"A Karate contest conducted under the rules of the ITKF must conform to the definition of Karate. All rules enacted by the ITKF must always be considered from the standpoint of helping and motivating the participant toward the perfection of human character through unlimited physical and ment seeking."
ITKF Constitution Article 1, Section 1.3
Traditional Karate competitions, both national and international levels, follow the competition rules established by ITKF.
Traditional Karate vs. General Sports
In a general competitive sport, the competition rules define the sport itself. For example, soccer is defined as the game played by the “soccer rules”. In contrast, Traditional Karate competition rules do not define what Traditional Karate is. Budo competition has its roots in a practice method called “Shiai” in which the practitioners try their techniques and test each other’s skills. ITKF competition rules were compiled based on this “Shiai” philosophy: for the athletes to improve their mental and technical skills.
The most visible and compelling difference between Traditional Karate and other Karate-like sports is that Traditional Karate’s competition rules specifically require each technique to have sufficient maximum force resulting in a “finishing blow.” These other sports do not have competition rules that exact such a requirement of each of their techniques. Because of this very important distinction, the training methods and biomechanics of Traditional Karate are therefore much different from these other sports.
Competition Categories of Traditional Karate
Men’s Individual: Free sparring
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