Internation Karate Championships


All Divisions: If a competitor does not present him/herself suitably attired to compete, an automatic warning will be issued to the competitor. If a competitor cannot find suitable attire (uniform, gear, etc.) after three minutes, they will be disqualified.

Rank Rule: All competitors must compete at the highest belt level they have earned in the martial arts. If you have a black belt in judo and an orange belt in kenpo, you must compete as a black belt. A competitor can never compete in a division of which he/she has not earned that rank. Once a competitor competes as a black belt in one division, he/she must always compete as a black belt in that tournament.

Proof of Age Rule: All competitors must have proof of age. If there is a legitimate reason to question a competitor's age, he/she must present a birth certificate, driver's license, or other acceptable documents to prove his/her age.

Uniform: All competitors must wear a proper karate uniform in a good state of repair. A competitor with offensive words or art work on the uniform may be denied the privilege of participation. The appropriate color belt or sash must be worn in competition. No sneakers are allowed in the sparring division with the exception of sparring shoes (ringstars, etc.).

Form Uniforms: T-shirts, tank tops and sweat shirts are allowed in form if they are part of a competitor's official school or if they list the school's name or logo on the uniform top. Uniforms in the form divisions are allowed more liberties because form is not oneon-one competition where the uniform could cause a decisive disadvantage or advantage to a competitor. Shoes may be worn in form competition if they do not damage or mark the competition floor.

Responsibilities: It is the competitor's responsibility to know the rules and to be ready for competition when called to do so. He/she must be suitably attired, weighed-in, and at the appropriate ring when competition begins. If the competitor is not at his/her ring to compete when competition begins, he/she will not be allowed to compete. If a competitor leaves a ring after the ring competition begins and is not present when his/her name is called to compete, his/her name will be called three (3) times at ringside. If he/she is still not present to compete on the third call, he/she will be disqualified.

  1. Gloves - a soft padded, surface must cover the fingers, wrist and any striking surface of the hand. The striking areas such as the ridge of the hand (ridge hand) side of the hand (chop, hammer fist), back of the fist (back fist), and knuckles (punch) must be covered with a soft padded surface.
  2. Boots - A soft padded surface must cover the instep, sides, toes, ankle and back of the heel of the foot.
  3. Head Gear - The front, sides and back of the head must be covered by a soft padded surface. Facemasks are optional but not required.
  4. Mouthpiece - A properly-fitted mouthpiece is required to protect your teeth.
  5. Cup & Supporter - For men, a cup and supporter are required to cover the groin.
  6. Shin Guards – Not required. If wearing, they must be soft.
  7. Chest Protector - Not required. If wearing, they must be soft.

Any gear that is deemed unsafe or unacceptable can be denied at any time by the tournament promoters.

It is the competitor’s responsibility to have appropriate gear.


The timekeeper is the appointed to keep time. He/she will start and stop time at the command of the center referee and will inform the center referee when the two (2) minutes for sparring or the three (3) minutes for form have expired. In sparring, the timekeeper does not start or stop a match. His/her only duty is to keep time and only stop/start the time if requested by the center referee.


The scorekeeper is the appointed helper to keep score. He/she will write down the scores from each judge (if 5 or more judges are being used, eliminate the high and low scores) and add the scores to attain a total score. The scorekeeper should check his/her addition a second time (calculators should be used). In sparring, the scorekeeper will write down or flip score cards at the command of the center referee. The scorekeeper should inform the center referee when a fighter gets the appropriate number of points to automatically win. It is the scorekeeper's duty to listen very closely to the center referee and keep score as the referee commands. Any discrepancy or confusion of the score rests in the hands of the center referee, not the scorekeeper. The center referee will make the final score decision The scorekeeper is the appointed helper to keep score. He/she will write down the scores from each judge (if 5 or more judges are being used, eliminate the high and low scores) and add the scores to attain a total score. The scorekeeper should check his/her addition a second time (calculators should be used). In sparring, the scorekeeper will write down or flip score cards at the command of the center referee. The scorekeeper should inform the center referee when a fighter gets the appropriate number of points to automatically win. It is the scorekeeper's duty to listen very closely to the center referee and keep score as the referee commands. Any discrepancy or confusion of the score rests in the hands of the center referee, not the scorekeeper. The center referee will make the final score decision


The (center) referee should be the most experienced official in the ring and be thoroughly versed on the rules. He/she is in complete charge of the ring and the match. He/she promotes the safety of the competitors, enforces the rules and ensures fair play. To this end, he/she starts and stops the match, awards points, makes penalty decision, administrates the voting of the other judges, communicates clearly with the scorekeeper and timekeeper and announces the winner of each match. The referee shall announce in a loud, clear voice all official decisions, and shall indicted - with voice and gesture - the competitor affected by the official decision.

Added Powers of the Referee:

  • Match starts and ends only with his/her command.
  • Has final decision on any disputes on score.
  • Has the power to warn and award penalty points without a majority decision.
  • Can overrule a majority call only to issue a warning or penalty point.
  • Automatically has power to disqualify a competitor who receives three warnings.
  • Has power to issue time-outs.

The judges call points as they see them. When the center referee or side judge believes a point has been scored he/she shall call out the word, "Stop!". Once fighters return to their lines, the judges will call simultaneously for a point, warning, etc. No late calls!

Point is scored

If flags are used, a judge raises the appropriate color flag of the competitor who he/she feels scored the point. (If the judge is callingfor a two- point kick, he she will raise two fingers on the other hand at the same time. If he/she is calling for only one point, no fingers are raised). If no flags are used, the judge will point with his/her index finger at the competitor who he/she feels scored the point and point with his/her index and middle fingers if a kick is being called. When a judge sees a point he/she should hold up both flags or hold up one arm if no flags are being used. At the same time, he/she should yell out the word, "Stop!" in a loud, clear voice to let the referee know he/she has a call.

No See

The judge holds his/her hand over his/her eyes indicating that he/she could not see whether a point was scored or not.


With or without flags, a judge makes a motion as though he/she is hitting both fists together. This means both competitors scored at the same time, therefore, no point.


The judge will wave the flag color of the offending competitor in a circular motion. If no flags are being used, the judge waves hand in a circular motion as he/she points to the offending competitor.


Any judge calls stop when he/she sees a competitor go out of bounds. If a call is being made and a judge believes the competitor was out of bounds, he/she will wave their flags or hands in the direction of the person they feel went out.


A disqualification vote is taken separately from any other vote. When a disqualification vote is asked for, the center referee will say, "Judges Call!" A judge will then hold the flag color, or point if no flagsare being used, at the competitor he/she thinks should be disqualified. If he/she does not believe there should be a disqualification, he/she does not hold up a flag or point to a competitor.

Late Call

All officials should make their calls at the same time. If, in the opinion of the center referee, a corner judge is making a late call intentionally, the referee can disqualify the call (noise not allowing the judges to hear the referee and the honest mistake of raising the wrong flag color should be taken into consideration).

Number of Officials

In adult under belt & all children’s divisions, there will be 3 judges. In all adult black belt divisions, there will be 3 or 5 judges. All grandchampion and team fighting divisions must have 5 judges.

Removal of Officials and Protest

If a competitor feels that an official should be removed from a form division for a good reason, he/she must file a protest before the division gets under way. If a competitor feels that an official should beremoved from a sparring division, he/she may file a protest at any time, before or after the division starts. The proper way to file a protest is through the tournament arbitrator. The decision regarding the actual removal of the official is the arbitrator's decision. The decision is final. If an arbitrator cannot be immediately found, the competitor should ask the center referee to hold the division until the arbitrator can be summoned to the ring. All protest shall be made in an orderly, proper, and sportsmanlike manner. If a competitor has a protest about anything, he/she should file the protest with the referee. The referee will summon the arbitrator to the ring to render a decision on the protest. All protests must be filed immediately. No protest is allowed after competition has resumed

Changing of Officials

A sparring official can be changed at any time during a division once a match has stopped. A form judge cannot be removed until thedivision he/she is judging is completed.

The Ring

The ring size for all events will be 20x20 feet.


It is mandatory for all adult fighting competitors - who fight in a weighted division - to weigh-in before engaging in competition. Only one official weigh-in is required. All adult fighting competitors must fight in their weight division. A competitor cannot fight in a weight division in which he/she does not make the proper weight. This means a competitor cannot go up to a heavier weight division or go down to a lower weight division. If the weight official feels a competitor is trying to weigh heavier by wearing unreasonable clothes or equipment, he/she will be asked to take off those articles of clothing before weighing-in. The weight division and/or actual weight in pounds must be recorded on the competitor’s competition card.

Late Entries

It is the responsibility of the competitors to be registered, weighed-in and at his/her ring prior to the time his/her sparring division starts. Once the first sparring match has started in his/her division, no other competitors can enter that division.

Order of Competition

Once the final call for competitors of a division has been made at ringside, the referee and his/her ring personnel will collect the competitors' cards, tickets, or other proof of entry. Once the cards are mixed, the cards will be drawn randomly and the competitors' names will be written on the sparring bracket sheet.

Length of Match

  • All team sparring matches will be ONE & ONE HALF MINUTES (1:30)
  • All single-elimination sparring matches will be TWO MINUTES (2:00)
  • All forms, weapons & self-defense divisions will be THREE MINUTES (3:00)

Point Values and Winner Determination

  • All legal hand techniques that score will be awarded one (1) point.
  • All legal kicking techniques that score will be awarded two (2)points.
  • All penalty points awarded will be one (1) point value.
  • In all Black Belt divisions (even children) the competitor who earns seven (7) points automatically wins. If no one scores seven (7) points by the end of the two minutes, the competitor who is ahead wins.
  • In the under belt divisions, the competitor who earns five (5) points automatically wins. If no one scores five (5) points by the end of the two minutes, the competitor who is ahead wins.

How Points are Awarded

Scoring points are awarded by a majority vote of the judges. The majority of judges do not have to agree on the same technique being scored, only that a point was scored. The only agreement to be made is that the point that scored was either a kick or a hand technique. The judges acknowledge this by holding up two fingers for a kick and one finger for a hand technique scored. A majority of the judges calling for point must agree that a kick scored in order to award two (2) points. Otherwise only one point is awarded.

  • Legal Target Areas: Entire head (face for adults), ribs, chest, abdomen and kidneys. No face contact for children’s divisions, light face contact for under belt adults and moderate contact foradult black belts.
  • Illegal Target Areas: Spine, back of neck, throat, sides of neck, groin, legs, knees and back are all illegal target areas. Any attacks to these areas could result in a warning and/or penalty points. No face contact for children.
  • Non-Target Areas: Hips, shoulders, buttocks, arms, and feet are all non-target areas. Points cannot be scored to non-target area. If it is deemed that a competitor is actually attacking these areas, warning and/or penalty point may be awarded.
  • Legal Techniques: Legal techniques are all controlled sport karate techniques, except those listed as illegal. When determining the legality of a technique, the official considers if the technique is a legitimate, controlled sport karate technique that adheres to all other rules governing sport point karate.
  • Illegal Techniques: Head butts, hair pulls, bites, scratches, elbows, knees, eye attacks of any kind, take downs on hard surface floors, ground fighting on hard surface floors, any stomps or kicks to the head of a downed opponent, slapping, grabbing for more than one second, uncontrolled blind techniques, any uncontrolled dangerous techniques that are deemed unsafe in sport karate.
  • Sweeps &Takedowns: No sweeps or takedowns are allowed. Any violation of this rule will result in a warning.
  • Grabbing: No grabbing of the uniform, gear or any part of the body. Any violation of this rule will result in a warning.
  • Ground fighting: If a fighter falls on the ground, both fighters have 3 seconds to score a point. The fighter standing cannot strike the head for safety reasons. Deliberately dropping to the floor to avoid or evade fighting is not legal. All dropping to the floor deliberately on a hard surface is not legal. A fighter is down when any part of the body, other than the feet is touching the floor.

Light Touch Contact

Means there is no penetration or visible movement of the opponent as a result of the technique. Light touch may be made to all legal target areas.

Moderate Touch Contact

Means slight penetration or slight target movement. Moderate touch may be made to all legal target areas except the head and face

Excessive Contact

Is made when an opponent strikes with force in excess of what is necessary to score a point. Though it is largely a judgment call, indications that contact has been excessive may be accessed by the following reactions:

  • Visible snapping back of a competitor's head from the force of a blow.
  • A knockdown of an opponent (not recklessly charging into a technique or occurring in instances where the fallen party either fell, slipped, or was off balance).
  • A knockout of an opponent.
  • The appearance of severe swelling or bleeding. (Bleeding or other obvious external injury may in itself be grounds for excessive contact if it is considered the fault of a competitor) (Bleeding, however, does not necessarily imply excessive contact).
  • The distortion or injury of the body from the force of a blow to the body.

Touch Contact Requirements

All ranks must make light touch contact to the face (not for children) and head to score a point, and light or moderate touch contact to the body to score a point.Children cannot make any contact to the face but light touch contact is allowed to the head gear and light or moderate touch contact to the body to score a point.

Warnings and Penalties

One and only one warning is allowed without penalty for breaking the rules. After the first warning is given, a penalty point is awarded to the opponent on each and every violation of the rules. If a competitor receives four warnings (giving 3 penalty point to his/her opponent) in any one match, he/she is automatically disqualified and his/her opponent is declared the winner. If the result of the first rules infraction is considered by the referee to be severe enough, he/she can omit the first warning and issue a penalty point automatically. Indoing so, the referee is omitting any first warning to the offending competitor. A penalty point can determine the winner of a match.

  • A competitor cannot be penalized and still receive a point on the same call. A penalty always overrules a point by the same competitor.
  • A competitor can receive a point because his/her opponent was penalized and at the same time receive a point or points for scoring.
  • If a competitor is injured and it is considered that he/she is responsible for his/her own injury, or no fault can be associated with the injury, the opponent will not be penalized (i.e., ducking into a knee, butting heads, etc.). In the event a fighter is unable to continue because of a no-fault foul, his/her opponent will be declared the winner even if he/she is not ahead at the time of the foul.
  • If a competitor’s injury was deemed the responsibility of his/her opponent, the opponent is then disqualified, even if the injured person cannot continue.
  • If a competitor scores a point and immediately proceeds to break the rules, even if it was after the point technique, the warning for breaking the rules voids the point ( a competitor cannot receive a point and a warning on the same call).

Causes of Penalizing

Causes of Penalizing This is a partial list of possible causes of penalizing and may be usedas a guideline to follow in deciding on calling a penalty:

  • Attacking illegal and non-target areas.
  • Using illegal techniques.
  • Running out of the ring or falling to avoid fighting (not fighting out).
  • Continuing after being ordered to stop (fighting after break).
  • Excessive stalling.
  • Blind, negligent or reckless attacks.
  • Any unsportsmanlike behavior from the competitor or their coaches, friends, etc.
  • Any abusive behavior from the competitor or his/her coach, teammates, family, friends, etc., such that the referee feels it affects the outcome of the match or the performance of the officials or other competitors.
  • Excessive contact.


Disqualification of a competitor requires a majority vote by all officials, except when a competitor is automatically disqualified when he/she receives three penalty points. When a competitor is disqualified, it is proper to notify the tournament's rules arbitrator. If a competitor's injury was deemed the responsibility of his/her opponent, the opponent is then disqualified, even if the injured party cannot continue.If a competitor scores a point and immediately proceeds to break the rules, even if it was after the point technique, the warning for breaking the rules voids the point (a competitor cannot receive a point and a warning on the same call).


A competitor is out-of-bounds as soon as he/she does not have at least one foot touching inside or on the boundary line. Stepping out-of-bounds does not immediately stop the match. The referee is the only one who can stop the match. An out-of-bounds competitor may be scored on by his/her opponent so long as the in-bounds competitor has at least one foot in bounds and the referee has not signaled to stop. In the event of a jumping technique, the attacking competitor must land with one foot in-bounds in order to score.

Non-Competing Penalty

If, in the majority opinion of the judges and the referee, it is considered that competitors are not making obvious attempts to fight in the true spirit of competition, both competitors will be disqualified and all awards are forfeited.

Wrong Division

If any competitor competes in a division he/she is not qualified for, because of age, weight, gender or style, he/she will be disqualified from the form, fighting, or weapon division and all awards are forfeited.


  • Never, at any time can a coach, friend, team member, etc., enter the ring without the referee's permission (only the officials, competitors and medical personnel are normally allowed in a ring).
  • No abusive, violent, unsportsmanlike or overzealous coaching allowed.
  • A coach cannot ask for a time out (only a competitor may ask fora time out).
  • As in all sports, COACHING IS ALLOWED.
  • A coach can never, at any time, interfere with the proper running of the ring or the decisions of the judges.
  • Penalties for any of the above coaching infractions are issued by the referee.


All competitors must present themselves suitably attired and ready to compete. They may be divided into separate divisions based on style,size, gender, rank, origin of the form or age. To enter an adult division, a competitor must be 18 years or older. A competitor mustenter the division corresponding to his/her age, sex, and belt color.

Late Entries and Order of Performance

It is the responsibility of the competitor to be at the ring prior to the time that the division starts. Once the division is organized and thefirst competitor begins, there will be no additional entries. If a competitor comes late but the first competitor has not started, he/shecan compete but must compete first and immediately.

The order of the performance will be by random draw after shuffling of cards. Switching the order of performance numbers is not allowed between competitors. If there is good reason to believe that competitors switched numbers, he/she will be disqualified.The order of performance of the grand championship rounds will also be determined by random draw. If the competitor is not present at the designed time to draw numbers, he/she will automatically go before the ones who are present. If only one is not present, he/she will automatically go first. If more than one is not present, a separate drawing is made by the designated form coordinator for those not present. They will go in that order before the competitors who are present.

Each form and weapon routine is judged on the following:


The act or process of performing (executing) the techniques of the form or weapon routine. The execution stage of judging is the most critical and should weigh the most in the judge's final score.

Elements of Executions

Balance, power, speed, stability, proper technique formation, coordination, flexibility, stamina, timing, technique skill, etc.


The image or impression of the competitor as reflected in his/her performance of the form or weapon routine. The presentation stage is the second most important or critical and should weight accordingly in the judge's final score.


The complexity and intricacy of the form or weapon routine. The difficulty category is the least critical of the three judging categories, but could become the deciding factor of winning or losing if a judge feels that two competitors are equally as good in the execution and presentation categories. Value should never be awarded for difficulty techniques or forms performed poorly. Difficulty alone, without proper execution, should always be downgraded.

Elements of Difficulty

Complexity of techniques, flexibility, balance, versatility of techniques, stamina, length, ambidexterity, etc.

The Use of Music

There may be two uses of music in form and weapon competition. One is in a division which allows music and the second, when allowed, is when music is used only to enhance the mood of presentation of the form (i.e., grand champion runoffs).

First three Competitors

Watch the first three competitors before scoring. The first three competitors will give you a representation of the division. The rest of the competitors will be scored against these first three. Write down your scores and quick reference not regarding the competitor beside each score. In divisions with a large number of competitors, it becomes difficult to remember each score that you have awarded. Remembering each score becomes more difficult when using the hundredths scoring range. Additionally, writing down your scores solves any disputes that could arise if the scorekeeper inadvertently wrote down a judge's score incorrectly.

Divisions which allow music

The music should be synchronized with the movement of the form routine. A judge should hear the beats and rhythm of the music in coordination and synchronization with the techniques in the form. The music cannot be only background music, but must be an intrinsic partof the form or weapon routine.

The use of Gymnastic Movements

It is important to keep in mind when judging form and weapon divisions that we are judging technical skills as they relate to the value of martial arts. Using gymnastic movements may or may not have an inherent value to the martial arts. It is the judges’ decision as to what value the gymnastic movements are to the form and to the martial arts. If a competitor performs a sub-par gymnastic movement,the movement should be scored down. If the gymnastic movement is performed well, but is not of value to the martial arts, the move may be scored down or ignored. If the gymnastic movement has an inherent value to the martial arts as perceived by the judges, it should be scored as any other technique ( execution, difficulty, presentation).

Judging a weapon division is no different than judging an empty hand form division except the main emphasis and value to the form isplaced on the competitor's use of the weapon. Important elements of weapon judging, in addition to execution, presentation and difficulty,are:

  • The competitor's control of the weapon. The weapon should be seen as an extension of the competitor's arms and hands.
  • The absolute control of the weapon at all times within the routine is essential.
  • The transition and combination of regular martial arts techniques with the weapon (i.e., kicking, blocking, etc.).
  • The percentage of weaponry movements to non-weaponry movements: The majority of any weapon form should consist of the use of the weapon.
  • Safety: No reckless or careless use of the weapon that would harm the competitor, another competitor, the judges or spectators.

Time Limit

A competitor must be ready to compete when called upon to do so. All form competitors have a maximum of three (3) minutes to present and perform their routine. The time starts once a competitor enters the ring. If the judge feels the competitor is stalling before he/she enters the ring, he/she can call for the timekeeper to start the clock. A competitor whose forms exceed the 3-minute time limit will be disqualified. Competitors in the grand championship runoff or finals will receive four (4) minutes to present and perform their routine.

Starting a Form Over

If a competitor starts his/her form over because of a memory lapse or any other reason due to his/her own negligence, he/she may perform the form again. The officials will score the competitor as though there was not a mistake, but the scorekeeper will deduct .5 (half point) fromthe competitor's total score. A competitor can only start over one (1) time. If a competitor does not finish on the second try, he/she must end their form and exit the ring properly. If a competitor has to start over not due to his/her own negligence, he/she may start over without penalizing. It is important that the referee discuss the penalizing procedure with the judges and scorekeeper. When a competitor starts over, the clock is reset and starts over as well.

Weapon Division

The referee should check all weapons for safety. Weapons are subject to referee's approval. The referee should make sure allspectators and competitors are at a safe distance from the performing competitor. Safety of all competitors, judges, spectators and helpers should be considered by all involved. Therefore, the competitor's control of his/her weapon is of utmost importance. If a Black Belt competitor (adult or youth) unintentionally drops his/her weapon, he/she is automatically disqualified. Under belts my start their formover if they drop a weapon with the same deduction as if a form was forgotten and started over. If a competitor recklessly or carelessly misuses his/her weapon, he/she may be penalized or disqualified. If a competitor wins the weapons form division during the eliminations, he/she must perform with a weapon in the weapon grand championship round.

Grand Championship Form & Weapon Rounds

The grand championship form round pits the appropriate first place form winners against each other. All competitors should have an equal opportunity to compete at their best. Therefore, routines may be altered or changed and music may be used by all competitors. The weapons winners must use a weapon in the weapon grand championship round, but it does not have to be the same weapon used during the elimination. A winner of a non-weapon divisioncannot use a weapon in the grand championship runoff. Luck of the draw for placement will determine the order of both grand championship elimination round and final grand championship round. Only the score of the final grand championship round will determine the winner.

Scoring of Form

Judges for all forms, weapons and self-defense will score between8.0 and 10. An average performance would be scored 9.0.


The first three competitors must perform before any scores are given (grand championship rounds and divisions with less than 5 competitors are exceptions to this rule). The high and low scores should always be eliminated before totaling the scores when five (5) or more judges are involved. If there is a tie the competitor who received the majority of the judges' votes (winning scores) will be declared the winner (all judges' scores are used). If this method stillcannot establish a winner the high and low scores will be added back in. If still tied the judges will vote on whom they felt had the overall better performance. Majority wins.

If a question arises that is not covered by this rule book, the arbitrator and/or his/her appointed representative, may at his/her discretion, overrule, modify or change a delineated rule if he/she believes that enforcing such a rule would result in an inherent unfair outcome to a competitor ("Fairness Rule"). However, the arbitrator and/or his/her appointed representative should overrule, modify or change a delineated rule only in extreme cases.

Any questions or concerns in regards to the rules, please contact the Director of Arbitration IKC 2017 PORTUGAL.