Karate World Championships

Karate World Championships
Competition details
Discipline Karate
Type kumite and kata, biennial
Organiser World Karate Federation (WKF)
First edition 1970 in Tokyo, Japan
Editions 23 (2016)
Final edition 2016 in Linz, Austria
Most wins 188 medals  Japan

The Karate World Championships, also known as the World Karate Championships, are the highest level of competition for karate organized by the World Karate Federation (WKF).[1][2][3][4][5] The competition is held in a different city every two years.[6] Some of the most recent championships include Madrid in 2002, Monterrey in 2004, Tampere in 2006, Tokyo in 2008, and Belgrade in 2010.[7][8] The competition was initially riddled with controversy regarding karate styles and the ruleset.[2][9][10][11][12]

In 1984, women were first allowed to compete in the championships.[9]

Competition and events


  • Individual kumite – men and women
  • Team kumite – men and women

Kumite Rules

The result of a bout is determined by a contestant obtaining a clear lead of eight points, having the highest number of points at time-up, obtaining a decision (hantei), or by an accumulation of prohibited behaviors imposed against a contestant.

Scoring & Penalties

  • Ippon (three points)
    • Jodan (head, face, neck) kicks
    • Any scoring technique delivered on a thrown or fallen opponent
  • Waza-ari (two points)
    • Chudan (abdomen, chest, back, side) kicks
  • Yuko (one point)
    • Tsuki (punch)
    • Uchi (strike)
  • Prohibited behavior
    • Category 1
      • Techniques which make excessive contact, in regards to the scoring area attacked, or make contact with the throat
      • Attacks to the arms or legs, groin, joints, or instep
      • Attacks to the face with open hand techniques
      • Dangerous or forbidden throwing techniques
    • Category 2
      • Feigning or exaggerating injury
      • Exit from the competition area (jogai) not caused by the opponent
      • Self-endangerment by indulging in behavior which exposes the contestant to injury by the opponent, or failing to take adequate measures for self-protection (mubobi)
      • Avoiding combat as a means of preventing the opponent having the opportunity to score
      • Passivity – not attempting to engage in combat (cannot be given after less than the last 10 seconds of the match)
      • Clinching, wrestling, pushing, or standing chest-to-chest without attempting a scoring technique or takedown
      • Grabbing the opponent with both hands for any other reason than executing a takedown upon catching the opponent's kicking leg
      • Grabbing the opponent's arm or karategi (uniform) with one hand without immediately attempting a scoring technique or takedown
      • Techniques which, by their nature, cannot be controlled for the safety of the opponent, and other dangerous and uncontrolled attacks
      • Simulated attacks with the head, knees, or elbows
      • Talking to or goading the opponent
      • Failing to obey the orders of the referee
  • Warnings and penalties
    • Chukoku is imposed for the first instance of a minor infraction in the applicable category.
    • Keikoku is imposed for the second instance of a minor infraction in that category, or for infractions not serious enough to merit hansoku-chui.
    • Hansoku-chui is a warning of disqualification usually imposed for infractions for which a keikoku has previously been given in that bout; it may be imposed directly for serious infringements which do not merit hansoku.
    • Hansoku is the penalty of disqualification following a very serious infraction or when a hansoku-chui has already been given. In team matches, the offender's score will be zeroed and the opponent's score will be set at eight points.


  • Individual kata – men and women
  • Team kata (synchronized) – men and women
  • Team kata with bunkai

List of Karate World Championships

Edition Year Host City Country Events
11970Tokyo Japan2
21972Paris France2
31975Long Beach United States2
41977Tokyo Japan2
51980Madrid Spain10
61982Taipei Chinese Taipei13
71984Maastricht Netherlands13
81986Sydney Australia15
91988Cairo Egypt16
101990Mexico City Mexico16
111992Granada Spain16
121994Kota Kinabalu Malaysia16
131996Sun City South Africa17
141998Rio de Janeiro Brazil17
152000Munich Germany17
162002Madrid Spain17
172004Monterrey Mexico17
182006Tampere Finland17
192008Tokyo Japan17
202010Belgrade Serbia16
212012Paris France16
222014Bremen Germany16
232016Linz Austria16
242018Madrid Spain16

All-time medal table

The following reflects the all-time medal counts as of the 2016 World Karate Championships:

1 Japan864854188
2 France534567165
3 Great Britain24181557
4 Spain202369112
5 Italy183251101
6 Turkey1282848
7 Netherlands10111839
8 Iran871934
9 Germany7113250
10 United States6111835
11 Azerbaijan65314
12 Egypt581932
13 England54918
14 Brazil44715
15 Venezuela431017
16 Finland43815
17 Sweden34512
18 Australia331016
19 Russia33713
20 Serbia31610
21 Croatia24915
22 Greece2439
23 Mexico2349
24 Austria22610
25 Serbia and Montenegro2068
26 Norway15410
27 Chinese Taipei13610
28 Vietnam1304
29 Slovakia1179
30  Switzerland1168
31 Netherlands Antilles1135
32 China1113
33 Senegal1102
34 Benin1012
36 Chile1001
 South Africa1001
39 Hungary0437
40 Canada0358
41 Bosnia and Herzegovina0347
42 Yugoslavia0224
43 Tunisia0213
44 Peru0178
45 Belgium0145
47 Kazakhstan0134
48 Malaysia0123
49 Czech Republic0112
52 Czechoslovakia0101
55 Ukraine0033
56 Romania0022
57 Algeria0011
 Dominican Republic0011
 Independent Olympic Athletes0011
Totals (69 nations)3073065681181

See also


  1. Coleman, Jim (September 1992). "Questions and Answers with Wuko's Head Man". Black Belt. 30 (9): 30–33. Retrieved 8 November 2014.
  2. 1 2 "Black Belt". Books.google.co.uk. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
  3. Malaysia welcome extra category. Thestar.com.my (2008-11-19). Retrieved on 2011-05-14.
  4. Sports: Three fighters, one heart. Sptimes.com. Retrieved on 2011-05-14.
  5. Mmegi Online :: Karate team leaves for WFK Championships. Mmegi.bw (2010-10-22). Retrieved on 2011-05-14.
  6. Olympic Bid Sports Capsules – Olympics – ESPN. Sports.espn.go.com (2009-06-14). Retrieved on 2011-05-14.
  7. "World Karate Championships returning to Japan". Japan Today. Retrieved 2010-02-23.
  8. "Karate World Championship to be Held in Belgrade Next Year". Ministry of Sport. Retrieved 2011-05-04.
  9. 1 2 "Black Belt". Books.google.co.uk. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
  10. "Black Belt". Books.google.co.uk. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
  11. "Black Belt". Books.google.co.uk. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
  12. "Black Belt - Google Books". Books.google.co.uk. Retrieved 2015-09-27.
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