Kumite is one of the three elements of karate (karate training includes kihon - technique improvement, kata fight with imaginary opponents, and kumite fight with a real opponent. This is a fight in which basic techniques executed with "empty hands" (an unarmed hand) acquire a real meaning in confrontation with a real opponent. Correctness and thoroughness of techniques" execution are the basis of kumite. It is not easy to become aware of it, especially for the beginners. Only after some time students come to realize that kumite is the kind of the fight with the opponent, which aims at own expression and self-improvement. So it is necessary to make the maximum physical and mental effort which would allow to keep constant concentration and to execute each technique with appropriate efficiency and strength. This is to block the opponent"s effective reaction.
Depending on the level of advancement, contests are led in various ways. We distinguish three categories: basic (fixed distance and announced techniques kihon ippon kumite), semi-free (free distance, at the first, announced attack technique executed in the fixed time - juyu ippon kumite) and free (the competitors can use any technique without a warning. However, they must be in full control of their blows so as not to hurt an opponent - jiyu kumite).
Since the ultimate aim of karate is control of oneself and of one's emotions, it becomes clear why in free category, kumite is the last stage of training in this form of karate.