Where do the most famous karateka actually perform? Of course, at the renowned karate tournaments. At the international competitions, the rankings are reshuffled in the various age and weight categories. We introduce you to which major competitions are held and provide an overview of karate competition rules.

Karate Rangliste
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Major championships in karate

In karate there is no table, as for example in judo the Judo Bundesliga. The karatekas compete against each other in state associations and choose the best at the German team championships. Internationally, there are also major tournaments, more about this in the following.

  • For the first time in 1970 the karate world champion was determined in Tokyo, since then the world championships are held every two years. Responsible for the organization is the WKF (World Karate Federation), which has over 180 member states. The undisputed leader of the eternal table is Japan with more than 30 gold medals ahead of the second place named France.
  • The European Karate Championships have been held annually since 1966 and represent for German clubs the second highest challenge after the World Championships as far as international karate competition is concerned. The record holder at the European Championships is France, although the French lead is not as great as Japan’s lead at the World Championships.
  • Karate is not yet represented at the Olympic Games. So far, representatives of the sport had unsuccessfully applied for inclusion three times. There are a number of votes that want to achieve that karate is included.

National Karate Championships

The Karate Bundesliga was considered the highest national league in the period from 1991 to 2002, but no longer exists since 2002. Since then, the system has been changed so that the first teams of the state associations qualify for the German team championships.

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

Classes at the competition

The Karate rules of the DKB prescribe a division into age groups, which are as follows:

  • Children B U8
  • Children A U10
  • Pupils B U12
  • Pupils A U14
  • Youth U16
  • Juniors U18
  • U21 U21
  • Power class from 18
  • Master class Ü30
  • Master class Ü40
  • Master class Ü50
  • Master class Ü60

In each of these age classes, there are an additional 2 to 5 weight classes, which, however, only apply to the discipline Kumite. There again individual rankings are awarded. Furthermore, the master classes Ü50 and Ü60 in Kumite exist only for the men, the karate women can compete in these age classes only in the discipline Kata. In the discipline Kata there are no Karate weight classes, since here for lack of opponents no physical differences are to be balanced.

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

What are the rules for the competition?

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

Karate Kumite rules state: foot techniques to the head and neck and techniques on the downed opponent earn 3 points, foot techniques to the chest and abdomen earn 2 points, and all other hand and arm techniques earn 1 point.

For the discipline Kata the set of rules is clearly smaller, since here the protection of the combat opponent does not have to be considered. Only the execution of the techniques in the points of strength, speed, precision and timing is evaluated.

For all karate competitions a dress code applies, the details of which can be found in the respective examination regulations. Before the competition, inform yourself at the responsible federation, which detailed rules are valid for your competition, in order to avoid a disqualification because of such superficialities.

The first rule of Funakoshi is: “Karate begins and ends with respect” and should really be taken to heart by you. This means that any quarrels, provocations as well as insults on and off the mat have no place and can very quickly lead to disqualification from the tournament. The judges are unyielding here. As always, the Referee has the last word and his instructions must be followed with immediate effect.