Understanding Competition Rules for Kumite 



For those karateka that want to compete in Kumite at competition level the competitior must follow the rules and guidelines from the WKF (World Karate Federation)



All karateka compete in an area marked out as 8x8 metres with five referees judging.

Four of the referees will be seated in each corner of the competition area and the fifth judge will be moving around near the competitors.  



All karateka must be wearing the correct uniform before competing.


Gi needs to be white and WKF approved.

Competitor needs to bring two coloured belts Aka (Red) and Ao (Blue)

WKF approved gloves need to be worn and again Aka or Ao




Rules about the match




For seniors, both male and female and those under 21 the round will last for 3 minutes. For juniors the round will last for 2 minutes.


The winner is decided upon a points system where after the time has passed, the competitor with the most points is declared the winner.


If a competitor scores a lead of 8 points, then they will automatically become the winner.


If the bout is a draw, then it will be the first person to score a point or the 5 judges can decide on the winner.


Before beginning the match, you will need to know that there will be penalties awarded against competitors for any violation of the rules.




There are four ways that penalties will be given.


Exiting arena

Passivity or avoiding contact

Grabbing the opponent

Excessive contact


All penalties are divided into two categories (C1) and (C2)


Each category has 4 warnings. If a competitor receives 4 warnings in either category, the competitor will be disqualified.


Category 1 Warnings (C1)


1. Techniques which make excessive contact, having no regard to the scoring areas and techniques aimed at making contact with the throat.

2. Attacks to the arms or legs, groin, joints, or instep.

3. Attacks to the face with open hand techniques.

4. Dangerous or forbidden throwing techniques.


Category 2 Warnings (C2)


1. Feigning, or exaggerating injury.

2. Exit from the competition area (JOGAI) not caused by the opponent.

3. Self-endangerment by indulging in behaviour, which exposes the Competitor to injury by the opponent, or failing to take adequate measures for self-protection, (MUBOBI).

4. Avoiding combat as a means of preventing the opponent having the opportunity to score.

5. Passivity – not attempting to engage in combat. (Cannot be given after there is less than 15 seconds left of the bout.)

6. Clinching, wrestling, pushing, or standing chest to chest without attempting a scoring technique or takedown.

7. Grabbing the opponent with both hands for any other reasons than executing a takedown upon catching the opponents kicking leg.

8. Grabbing the opponent’s arm or karate gi with one hand without immediately attempting a scoring technique or takedown.

9. Techniques, which by their nature, cannot be controlled for the safety of the opponent and dangerous and uncontrolled attacks.

10. Simulated attacks with the head, knees, or elbows.

11. Talking to, or goading the opponent, failing to obey the orders of the Referee, discourteous behaviour towards the Refereeing officials, or other breaches of etiquette. 




Points are scored from 1 to 3


Yuko or one point is awarded for any punch or strike to the body or head.

Waza-ari or two points is awarded for a kick to the body

Ippon or three points is awarded for a kick to the head or a sweep / takedown followed by a counter punch.