Only elaborate contest rules prohibiting dangerous throws and attacks to the sensitive parts of the body make the actual one-on-one combats between two athletes, “kumite”, possible. Lightning-fast speed, a great variety of techniques and split-second timing are the essence of this sparring. More pacific contests are held as “kata” – Japanese for forms – which are performed to the highest level of perfection. Karate is highly dynamic and makes balanced use of a large number of body muscles, it provides excellent all-round exercise and develops coordination and agility.

Karate featured in The World Games 2013; check the event calendar for all details.

Karate will participate at The World Games 2017!

Learn more about Karate on The World Games Channel.



With empty hands ...

The literal meaning of the two characters that make up the word karate in Japanese is "empty hands", making reference to the fact that karate originated as a method of self-defense that relied solely on the effective use of the unarmed body. The original karate was made up of elaborate techniques of blocking or thwarting an attack, and of counter-attacking an opponent by punching, striking or kicking.

The Shinto roots ...

Karate, like many of the other martial arts, upholds its ties to Shinto and Buddhist roots by striving to go much beyond the technical aspects of combat. Besides defending against and defeating an opponent, the techniques and the training aim for the karateka to develop human qualities as well. Self-control is just one of them.

Kumite and kata...

Karate world champion and World Games medalist Kora Knühmann, GER, describes the fighting, kumite, as follows. "It's a challenge, mentally as well as physically, and the control over mind and body plays an important role in it." Only thanks to protective gear– helmets, gloves, etc. – and contest rules prohibiting all dangerous throws and attacks is it possible to stage an actual fight as in other combat sports.

Kata, the Japanese word for forms, are highly detailed patterns of movements practiced either solo or in pairs. They are executed as a specified series of a variety of moves, with stepping and turning, while attempting to maintain perfect form at all times. There are some 100 kata across the various forms of karate, each with many minor variations.

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