Sanbon Kumite means ‘three-step sparring’ and like Gohon Kumite refers to the three forward and backward steps taken by each opponent depending on whether you are the attacker or the defender. Sanbon Kumite once again drills attacks and defenses just like Gohon Kumite. The main difference however is that the attacker delivers three consecutive attacks of a different nature, i.e. front punch to the head, front punch to the body and front kick, as opposed to five front punches to the head.
This variance in the kind of attack and the level of the attack makes Sanbon Kumite a little more advanced than Gohon Kumite, although it is still predominantly practiced at the lower level ranks.
The attack in Sanbon Kumite is always fixed and is front punch to the head followed by front punch to the body followed by front kick. At the higher level the order of attacks can be changed and at times the kind of attack can be changed if practicing modified Sanbon Kumite. There are five official defense sets in the S.K.I.F. syllabus, although only the first two sets are tested in the lower rank grading. Intermediate and advanced practitioners should know all five set defenses and be able to perform modified versions of the set defenses too.
No.1 defense requires the attacker to block the head punch with a rising block, the body punch with an outer block and the front kick with a downward block before countering with a reverse punch.
No.2 defense requires the attacker to block the head punch with a rising block (like no.1), the body punch with an inside block, the front kick with a reverse downward block (opposite hand to the front leg) before countering with a double punch combination to the head and then body.
Grading candidates at the lower level ranks are expected to demonstrate these defenses from left side only at 8th kyu to 7th kyu and from left and right sides from 7th kyu to 6th kyu.