"Basic one-step sparring" is normally taught at the beginner and intermediate levels. In this form of kumite, the attacker may use only one attack with one step. Many different attack forms can be used, such as various strikes and kicks, but only one at a time. After each single attack, both opponents must restart. One-step sparring is very useful in teaching the student how to counter-attack quickly, preventing the opponent from launching a second attack. It is at this stage of kumite where the defender learns tai sabaki, or "body shifting." This occurs when the karateka shifts off the axis of attack (i.e. moves out of the way), making the block almost superfluous, and then delivers a counter-attack. As in all kihon-kumite sets, the defender starts in a natural stance and basic technique is maintained throughout by both participants. Ippon-kumite has many variations, such as gaeshi-ippon-kumite (returning one-step sparring), whereby the attacker receiving the counter-attack must block it and counter as well. In okuri-ippon-kumite (sliding sparring), the attacker throws two attacks instead of only one and both must be defended against. Kihon-ippon-kumite training provides the tools necessary for jiyu-ippon-kumite.
"Freestyle one-step sparring" (also known as "semi-free sparring") is very similar to basic-one step sparring, except that in jiyu-ippon, both participants start in jiyu-kamae (freestyle position). After each attack and counter-attack is made, the participants return to jiyu-kamae position. Sometimes, more than one counter-attack is executed. Jiyu-ippon is usually taught to intermediate and advanced karateka. Although moving a little closer to actual free-sparring, this is still a form of yakusoku-kumite (announcement sparring). Jiyu-ippon is taught to students in an effort to bridge the gap between basic yakusoku-kumite and jiyu-kumite (free-sparring), facilitating the transition from one to the other. Of course, one must always keep in mind that the rules for jiyu-ippon performance can vary greatly from one dojo to the next.