Karate World Championships

Last updated
Karate World Championships
Competition details
Discipline Karate
Type Kumite and Kata, biennial
Organiser World Karate Federation (WKF)
Current weight divisions Male -60Kg,-67Kg, -75Kg, -84Kg and +84Kg. Female -50Kg, -55Kg, -61Kg, -68Kg and +68Kg.
First edition1970 in Tokyo, Japan
Editions24 (2018)
Final edition2018 in Madrid, Spain
Most wins188 medals Flag of Japan.svg  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 1980, women were first allowed to compete in the championships. [9]

Martin Drew (United Kingdom) has the fastest K.O record with 4.8 seconds reaching quarter finals in 2012

Competition and events


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.
    • Shikkaku is a penalty of disqualification in which the offender is expelled from the entire tournament. Generally, it is given for particularly severe infringements, beyond that which would normally result in hansoku being given. In a team match, the offender’s score is set to zero, and the non-offender’s score is set to eight points, as with a normal hansoku.


Rules [13]

1. Conformity - with standards in form and style (Ryu-ha)

2. Technical performance:

  • Techniques
  • Stances
  • Transitional movements
  • Timing/Synchronisation
  • Correct breathing
  • Focus (Kime)
  • Technical difficulty

3. Athletic performance:

  • Strength
  • Speed
  • Balance
  • Rhythm

4. Fouls:

  • Minor loss of balance
  • Performing a movement in an incorrect or incomplete manner
  • Asynchronous movement
  • Use of audible cues
  • Belt coming loose
  • Time wasting
  • Cause injury in the execution of Bunkai

List of Karate World Championships

EditionYearHost CityCountryEvents
1 1970 Tokyo Flag of Japan (1870-1999).svg  Japan 2
2 1972 Paris Flag of France.svg  France 2
3 1975 Long Beach Flag of the United States.svg  United States 2
4 1977 Tokyo Flag of Japan (1870-1999).svg  Japan 2
5 1980 Madrid Flag of Spain (1977-1981).svg  Spain 10
6 1982 Taipei Flag of Chinese Taipei for Olympic games.svg  Chinese Taipei 13
7 1984 Maastricht Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands 13
8 1986 Sydney Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia 15
9 1988 Cairo Flag of Egypt.svg  Egypt 16
10 1990 Mexico City Flag of Mexico.svg  Mexico 16
11 1992 Granada Flag of Spain.svg  Spain 16
12 1994 Kota Kinabalu Flag of Malaysia.svg  Malaysia 16
13 1996 Sun City Flag of South Africa.svg  South Africa 17
14 1998 Rio de Janeiro Flag of Brazil.svg  Brazil 17
15 2000 Munich Flag of Germany.svg  Germany 17
16 2002 Madrid Flag of Spain.svg  Spain 17
17 2004 Monterrey Flag of Mexico.svg  Mexico 17
18 2006 Tampere Flag of Finland.svg  Finland 17
19 2008 Tokyo Flag of Japan.svg  Japan 17
20 2010 Belgrade Flag of Serbia (2004-2010).svg  Serbia 16
21 2012 Paris Flag of France.svg  France 16
22 2014 Bremen Flag of Germany.svg  Germany 16
23 2016 Linz Flag of Austria.svg  Austria 16
24 2018 Madrid Flag of Spain.svg  Spain 16
25 2021 Dubai Flag of the United Arab Emirates.svg  United Arab Emirates 16
26 2023 Budapest Flag of Hungary.svg  Hungary 16

All-time medal table

The following reflects the all-time medal counts as of the 2018 World Karate Championships:

1Flag of Japan.svg  Japan 905256198
2Flag of France.svg  France 554567167
3Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  Great Britain 29222576
4Flag of Spain.svg  Spain 212769117
5Flag of Italy.svg  Italy 193356108
6Flag of Turkey.svg  Turkey 12103254
7Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands 10111839
8Flag of Iran.svg  Iran 1082341
9Flag of Germany.svg  Germany 8123252
10Flag of Azerbaijan.svg  Azerbaijan 75416
11Flag of the United States.svg  United States 6111835
12Flag of Egypt.svg  Egypt 582235
13Flag of Brazil.svg  Brazil 45716
14Flag of Venezuela.svg  Venezuela 431017
15Flag of Finland.svg  Finland 43815
16Flag of Serbia.svg  Serbia 41611
17Flag of Croatia.svg  Croatia 34916
18Flag of Russia.svg  Russia 34714
19Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden 34613
20Flag of Greece.svg  Greece 34310
21Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia 331016
22Flag of Mexico.svg  Mexico 2349
23Flag of Austria.svg  Austria 22711
24Flag of Serbia and Montenegro (1992-2006).svg  Serbia and Montenegro 2068
25Flag of Norway.svg  Norway 15410
26Flag of Chinese Taipei for Olympic games.svg  Chinese Taipei 13711
27Flag of Vietnam.svg  Vietnam 1304
28Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China 1214
29Flag of Slovakia.svg  Slovakia 11810
30Flag of Switzerland.svg   Switzerland 1168
31Flag of the Netherlands Antilles.svg  Netherlands Antilles 1135
32Flag of Senegal.svg  Senegal 1102
33Flag of Benin.svg  Benin 1012
Flag of Chile.svg  Chile 1012
Flag of Georgia.svg  Georgia 1012
36Flag of Estonia.svg  Estonia 1001
Flag of Poland.svg  Poland 1001
Flag of South Africa.svg  South Africa 1001
39Flag of Hungary.svg  Hungary 0437
40Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg  Canada 0358
41Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina.svg  Bosnia and Herzegovina 0347
42Flag of Yugoslavia (1946-1992).svg  Yugoslavia 0224
43Flag of Tunisia.svg  Tunisia 0213
44Flag of Peru.svg  Peru 0178
45Flag of Belgium (civil).svg  Belgium 0145
Flag of Denmark.svg  Denmark 0145
Flag of Kazakhstan.svg  Kazakhstan 0145
48Flag of Ukraine.svg  Ukraine 0134
49Flag of Malaysia.svg  Malaysia 0123
Flag of Morocco.svg  Morocco 0123
51Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  Czech Republic 0112
Flag of Guatemala.svg  Guatemala 0112
Flag of Luxembourg.svg  Luxembourg 0112
54Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  Czechoslovakia 0101
Flag of Paraguay.svg  Paraguay 0101
56Flag of Algeria.svg  Algeria 0022
Flag of Romania.svg  Romania 0022
58Flag of Argentina.svg  Argentina 0011
Flag of Bulgaria.svg  Bulgaria 0011
Flag of the Dominican Republic.svg  Dominican Republic 0011
Flag of Hong Kong.svg  Hong Kong 0011
Flag of Indonesia.svg  Indonesia 0011
Flag of Kosovo.svg  Kosovo 0011
Flag of Latvia.svg  Latvia 0011
Flag of Montenegro.svg  Montenegro 0011
Flag of North Macedonia.svg  North Macedonia 0011
Flag of the Philippines.svg  Philippines 0011
Flag of Singapore.svg  Singapore 0011
Flag of Slovenia.svg  Slovenia 0011
Totals (70 nations)3233235981244

See also

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