What is “Kime”? Dr. Lucio Maurino (World Karate Champion) Explains & Demonstrates

What is “kime”?

The word is frequently used by Karate people all over the world.

maurino-jesse-beach (400x398)
Me and sensei Maurino practicing sensory drills.


Few people seem to comprehend it’s full meaning.

It’s time to change that.

Today I’ve invited Lucio Maurino, holder of 22 World & European titles (EKF/WKF) and Doctor in Motor Science (Preventive & Adaptive Sports Science).

He will explain the concept of ‘kime’ in a quick and precise way for you.

You might remember sensei Maurino from our last article (Why Karate’s Classic Heel Turn is Scientifically Wrong) which caused an earthquake in the online karatesphere – and rightfully so.

You ready for round two?

Check it out:

(Can’t see the video? Go here.)


What is “Kime”?

  • Kime comes from the word “kimeru” which means “to decide” in Japanese.
  • In Karate, the term has two applications; an Eastern and a Western one.
  • The Eastern is extreme decision or focusing energy.
  • The Western is short isometric neuromuscular contraction and is based on the science of biomechanics.
  • This means you must quickly tense your muscles (snap) at the moment of impact, but not so much that your muscles are shaking.
  • Your ability to coordinate your muscles, and quickly relax before and after a technique, directly effects your kime.
  • That’s it. No magic tricks or strange sounds with your mouth.

The 4 Points of Kime

  1. Relax.
  2. Use correct technique.
  3. Have accelerating power.
  4. Stop quickly.


Want more?

Get my 25 Karate “Hacks” Proven by Science. It’s 100% FREE and will be directly sent to your e-mail. Also, if you’re interested in seeing other stuff from me and Dr. Lucio Maurino, leave a comment to let us know. Or come to KNX14 and train with us ;- )

Lastly, remember this…

Karate is a martial art.

But there’s science too.

“Study the science of art. Study the art of science.”

– Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)


  • Cecília
    Iloved this article, Dr.Lucio Maurino is very good in explainig things. I noticed that he is wearing a Seishin gi, what are his thoughts about it Jesse-san?
    • Thanks Cecília-san! You are correct. He thinks it's amazing ;-)
  • Dejan
    Western interpretation of Kime is related not to Kime, but Kinkotsu (Chinkuchi).
    • Dave
      I concur with Dejan.
    • Please elaborate Dejan-san!
    • diosdado
      I want to combine kime and chin kuchi. How could I do it? Thanks.
  • Ian
    When Maurino Sensei says in the video that "many times in the Western approach we misunderstand" kime ... does he mean that the Western concept is *wrong*? Or is he just saying that we misunderstand what the word means? It seems like what he goes on to describe (and offers, apparently, as a "good explanation" of kime) is pretty "western". I am confused ... (which usually means I am going to learn something good, soon.)
    • He means that we often misunderstand the Eastern interpretation of kime, which is more esoterical or spiritual in nature compared to the Western (biomechanical) explanation; a short isometric neuromuscular contraction.
      • Ian
        Ahh ... so both are "correct". Hmm ... Odd how ... for once ... the "western" version strips away the esoteric and spiritual, instead of looking for it where it does not really exist.
  • I love this article, I study Karate Wado starting twenty years ago. Goodbye Daniele
  • Yes! "Extreme decision." A crucial point. Thanks for posting, sir!
  • Dejan
    I'll try to explain it, but probably my English is not good enough for that. Kinkotsu (Chinkuchi) term refers to the structure of the body at the time of giving the blow, and this is achieved by isometric contraction at the end of the blow. I do not want to say that Dr. Lucio Maurino sensei gave a wrong interpretation. He just explained how Kime defines to the east and how defines it to the west. Of course, that's only my opinion.
  • Dejan
    This is a quote from one of your article, which I hope will much better explain what I want to say. Higaonna Morio, 10th dan Goju-ryu Karate has this to say about chinkuchi: “This expression [chinkuchi] is used to describe the tension or stability of the joints in the body for a firm stance, a powerful punch, or a strong block. For example, when punching or blocking, the joints of the body are momentarily locked for an instant and concentration is focused on the point of contact; the stance is made firm by locking the joints of the lower body – the ankles, the knees and the hips – and by gripping the floor with the feet. Thus a rapid free-flowing movement is suddenly checked for an instant, on striking or blocking, as power is transferred or absorbed. Then the tension is released immediately in order to prepare for the next movement.” source: https://www.karatebyjesse.com/chinkuchi-another-exotic-okinawan-karate-word/ This means that the isometric contraction at the end of the blow is not Kime, but is a way to accomplish it. Best regards. Osu
  • Excellent article as always. I would just add the 5th point "relax" to make it: The Five Points of Kime. I have learned that the final point on relaxation is almost as critical as the first. Keep up the great work!
    • You are entirely correct Rick-san, in this case the points were not intended to be in any particular order.
  • VIC
    FOCUS Excellent topic it involves so many levels timing of contraction/expansion transference of body mass to enhance the power of merely throwing a technique out there. Focus of intention the strategy involved in accomplishing intention. Plus the excellent points made by DR MAURINO
  • Thanks for presenting this topic. It's always good to hear an expert explanation. Like so many karate concepts there is a physical and a mental approach. Perhaps one is more weighted than the other depending on the culture, or one is a means to an end or part of the other. Interesting!
  • I'm glad there's a word for "the muscular contraction I've got to do exactly right and with perfect timing or else my elbow will complain for four days." It's much easier to say "kime."
  • I hope this might help make sense of Eastern and Western views of kime. In C. S. Lewis' book _The Voyage of the Dawn Treader,_ children from our world meet a man in another world who claims to be a star (as in twinkle, twinkle). One of the children objects: "In our world," said Eustace, "a star is a huge ball of flaming gas." [the man/star replies] "Even in your world, my son, that is not what a star is but only what it is made of..."
  • Irwin Chen
    Here's my take: I'll interpret it in an 'internal' point of view. It's what we call fa jing in Taijiquan, and It's common in Chen Taijiquan and subtle in other Taijiquan Styles. It's Issuing Energy where chi is released at point of impact. How to achieve this? Total commitment and relaxation of body and mind and core training exercises developed through the centuries. It's a very Eastern approah, but Western theories appear on the core training exercises where muscular dexterity is essential to 'fa jing' The strike whips, and it isn't tense. Cheers!
  • Shashank
    hoiz, but are there any excursuses to develop kime??
  • ade
    Important question is does it make punches more powerful or is it more aesthetics? The purpose of a punch is to do damage not look nice.
  • Harshad Gadkari
    Very helpful article to understand the proper meaning of "kime". Dr. Lucio Maurino have explained it in very simple language. :)
  • Rene Canales
    Kime' does not mean tension or contraction of muscles. Kime' is the connection of upper and lower body to canalize internal energy, speed and precision of the technique, and mental aptitude towards the same. Kime' is the complete opposite of tugging your tummy, locking your body parts and tensing your muscles. It requires understanding your center of gravity and the speed you can produce while executing the technique. Like the foam of the external tank on the space shuttle. It's just a piece of foam, but at 5,300 mph can do a lot of damage to the fuselage of the aircraft.
  • Emilio
    - The Eastern is extreme decision or focusing energy. - The Western is short isometric neuromuscular contraction and is based on the science of biomechanics. I prefer the eastern by far
  • Beryl Rosenberg
    How does kime reconcile with powerful Western boxing punches that do not teach a last minute tensing, though there is a whipping movement with jabs? Perhaps Western boxing is closer to FaJing than Kime?
  • deodato
    Greetings! What I self-learned about kime, and practicing it in my solitary fitness activity is that there is no difference between the eastern and western understanding about what and how to do kime in Karate or boxing. In karate, kime is that instant tensing of the fist upon impact, as it further tighten its clamp, which in doing so tightens or tense the forearm, shoulder and upper part of the lat, then instantly relax also after impact. A world champ boxer, forgot the name, said that what makes them have harder punch is that sudden tensing of their arms and body when they impact their punches. Both eastern and western practitioners of fighting arts have the same notion, by their experience, of what is kime. I could be wrong.

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