Every martial art has its own set of rules that govern which techniques are permitted and which are prohibited. Karate is no different, except that due to the nature of the sport, it has even more rules. Different competitions have their own set of rules, but we’ll concentrate on those governed by the WKF.
Under the WKF, there are two sorts of competitions. The most frequent variety is Kumite, or fight, which is commonly regarded as sport Karate, while the other is Kata, which is more of a demonstrational style.
Rules and Regulations for Kumite
Kumite, or combat, is the battle part of Karate. It literally means “the meeting of hands,” which is exactly what it is. Two Karateka (Karate practitioners) compete in a point war. That is to say, the goal is not to knock out or injure your opponent, but to score points and win using the best strategies available. There are a variety of scoring schemes, each with a distinct number of points. We’ll talk about scoring a little later.
You must have the proper protective equipment before the competition begins. A mouth guard, a body protective garment, and shin guards with instep padding are among the items on the list. WKF-approved equipment is required, and you cannot fight without wearing WKF-approved protective gear. The WKF also recommends a groyne guard, but it is not needed in competition.
The match is held on a square Tatami, which is a matted area measuring 8m x 8m with 1m added on each side for the safety area. The bout is interrupted and the referee resets the bout to the centre if a practitioner exits the Tatami. The opponents bow to each other before the bout begins, and the referee begins the match.
Rules and Regulations for Kata
There are no opponents in Kata. Individual or team Kata demonstrations are performed in front of a panel of judges who award grades based on your performance. As a result, the grading rules are different than in Kumite. Several categories will be graded by the judges.
The first is conformance, which determines how well you followed the Kata’s form and style guidelines. Then you’ll be graded on your technical abilities. This involves breathing, stances, transitions (movements between actions), striking techniques, timing, breathing, and, finally, the technical complexity of the Kata performed.
Your athleticism will also be judged, so it’s critical that you’re in top physical and mental shape. They give you a grade based on your speed, strength, and balance, as well as the rhythm you’ve established (for instance, if you start with fast exchanges between techniques, but slow down as the Kata is performed, your grade will be lower).
Penalties have an impact on the final grade, and disqualifications are uncommon. This includes missing or erroneous Kata motions, balance issues, and the use of aural signals to aid your performance, among other things. Even a loose belt can be considered an infraction, making the perfect Kata very hard to achieve.