top of page

WKF Kata Rules

     1. The competition area must be flat and devoid of hazard. 
     2. The competition area must be of sufficient size to permit the uninterrupted performance of Kata.

     I. For the proper performance of Kata a stable smooth surface is required. Usually the matted Kumite areas will be suitable.


     1. Contestants and Judges must wear the official uniform as defined in Article 2 of the Kumite Rules. 
     2. Any person who does not comply with this regulation may be disbarred.

     I. The karate-gi jacket may not be removed during the performance of Kata.
     II. Contestants who present themselves incorrectly dressed will be given one minute in which to remedy matters.


     1. Kata competition takes the form of Team and Individual matches. Team matches consist of competition between three person teams. Each Team is exclusively male, or exclusively female. The Individual Kata match consists of individual performance in separate male and female divisions.
     2. The elimination system with repechage will be applied.
     3. Any traditional karate kata may be performed with the exception of weapons kata (Kobudo).
     4. Variations as taught by the contestant’s school of Karate will be permitted.
     5. The score table will be notified of the choice of Kata prior to each round.
     6. Contestants must perform a different Kata in each round. Once performed a Kata may not be repeated.
     7. In the bouts for medals of Team Kata Competition, the Teams will perform their chosen Kata in the usual way. They will then perform a demonstration of the meaning of the Kata (BUNKAI). The total time allowed for the KATA & BUNKAI demonstration combined, is six minutes. The official timekeeper will start the countdown clock as the team members perform the bow upon entering the tatami and will stop the clock at the final bow after the BUNKAI performance. A team which does not perform the bow at the completion of the performance or which exceeds the six minute period allowed will be disqualified. The use of traditional weapons, ancillary equipment or additional apparel is not allowed.

     1. The number of Kata required is dependent on the number of individual competitors or teams entered as shown in the following table. Byes are counted as competitors or teams.

Competitors or Teams

Kata Required 


     1. The panel of five Judges for each match will be designated by the Tatami Manager. 
     2. The Judges of a Kata match must not have the nationality of either of the participants. 
     3. In addition, timekeepers, scorekeepers and caller/announcers will be appointed. 

     I. The Chief Judge will sit in the centre position facing the contestants and the other four Judges will be seated at the corners of the competition area. 
     II. Each Judge will have a red and a blue flag or, if electronic scoreboards are being used, an input terminal. 


In assessing the performance of a contestant or team the Judges will evaluate the performance based on the four (4) major criteria; conformance, technical performance, athletic performance and technical difficulty.
All of the four major criteria are to be given equal importance in the evaluation of the performance.

Kata Performance

1. Conformance to the form itself and the standards of the applicable school.

2. Technical performance
    a. Stances
    b. Techniques
    c. Transitional movements
    d. Timing/Synchronisation
    e. Correct breathing
    f. Focus (kime)

3. Athletic performance
    a. Strength
    b. Speed
    c. Balance
    d. Rhythm

4. Technical difficulty of the kata.

Bunkai Performance
(applicable to team bouts for medals)
1. Conformance (to kata) using the actual movements as performed in the kata.

2. Technical performance
a. Stances
b. Techniques
c. Transitional movements
d. Timing
e. Control
f. Focus (kime)

3. Athletic performance
a. Strength
b. Speed
c. Balance
d. Timing

4. Technical difficulty of the techniques performed.

A competitor or a team of competitors may be disqualified for any of the following reasons: 

     1. Performing the wrong kata or announcing the wrong kata.
     2. A distinct pause or stop in the performance for several seconds.
     3. Interference with the function of the judges (such as the judge having to move for safety reasons or making physical contact with a judge).
     4. Belt falling off during the performance of kata. 
     5. Exceeding the total time limit of 6 minutes duration for Kata and Bunkai.
     6. Failure to follow the instructions of the Chief Judge or other misconduct.
The following fouls, if apparent, must be considered in the evaluation according to above criteria.

     a) Minor loss of balance.
     b) Performing a movement in an incorrect or incomplete manner (the bow is for this purpose considered part of the movements of the kata), such as failure to fully execute a block or punching off target.
     c) Asynchronous movement, such as delivering a technique before the body transition is completed, or in the case of team kata; failing to do a movement in unison. 
     d) Use of audible cues (from any other person, including other team members) or theatrics such as stamping the feet, slapping the chest, arms, or karate-gi, or inappropriate exhalation.
     e) Time wasting, including prolonged marching, excessive bowing or prolonged pause before starting the performance.
     f) Causing injury by lack of controlled technique during Bunkai.

     I. Kata is not a dance or theatrical performance. It must adhere to the traditional values and principles. It must be realistic in fighting terms and display concentration, power, and potential impact in its techniques. It must demonstrate strength, power, and speed — as well as grace, rhythm, and balance.
     II. In Team Kata, all three team members must start the Kata facing in the same direction and towards the Chief Judge.
     III. The members of the team must demonstrate competence in all aspects of the Kata performance, as well as synchronisation.
     IV. Commands to start and stop the performance, stamping the feet, slapping the chest, arms, or karate-gi, and inappropriate exhalation, are all examples of external cues and should be taken into account by the Judges when arriving at a decision.
     V. It is the sole responsibility of the coach or the competitor to ensure that the Kata as notified to the score table is appropriate for that particular round.


     1. At the start of each bout and in answer to their names, the two contestants, one wearing a red belt (AKA), and the other wearing a blue belt (AO), will line up at the match area perimeter facing the 29 Chief Kata Judge. Following a bow to the Judging Panel and then to each other, AO will then step back out of the Match Area. After moving to the starting position and a clear announcement of the name of the Kata that is to be performed, AKA will begin. On completion of the Kata, AKA will leave the area to await the performance of AO. After AO’s Kata has been completed both will return to the match area perimeter and await the decision from the Panel.
     2. If the Kata does not conform to the Rules, or there is some other irregularity, the Chief Judge may call the other Judges in order to reach a verdict.
     3. If a contestant is disqualified the Chief Judge will cross and uncross the flags.
     4. After completion of both Kata, the contestants will stand side by side on the perimeter. The Chief Judge will call for a decision (HANTEI) and blow a two-tone blast on the whistle whereupon the Judges will cast their votes.
     5. The decision will be for AKA or AO. No ties are permitted. The competitor, who receives the majority of votes will be declared the winner by the caller/announcer.
     6. The competitors will bow to each other, then to the Judging Panel, and leave the area.

     I. The starting point for Kata performance is within the perimeter of the competition area. 
     II. The Chief Judge will call for a decision (HANTEI) and blow a two-tone blast on the whistle. The Judges will raise the flags simultaneously. After giving sufficient time for the votes to be counted (approximately 5 seconds) the flags will be lowered after a further short blast on the whistle. Should a competitor or team fail to turn up when called or withdraws (Kiken) the decision will be awarded automatically to the opponent without the need to perform the previously notified Kata. In this case the winning competitor or team may use the Kata intended for that round for a subsequent round. 

bottom of page