In the world of Karate competitions, what are some technical rules that can disqualify a kata? For example, if the stance is too deep and Zenkutsu dachi has its front knee, well before the toe, will it be considered for disqualification?

1 Answer 1


In the WKF 2018 competition rules document, the following are considered valid reasons for disqualification during a kata competition :

  • Not presenting yourself when called
  • Performing the wrong kata or announcing the wrong kata
  • Failing to bow at the beginning and completion of the kata performance
  • A distinct pause or stop in the performance
  • Interference with the function of the judges
  • Belt falling off during the performance
  • Failure to follow the instructions of the Chief Judge or other misconduct
  • In Team Kata & Bunkai, exceeding 6 minutes for the demonstration
  • In Team Kata & Bunkai, using weapons or ancillary equipment
  • In Team Kata & Bunkai, performing a scissor takedown technique to the neck area

Concerning technical mistakes like incorrect stances, those are considered in the final evaluation and the competitor will be deducted points accordingly.

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    Good answer. I would just add that correct posture / stance varies from one style to another. Even within the same style, it can vary depending on how tall a person is, the ratio of leg length to body length, etc. What is "perfect" form, then, is a bit subjective. Some styles may have a slight lean forward instead of a perfectly straight up and down back, and that's intentional. No styles like you looking at the ground, though, and so that sort of thing will definitely be a deduction. You'll figure out the unwritten "rules" over time. May 29, 2019 at 18:31
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    @SteveWeigand - The WKF usually grades katas in conformance to the competitor's style (Shotokan, Shito-Ryu, Wado-Ryu and Goju-Ryu are all recognized in WKF events). Thus, a Shotokan stylist wouldn't be graded the same as a Goju-Ryu stylist for a specific kata if Shotokan requires the use of hangetsu-dachi while Goju-Ryu favours sanchin-dachi. What I don't know, as I've never personally competed under the WKF, is if they would be judged differently on identical stances if their respective styles usually train them differently.
    – Dungarth
    May 29, 2019 at 19:14
  • Yeah, that's what I was implying. When you enter a Shotokan tournament, you will be judged on what is correct for Shotokan. But when the tournament is open to many styles, the judges will need to have a broader understanding of all of the different stylistic differences. Trouble is, judges often don't. So there will be bias and misunderstandings. But honestly, most judges can tell when someone is performing exceptionally well vs. average. It's when two competitors are very close that understanding these stylistic nuances may become important. May 30, 2019 at 19:02

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