There are many types of kumite (sparring) practice
In order to break kumite into smaller fundmentals, Sugiyama Sensei has developed several kumite-gata. These kumite-gata allow the karate student to focus on a specfic aspect of their kumite, in a controled environment. Students learn to control their oponent's timing and distance, and to use these factors effectively in a sparring situation.
Concepts include: Deai (tai-no-sen): attacking on your opponents physical commitment to attack.
Deai (sen-no-sen): attacking upon your opponents mental commitment to attack.
Mikiri (go-no-sen): evading, and then attacking.