Kime vs. Sun-Dome

The essence of karate techniques is kime. The meaning of kime is an explosive attack to the target using the appropriate technique and maximum power (intensity) in the shortest time possible. Long ago there was the expression ikken hissatsu, meaning “to kill with one blow”, but to assume from this that killing is the objective is dangerous incorrect. It should be remembered that the students of old were able to practice kime daily and in dead seriousness by using the makiwara or striking board.

Kime may be accomplished by striking, punching, or kicking but also by blocking. A technique lacking kime can never be regarded as true karate, no matter how great the resemblance to karate. A contest is no exception; however, is against the rules to make “hard” contact because of the danger involved.

Sun-dome means to arrest a technique just before contact with the target. Not carrying a technique through to kime is not true karate, so the question is how to reconcile the contradiction between kime and sun-dome. The answer is this: establish the target slightly in front of an opponent’s vital point. It can then be hit in a controlled way with maximum power without making contact.

Conversely, it is essential for a defender to learn to absorb a strike, no matter how hard he is hit. To show pain and incapacity invites a quick defeat. There must be no flinch or facial expression after receiving a well timed strike. Any sign of weakness will only energize an attacker to become more aggressive. A defender should look into his attacker’s eyes and transmit a message (“Is that the best you can do?”) that will plant a seed of doubt or hesitation.

Training transforms various parts of the body into weapons to be sued freely and effectively. The quality necessary to accomplish this is self-control. To become a victor, one must first overcome himself.