World Union of Karate Organisation
Kumite and Kata Rules

- Article 1: Competition Area

  1. The competition area must be flat and devoid of hazard.
  2. The competition area must be a matted square set out as per appendix 4.

- Article 2: Official Dress

  1. Contestants and their coaches must wear the official uniform as defined in Appendix 1.
  2. Referees and Judges must wear the official uniform as defined in Appendix 1. The chief referee may disbar any official or competitor who does not comply with this regulation.

- Article 3: Organisation of Kumite competitions

  1. A Karate tournament may comprise Kumite and/ or kata competition. The Kumite competition may be further divided into the team match and the individual match. The individual match may be further divided into weight divisions. Weight also describes the individual Kumite competitions between opposing pairs of team members.
  2. In team matches, each team must have odd number of contestants. The number of contestants can be decided by the agreement of the organizers.
  3. The contestants are all members of the team. There are no fixed reserves.
  4. Before each match, a team representative must hand into the official table, an official form defining the names and fighting order of the team members. The fighting order can be changed for each round but once notified, it cannot then be changed.
  5. A team will be disqualified if any of its members or its coach changes the team’s composition without submitting the written fighting order. Use of reserve constitutes a change in fighting order.
  6. In a team match, a participation team will be allowed to participate only when it comprised more than half the prescribed number of members.
  7. No contestant may be replaced by another in an individual title match.
  8. Individual contestants or teams that do not arrive at the competition venue before the tournament is declared open may be disqualified from participation in that tournament.
  9. Should individual contestants or teams that have applied for participation, either fail to attend a match without good reason, or without notifying in advance the match-conducting authorities, quit the match and leave, a disciplinary measure to be applied will be decided upon by the referee council following a recommendation from the chief referee.

- Article 4: The referee Panel

  1. The refereeing panel for each match shall consist of one arbitrator (Kansa) one referee (Shushin) and one judge (Fukushin).
  2. In addition, for the purpose of facilitating the operation of matches, several time keepers, caller-announcers and record-keepers shall be appointed.

- Article 5: Duration of Bout

  1. The normal duration of a bout is in principle, two of three minutes of fighting time. This, however, can be extended to five minutes according to the rules of the tournament.
  2. The timing of the bout starts when the referee gives the signal to start and stops each time he calls "Yame".
  3. The time-keeper shall give signals by a clearly audible gong, or buzzer indicating "30 seconds to go" or "time's up". The time us signal marks the end of the bout.

- Article 6: Scoring

  1. The result of a bout is determined by either contestant scoring 3 Ippons, 6 Waza-ari, or a combination of the two totaling Sanbon, or obtaining a decision, by a Hansoku, Shikkaku, of Kiken imposed against a contestant.
  2. It must be noted that an Ippon is worth two Waza-ari.
  3. An Ippon is awarded on the basis of the following:
  4. A scoring technique counts as an Ippon when it is preformed according to the following criteria to a scoring area:

- Article 7: Criteria for Decision

  1. In the absence of a Sanbon score, of a defeat caused by Kiken, Hansoku, of a Shikkaku during the bout, a decision is taken on the basis of the following considerations:
  2. A penalty or warning incurred in the bout will be carried forward to the Encho-Sen.
  3. The winning team is the one with the most bout victories.
  4. If two teams have the same number of victories and scores, a deciding bout must be held between representatives of the two teams. In the event of a continuing tie, there is an extension ("Encho-Sen") and the first contestant to be awarded Ippon or Waz-ari is declared the winner, If the tie persists, each team will select a futher representative and so on, until a decision is obtained.
  5. If there is no decision after a bout of an individual match, an extension ("Encho-Sen") will be fought. In the event of a tied "Encho-Sen" in an individual bout, the referee will announce the majority decision of the panel.

- Article 8: Prohibited Behavior

  1. The following are forbidden:
  2. Control to scoring areas must be reasonable. Techniques which touch the areas may be scored and but those which cause actual injury may not be scored and could incur a penalty for lack of control. In the case of kick techniques, a greater tolerance is allowed, provided that the attack is controlled and the impact does not cause obvious injury.
  3. Jogai relates to a situation where a contestant’s foot, of part there of moves outside of the area/ an exception is when the contestant is actually propelled from the area by his opponent.
  4. Mubobi relates to a situation where one, or both contestants display a lack of regard for his, or their own safety.
  5. In addition to the above, attention is drawn to the coach’s behavior. He shall at all times during the operation of a match, remain in his position and must not by word or deed, interrupt, or cause to be interrupted, the smooth operation of the match. In the event that the coach contravenes this rule, then his competitor, or competitors will be penalized according to the provisions of Article 9 of these rules.

- Article 9: Penalties

  1. Every fighter who contravenes the rules shall be warned or penalized. The nature of the penalty will be announced by the referee after the appropriate consultation within the referee panel.
  2. Warnings may be imposed for attempted minor infractions of the rules. Warnings may also be imposed for the first instance of any minor infractions.
  3. The following scale of penalties shall operate:
  4. Shikkaku This is disqualification from the actual tournament, competition, or, match. The opponent’s score is raised to Sanbon. In order to define the limit of shikkaku, the chief referee must be consulted and he may refer the matter to the referee council if he considers futher disciplinary action is merited, Shikkaku may be invoked for the following:

- Article 10: Injuries and accidents in competition

  1. Kiken of forfeiture is the decision given when a contestant or contestants refuse to continue, abandon the bout, or are withdrawn on the order of the referee. The grounds for abandonment may include injury not ascribable to the opponent’s actions.
  2. If two contestants injure each other at the same time or are suffering from the effects of previously incurred injury and are declared by the tournament doctor to be unable to continue, the bout is awarded to the fighter who has amassed the most points at that time. If the point’s score is equal, then a decision (Hantei) will be decide the outcome of the bout.
  3. An injured contestant who has been declared unfit to fight by the tournament doctor cannot fight again in that competition.
  4. An injured contestant who wins a bout through disqualification of the opponent cannot fight again in the competition without the permission from the doctor. If he is injured, he may win a second bout by disqualification but is immediately withdrawn from futher kumite competition in that tournament.
  5. When a contestant is injured, the referee shall at once halt the bout and help the injured contestant, at the same time calling the doctor. The doctor is authorized to diagnose and treat injury only. He may also make recommendations for the safety of the injured contestant.

- Article 11: Protest

  1. No one may protest personally to the arbitrator, referee or judge, about his or her judgement.
  2. If a refereeing procedure appears to contravene these rules, the official representative of the team (usually the coach) or in the case of individual events, the person whose name has been officially put forward as the contestant’s manager, is the only one allowed to make a protest.
  3. The protest will take the form of a written report submitted immediately after the bout in which the protest was generated. The sole exception to this is when the protest concerns an administrative malfunction. This should be notified to the arbitrator immediately it is detected.
  4. The protest must be submitted to a representative of the referee’s council. In due course the council will review the circumstances leading to the protested decision. Having considered all the facts available, they will produce a report and shall be empowered to take such action as may be called for.

- Article 12: Power and duties of the chief referee, arbitrator, referee and judge

- Article 13: Starting, suspending and ending of matches

  1. The terms and gestures to be used by the referee and judge in the operation of a match shall be as specified in Appendices 2 and 3.
  2. The referee and judge shall take up their prescribed positions and, following an exchange of bows between the contestants, the referee will announce’Shobu Sanbon Hajime’ and the bout will commence.
  3. The referee will stop the bout by announcing ‘Yame’ when scoring technique is seen. The referee will order the contestants to take up their original positions.
  4. The referee and judge return to their positions and the judge indicates his opinion by means of a gesture. The referee identifies the relevant score, awards Waza-Ari or Ippon and supplements the announcement with the prescribed gesture. The referee then restarts the bout by calling ‘Tsuzukete Hajime’.
  5. When a contestant has scored Sanbon during a bout, the referee shall call ‘Yame’ and order the contestants back to their standing lines as he returns to his. The winner is then declared and indicated by the referee raising a hand on the side of the winner and declaring ‘Shiro (Aka) No Kachi’. The bout is ended at this point.
  6. When time is up and the scoring situation tied, the referee shall call ‘Yame’ and return to the standing line. The referee asks the judges opinion and an agreement for decision is sought. In the event they disagree, the arbitrator’s opinion will be taken into consideration and the majority decision announced.
  7. The referee will award the decision and announce the winner, or give a draw (‘Hikiwake’).
  8. In the event of a tied individual bout, the referee will announce ‘encho-sen’ and start the extension with the command ‘Shobu Hajime’.
  9. When faced with the following situations, the referee shall announce ‘Yame’ and halt the bout temporarily. The bout will subsequently be restarted.
  10. When both or either of the contestants are out of the area (or when the judge signals an exit). The referee will order the two contestants to their initial positions.
  11. When the referee orders the contestants to adjust his gear.
  12. When the referee notices that a contestant appears to contravene the rules, or when a signal concerning same form the judges is perceived.
  13. When there referee notices that a contestant has contravened the rules, or when the referee perceives a signal from the judge regarding same.
  14. When the referee considers that one or both of the contestants cannot continue with the bout owing to injuries, illness or other causes. Heeding the tournament doctor’s opinion, the referee will decide whether the bout should be continued.
  15. When a contestant seizes his opponent and does not perform an immediate effective technique, the referee will separate them.
  16. When one or both contestants fall, or are thrown and no effective technique are immediately forthcoming.
  17. If any situations arise which are not covered in these rules, of if there is any doubt concerning their application in a given case, the referee will immediately halt the bout and confer with the arbitrator, judge and the chief referee in order to obtain a consensus of opinion.

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Last updated on Tuesday, October 23rd, 2001.