KATA Logical sequence of blocking, punching, striking and kicking including locks and takedowns

KATA are the formal exercises of Karate-do (forms)  having been passed down from the old masters. Containing the self defence movements of karate they are a logical sequence of blocking, punching, striking and kicking including locks and takedowns.

Both mental and physical aspects of the performance are important. The things required for a good Kata for Grading and Tournaments are the same: correct attitude, use of power, good balance, rhythm, co-ordination and proper breathing are essential as well as showing a clear understanding of the principles that the kata contains. Each movement of the kata must be done in the correct order and on the correct line of movement. Some but not all kata must start and finish in the same place. Some variations in movement exist for the same Kata between styles, but this does not detract from the performance of that Kata. 

Recently the use of Five judges with flags for determining a winner has been used by the World Karate Federation. Several rounds may be required to decide the final placing. In the past early rounds the kata were chosen from the list of 8 JKF Shiteigata with the rounds after that being free. No all rounds are Free Choice with any kata on the list able to be used.


RULES for Competition KATA - WKF (used for FRK club tournaments)


In assessing the performance of a contestant or team the Judges will evaluate the performance based on equal weight of each of the three main criteria. The performance is evaluated from the bow starting the kata until the bow ending the kata with the exception of team medal matches, where the performance, as well as the timekeeping starts at the bow in the beginning of the kata and ends when the performers bow after completing the Bunkai.

All of the three major criteria are to be given equal importance in the evaluation of the performance. Bunkai are to be given equal importance as the kata itself. Kata Performance

KATA Performance                                                                           BUNKAI Performance (applicable to team bouts for medals)

1. Conformance                                                                                1. Conformance

To the form itself and the standards of the applicable ryu-ha.            To the Kata, using the actual movements as in the Kata.


2. Technical performance                                                                 2. Technical performance

a.Stances                                                                                             a. Stances

b.Techniques                                                                                        b. Techniques

c.Transitional movements                                                                    c. Transitional movements

d.Timing/Synchronisation                                                                     d. Timing

e.Correct breathing                                                                              e. Control

f.Focus (kime)                                                                                      f. Focus (kime)

g.Technical difficulty                                                                             g. Difficulty of techniques performed


3. Athletic performance                                                                       3. Athletic performance

a. Strength                                                                                           a. Strength

b. Speed                                                                                              b. Speed

c. Balance                                                                                            c. Balance

d. Rhythm                                                                                            d. Timing



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) Failing to bow at the beginning and completion of the kata performance.

3) A distinct pause or stop in the performance.

4) Interference with the function of the judges (such as the judge having to move for safety reasons or making physical contact with a judge).

5) Belt falling off during the performance.

6) Exceeding the total time limit of 6 minutes duration for Kata and Bunkai.

7) 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 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, will automatically be penalized by the judges deducting the total portion of the score for the technical performance of the kata (and thus losing one third of the total score for the performance)

e) Belt coming loose to the extent that it is coming off the hips during the performance.

f)Time wasting, including prolonged marching, excessive bowing or prolonged pause before starting the performance.

g) 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. 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


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