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Competition kumite (sparring) is performed under referee & judges controlled matches where two competitors Aka (red) & Ao (blue) fight for points on a first to score, touch contact basis.

Points are awarded on the following basis:

  • Yuko (1 point) – punches or strikes to body or head.
  • Waza-ari (2 points) – kicks to the body.
  • Ippon (3 points) – kicks to head or any scoring technique delivered to a thrown or fallen opponent.

Attacks to the following areas can score:

  • Head
  • Face
  • Neck (excluding throat)
  • Abdomen
  • Chest
  • Back
  • Sides

The following criteria are also taken into account in order for a technique to be awarded a score:

  • Good form
  • Good timing
  • Correct distance
  • Vigorous application
  • Sporting attitude
  • Zanshin (Awareness)

Attacks to the limbs, joints and below the belt do not score and are subject to warnings and penalties being awarded.
Multiple occurrences will result in the offender being disqualified.

Contact should be controlled and touch contact only.  Excessive contact or repeated attacks to forbidden areas may be penalized. Contact to the head and face is not allowed for 14 years and under.  Young children are usually required to wear head protection. 

Contestants must ensure:

  • They have a valid license.
  • They are wearing a white, clean karate Gi.
  • Only a single badge worn on the breast of the jacket.
  • They are wearing the correct protection (hand, shin & instep, mouth guard)
  • Long hair is tied back out of the way.
  • They are not wearing jewellery, watches, hair slides or other metallic objects.

For kumite events the layout of the competition area (Tatami) is detailed below:


At all times contestants must show full respect to the competition officials including:

  • Referees
  • Judges
  • Arbitrators
  • Time Keepers
  • Record Officials

Appeals can only be raised by the coach (not competitors or parents).

Warnings and penalties are awarded for the following offences:

    Category 1:            

  • Techniques which make excessive contact and which make contact with the throat.
  • Attacks to the arms, legs, groin, joints or instep.
  • Attacks to the face with open hand techniques.
  • Dangerous or forbidden throwing techniques.

    Category 2:            

  • Feigning or exaggerating injury.
  • Exit from competition area not caused by the opponent.
  • Self-endangerment by indulging in behaviour that exposes the contestant to injury & inadequate self-protection.
  • Avoiding combat as means of preventing the opponent to score.
  • Passively not attempting to engage in combat.
  • Clinching, wrestling, pushing, seizing or standing chest to chest without attempting a throw or technique.
  • Techniques with cannot be controlled for the safety of the opponent & dangerous and uncontrolled techniques.
  • Simulated attacks with the head, knees or elbows.
  • Talking, goading the opponent, falling to obey orders, discourteous behaviour or breaches of etiquette.

There are 3 degrees of warnings where no points awarded to the opponent:

  • Chukoku - 1st instance
  • Keikoku – 2nd instance
  • Hansoku chui – 3rd instance

A further instance offence will result in disqualification (Hansoku) and the injured competitor shall be awarded all remaining points and the match.

In the serious event that a contestant fails to obey the referee’s orders, acts maliciously, commits an act that harms the prestige and honour of karate-do, violate the rules and sprit of the tournament or their coach or delegation acts in a way that harms the prestige and honour of karate-do then the offence will result in disqualification by Shikkaku. The offender shall then be prohibited from participating in any further bouts within the competition.