Major karate tournaments, world championships & competition rules

Where do the most famous karateka actually perform? At the renowned karate tournaments, of course. In the international competitions, the rankings in the different age and weight classes will be reshuffled. We introduce you to the major competitions that are held and provide an overview of the karate competition rules.

Karate ranking
© bananna – Fotolia.com

Great championships in karate

There is no table in karate, such as the Judo Bundesliga in judo. The karatekas compete against each other in regional associations and choose the best at the German team championships. There are also major international tournaments, more on this below.

  • Karate was first introduced in Tokyo in 1970 World Champion determined, since then the world championships have been held every two years. The WKF (World Karate Federation), which has over 180 member states, is responsible for the organization. The undisputed leader of the all-time table is Japan with over 30 gold medals ahead of second place, France.
  • The karate European championships have been held annually since 1966 and represent the second highest challenge for German clubs after the world championship in terms of international karate competition. The record holder at the EM is France, although the lead of the French is not as great as that of Japan at the World Cup.
  • Karate is not yet among them either Olympic Games represented. So far, representatives of the sport had tried three times to no avail. There are a number of votes that seek to get karate included.

National Karate Championships

The Karate Bundesliga was regarded as the highest national league from 1991 to 2002, but has not existed since 2002. Since then, the system has been changed so that the first teams from the regional associations qualify for the German team championships.

  • The German team championships organized by the DKV (German Karate Association) take place annually and are divided according to age groups. A separate championship for people with disabilities will also be held.
  • Various other tournaments take place across the country, which are then organized by the regional associations, for example. Check the association responsible for your region (in Bavaria, for example, the Bayrische Karate Bund eV) to find out the next competition dates.

Classes at the competition

The karate rules of the DKB write a division into Age groups which look like this:

  • Children B U8
  • Children A U10
  • Student B U12
  • Student A U14
  • Youth U16
  • Juniors U18
  • U21 U21
  • Performance class from 18
  • Masterklasse Ü30
  • Masterklasse Ü40
  • Masterklasse Ü50
  • Masterklasse Ü60

In each of these age groups there are additional 2 to 5 weight classeswhich, however, only apply to the Kumite discipline. There, in turn, individual ranking lists are given. Furthermore, the master classes over 50 and over 60 in Kumite exist only for men, the karate women in these age groups can only compete in the Kata discipline. There are no karate weight classes in the Kata discipline, as there are no physical differences to compensate for due to the lack of opponents.

The age and weight classes in karate are published every year in the form of a PDF file by the German Karate Association: Zum Karateverband

What are the rules for the competition?

In the Kumite discipline, your goal is to beat your opponent by winning points. Points are awarded for hits that are powerfully executed, but are stopped in front of the opponent’s body in order to avoid damage.

Karate Kumite rules state: foot techniques on the head and neck as well as techniques on the fallen opponent bring 3 points, foot techniques on chest and stomach 2 points and all other hand and arm techniques 1 point.

For the Discipline Kata the set of rules is much smaller, as the protection of the opponent does not have to be considered here. Only the execution of the techniques in terms of strength, speed, precision and timing is evaluated.

One applies to all karate competitions Dress code, the details of which can be found in the respective examination regulations. Before the competition, find out from the responsible association which detailed rules apply to your competition in order to avoid disqualification due to such superficialities.

The first rule of Funakoshi is: “Karate begins and ends with respect“And should really be heeded by you. This means that any quarrels, provocations and insults on and next to the mat have no place and can very quickly lead to exclusion from the tournament. The judges are adamant here. As always, it goes without saying that the main referee has the last word and his instructions are to be followed with immediate effect.

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