• By: Pedro Candeias
  • Date: 04/25/2017


Learn the foundational principles of José Mourinho’s training methodology and how you can adapt them to Sports Kumite!!


Here we are for the promised 7th and last article about Karate Periodization…


By now you are asking yourself what the hell has José Mourinho to teach you about Karate Sports Kumite!


How can one of the most successful football/soccer coaches in history help your athletes to improve their Kumite skills?!?


Do you know what Tactical Periodization is?


Let’s learn a little bit more about it…


Note: Karate Science Academy is just a Messenger between Science and Karate’s World. Our mission is to give you the most updated knowledge in order to help you give the healthier and more effective training methods to your students. We don’t give you our personal opinions or blindly defend any type of method. Read more about our mission.





Why did we put “USED” between quotation marks?


Because of every football/soccer coach – no matter the level of their teams – says he or she uses Tactical Periodization…


But even in football/soccer most of the coaches don’t really understand what Tactical Periodization is!!!


But let them be with their mistakes because Karate Science Academy is about KARATE!!


José Mourinho is one of the TOP LEVEL trainers that uses Tactical Periodization.


We’ll see how he do it and some more training concepts that you can fully adapt to your Kumite performance!


All from José Mourinho’s work…





You should prepare your Karate athletes – Cadets, Juniors, U-21, and Seniors – to fight according to the pre-determined model/strategy!




Develop all kinds of exercises that potentiate the desired way of fighting.


Each athlete should have a personal and unique way of fighting and you should train them always according to that.


You must find a way of making conscious first, and then subconscious, a group of fundamental principles so your athletes can naturally develop the desired way of fighting.


The Principles of Fighting are the several parts of the Fighting Model/Strategy.


The building of the intended way of fighting is made by shattering the Kumite Model/Strategy into smaller pieces.


After doing that you should highlight the pre-determined principles and link them in a progressive way.


Let’s go deeper in this!!!




You must integrate all your athletes’ dimensions, rooted on Tactical preparation.


Any technical action and any physical quality have a Tactical goal behind!!


Your final goal for each one of your Kumite athletes is that they:

  • Know how to put pressure on the opponent
  • Have the right rhythm
  • Can attack and defend effectively
  • Are able to perform good fighting transitions
  • And so on…


So they can achieve that ultimate goal every single physical, mental or emotional ability should be adapted to Kumite pre-determined Tactics!


Traditional Sports and Kumite training separates the Physical preparation from Tactical development.


José Mourinho is totally against this model!!!


Don’t understand him wrong…


It’s not a question of neglecting the physical dimension of Kumite. It’s just about subordinating it to the most important: THE FIGHTING MODEL/STRATEGY!


Tactics is like a Supradimension that mobilizes all the other dimensions in a contextualized and specific way.


Kumite Tactics is trained under conditions near to what is intended during competitions. This way physical aspects develop with specificity.


Your athletes must have the capacity of using their speed, strength, technique, endurance or flexibility, in order to give the best response to each fight situation!


According to José Mourinho’s methodology speed, strength or any other quality, have no relevance outside the specificity of each Fighting Model/Strategy.




José Mourinho defends a global approach to training… Without separating physical, technical, tactical and psychological dimensions!!


Everything is trained simultaneously… He is against Analytical Training, where you separate the several training areas and try to improve them in an isolated form!


He thinks that disintegrating athlete’s dimensions to training them isolated is an error….


… for him, that strategy is taking them out of context. And the context is the desired Fighting Model/Strategy.


You should subordinate all the Kumite training process to living the fundamental principles that support that Fighting Model/Strategy.


How José Mourinho does this?!?


For example, instead of training Strength in an isolated and out of context form, he creates exercises that replicate strength demands during a fight:


  • EXAMPLE – A Tactical-Technical exercise where your Karate athletes have to perform kicks, jumps, breaks, changes of direction, falls, etc.


The hard part of all this is to operationalize what you want for your athletes. It’s creating exercises that include all the core dimensions without forgetting the main goal: THE DEVELOPMENT OF A GIVEN FIGHTING MODEL/STRATEGY!!!


“Being in Good Shape” is fighting like the Karate coach wants. It’s not being able to achieve some quantifiable numbers on isolated physical tests.


José Mourinho believes that you can’t quantify performance in sports!


It’s always about QUALITY…




For José Mourinho, intensity in a sport that demands a great amount of decision-making like Sports Kumite it’s not a matter of biological energy use…


It’s Concentration Intensity; it’s Decision-Making Focus!!


Fatigue in these types of sports – like football/soccer or Sports Kumite – is not mainly physical.


Fatigue settles in, above all, in the Central Nervous System!


You should create situations that require your Karate athletes to put in all the resources they have: tactical, technical, psychological, emotional and cognitive.


You must stimulate them with exercises that require high-concentration levels of decision-making.


And what about training Volume?


It’s exactly the same thing… José Mourinho talks about a Volume of Concentration Intensity.


Being in a Kumite round is fundamentally about thinking and taking decisions. And that demands high levels of concentration according to each athlete’s way of fighting.


So your athletes must be able to focus as many times as they can in each competition. That involves training and learning. That requires time to achieve a certain Volume of Focus Intensity.




The Mental-Emotional dimension tends to recover slower than Physical dimension.


José Mourinho considers that most sports’ coaches make one big mistake: they push their athletes harder after a defeat!!


For the 7th football/soccer coach that won more titles in the whole history of this sport, in periods of defeat, the mental-emotional deterioration is greater. So the solution is not to train harder on the days immediately after a competition.


Note: Did you know that José Mourinho is the 1st football/soccer active coach with more titles? Yes, that’s why we think he has important knowledge to give to every trainer of every sport in the world.


That doesn’t mean that aren’t other successful alternative methods of training… But as open-minded Karateka and fans of Science, we really want to learn different and successful perspectives! Karate Science Academy was created to give the tools and the knowledge but is you the one who must use them right.


Read our article about Individual Zones of Optimal Functioning.


You want your athletes to go “fresh” in each competition. That’s possible if you don’t beat them down with the very same stimulus. Especially cognitive stimulus!


If you know that your Kumite athletes are not fully recovered mentally and emotionally from a given training session or competition the next session should be less continuous.


And also less intense in terms of Decision-Making Focus.


But remember the Supra-Principle of José Mourinho: SPECIFICITY.

For José Mourinho, even during recovery, your athletes should practice exercises that help them to strengthen the Fighting Model/Strategy.


In the physical dimension, José Mourinho defends the continuity of Specificity, without losing the desired Fighting Model/Strategy.


What he does is alternating the pattern of dominant muscular contraction. That rotation is made between more or less continuous training sessions.


Even during active recovery José Mourinho searches up for specificity!!



Instead of making slow continuous jogging, José Mourinho integrates active recovery in a Tactical-Technical context.


For example, you can put one athlete executing simple displacements with a colleague as a reference point. The athlete goes in and out of the fighting distance, simulates fighting pressure or defensive movements.


And you must give constant verbal instructions to induce a low-intensity performance. Like “I don’t want intensity. You are recovering”.


Remember this: Every exercise can be used with completely different goals, depending on what you want to stimulate. The difference is not always on the exercises you choose but mostly on how you use them!


In resume, José Mourinho doesn’t use indirect recovery methods like running in the park…


That’s why we defend this can be a good training strategy but for Karate athletes and just above Cadets (+14 years age) or even from Juniors (+16 years age).


In younger ages, general preparation plays an important role in Karateka’s development!




Habit results in Neurobiological Economy!


Training always in Specificity, as defended by José Mourinho, take Kumite athletes to a point where concentration demands become smaller during the fight. This happens when they fight more with the subconscious mind…


The habit progressively makes the triad Cortex-Body-Action less demanding!! Mastery in Kumite is achieved when the know-how becomes non-conscious…


What José Mourinho wants is that a group of principles become conscious and then subconscious. In order to boost a natural way of fighting!


This concept is particularly relevant in concentration training.


Focus on fighting is trainable, but not with jogging around the tatami or other general exercises!


You should create exercises that force your Karate athletes to think and make decisions. Those exercises should have an increasing complexity that compels them to a constant concentration.


Whenever the exercises become easily performed and when your Kumite athletes can already solve the problems you give them it’s crucial that you create new ones.




José Mourinho doesn’t use and doesn’t understand the relevance of physical tests.


How does he monitor the training improvements and if his athletes are reaching the desired level?


José Mourinho observes his players repeating the same exercise several times. Then he verifies if their global performance is according to the Fighting Model/Strategy.


He uses what he calls “Regularity Evaluation”!


Regularity Evaluation is when an athlete is able to perform in the desired way 7 or 8 times out of 10.


In Mourinho’s methodology, you can only evaluate your athlete’s performance inside of the Fighting Model/Strategy.




In every modality there are two major perspectives about training guidance:


1) Guided Discovery


2) Commanded Execution


José Mourinho is an enthusiast of the first perspective: Guided Discovery!


In Mourinho’s opinion sports’ trainers exaggerate in the usage of rules during the exercises. In his point of view Commanded Execution removes autonomy from the athletes. Training becomes military!


He thinks that athletes must be able to intervene over the problems they face, because, in Kumite for example, the experienced situations are not linear.


Versatility + Adaptability + Spontaneity + Creativity


Mourinho steps in the performance errors, but without giving direct answers or solutions.


What he makes his directing the acquisition process indicating paths but without giving solutions.


He gives clues that guide the players up to the desired Fighting Model/Strategy.




With a controlled dialogue that conducts the athletes to the pre-determined performance.





For José Mourinho, there isn’t such thing as physically well- or badly-prepared athletes…


… What exists are athletes more or less identified with the intended Fighting Model/Strategy. Athletes are adapted or not to a certain way of fighting.


Because the physiological adaptation is always specific and according to a way of fighting!





Read all the articles that Karate Science Academy wrote about Karate Training Periodization!


We promise you that they will open your perspective and give very important knowledge. And put you in the 10% of Karate Senseis that know all this stuff…




If you want to know more about Karate Science, click here.

Karate Science Academy has a mission: to take Science into all Dojos in the world.

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P.S. – Even José Mourinho says that this is not the only training planning method that builds champions! But if you want to train like him – and eventually be as much successful has José Mourinho, but in Karate – you have to follow these principles… If you don’t follow them you’re not using Tactical Periodization properly.