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Karate tournament referees link      go to the WKF tournament rules link

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Karate competition is all about respect; for yourself and for your opponent.
Turn up for the competition in a clean white GI (karate suit). Your suit should not be ripped or covered with badges.

Some local and provincial tournaments will allow you to wear your style badge. National and international competitions do not allow any badges on the GI's.

You should invest in a good pair of fitted gum guards, and WKF approved mitts, if you want to take part in kumite (free fighting), these are compulsory accessories.

If you wear glasses and you can't see to compete without them, get a pair of soft contact lenses, or give up the idea of tournament kumite, if you do decide on lenses, you must however realize that the decision is yours if injury does happen and blame cannot be laid on any referee or judge.

Girls and ladies should wear a chest protector in the form of a good sports bra or a plastic shield worn inside the GI. (These can be obtained from most sport shops or ask your instructor.) No jewellery are allowed on the competition area.

There are some points to remember for tournaments:

Our Referees, Judges, Table Officials and Tournament Co-ordinators are all human too. Treat them with the same respect that you'll want to be treated with.

Do you want to be a referee?

To be a referee/ judge is a very rewarding experience but it take time to learn to be good at it.
You must be sure to attend courses presented by reputable and qualified referees and judges when ever possible, The cost of these courses are normally not to high, depending on where the referee came from, as his expenses need to be covered. Only qualified referees can grade you and you will be required to write an exam on these courses, if you have refereed at the required amount of tournaments for the next grade, and passed the exam you will be handed a certificate for that particular position. For a judge you will have to perform the necessary katas to show that you know them. These katas are the WKF versions for the different styles. (Depending on which grading you are doing)

Talk to your instructor and find out where these courses are being held, if he/she is affiliated to the Karate Associations of your region/province and your country they will have this information send to them on a regular basis. You will also need to learn the tournament rules as set out by the WKF (World Karate Federation). A copy of this can be downloaded from this site, click on the WKF link at the bottom of the page.
When next you have a local tournament within your style, express your wish to judge/referee in that tournament.

Tournament Officials

Tournament officials consist of Table Officials and Tournament Coordinators These people are the backbone of all tournaments. Without them - no tournaments.

The Coordinators will book venues, see that the mats, tables, flags, etc. are there and set up in time for the competition to start. They will organize the table officials to work for the day. Draw sheets for kata and kumite need drawing up and Red Cross need to be informed of the tournament to enable them to have medical staff on hand in case of injuries.

During the competition these people will over see the results and check that the competitors have there required numbers of turns or bouts.

The WKF (World Karate Federation) have a new set of rules for competition.

As from 2003 these new updated rules will apply to all Karate tournaments worldwide.

The new rules can be obtained here. The changes have been marked.

When you get to the WKF page, scroll down to NEW KARATE RULES and download your choice of language.

Download the 2003 WKF rules here
Microsoft Word Format
Click here to find the WKF Tournament Rules  


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                                         Kata Rules enplaned
                                         Kumite Rules enplaned