In competition, we are tested against others. Karate’s philosophy and techniques merge with good, old-fashioned, get-out-there-and-win, “thrill of victory, upset of defeat”. As in all sports, there are rules you will need to know, mistakes you will need to avoid and goals you will need to set and achieve. At one point or another, almost everyone involved in karate will participate in a competition. After the very first time they compete, the student may decide, “This is it!” and never want to stop. Or they may compete a few times and decide that competition just isn’t right for them. At Sport Karate East the competition elements of karate are optional for students to participate in. We participate in two main events throughout the sporting calendar, these are the KATA or patterns event and the KUMITE or sparring event.
In a kata tournament, you will perform your kata [pattern] in front of a panel of judges. Depending on the type of event, the kata can either be one that you choose or one that the competition rules dictate. You will always know which kata you will be demonstrating well in advance. The judges will be looking for qualities like spirit, timing, good technique and correctness of form. Each judge will identify a winner by raising a red or blue flag, no draws are permitted. The competitor, who receives the majority of votes, from the judges will be declared the winner by the announcer. Kata competition takes the form of individual and team matches. The individual Kata matches consist of separate male and female divisions.
Team kata matches consist of competition between three person teams, each team is exclusively male, or exclusively female. In the finals of team Kata competitions, the two finalist teams will perform their chosen Kata and they will then perform a demonstration of the application of the Kata [Bunkai].
Football is usually recognised as being an easy sport to understand. After all, one team attacks and tries to score a goal, causing the opposition to defend, whilest also tries to win possession of the ball in order to counter-attack.
In a kumite competition, you will be playing against people who are roughly the same experience and weight as you. Again like kata the categories are further split into three groups: children, youths and adults. The Kumite competition may be further divided into the team match and the individual match.
The duration of the bouts are typically three minutes for adults and two minutes for children and youths.
In kumite, the World Karate Federation [WKF] rules require that techniques used must be appropriately controlled with regard to the area being attacked. Points are awarded for clean and accurate techniques. The bouts are usually performed as qualifiers, quarterfinals, semi-finals and finals. The winner is the athlete or the team who gets through the whole event undefeated.