
the feeling of heightened awareness.
students progress to sessions of “Impulse” Ippon, the students stand with
their hands at their side and their is no instruction given to the students,
either on offense or defense. The Sensei only counts the repetitions. As soon as
the count is called, the bad guy throws any technique or combination he wishes.
As soon as the good guys is aware of the technique, they must defend and
As they progress, and the students learn more kata and become proficient at
them, they will have a wider selection of defense and offense at their disposal.
These too will become instinctive. Remember, in our dojo this is an essential
session based upon Mr. McGrath’s belief that his interpretation of Isshin-ryu
dogma is correct, which makes his dojo’s motto, “don’t get hit,” your
primary goal, Fighters who trade punches and kicks, taking punishment to win,
defeat the basic reason for Isshin-ryu's existence. Trading
punishment with an opponent is what leads to what the “Boxing” entrepreneurs
refer to as “punch drunk,” a mental condition, which slurs or incapacitates
the victim’s speech patterns, memory or ability to adjust to situations. Often
it is accompanied by Nervous system damage, inhibiting balance and use of the
limbs. Therefore, in my schools, Isshin-ryu is a primary defense,
until the student can see and evaluate the opponents attentions and what attack
they are about to initiate, simply by staring at their chest and watching the
movement of their clothing, which evaluates what the body is preparing to do.
Eventually, it becomes instinctive and
your block is moving into place as the opponent throws the first blow. You
should then be able to
the direction of the strike, move their body into an awkward position and strike
them, simultaneously. That is defense. In 47 years, I have been hit in the face
four times. Once as a Roku-kyu and twice by my Sensei, after I
became a brown belt. The fourth was during a match with one of my black belts,
when I was in my late fifties. Whenever one of my students struck me anywhere on
my body, I immediately saw to it, that they paid heavily for that privilege.
Remember, it may be possibly considered “Macho” to take a hard hit and come
right back to win, but in Isshin-ryu, the focus should be on
defense. A hit could incapacitate you and cause you to be open to additional
punishment. That makes a loser. Don’t get hit. Even more than Ju-Kumite or
free style fighting, Ippon Kumite prepares you for an attack and response. It is
basic self defense.