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Rules & Regulations of Karate

Required Dress

    Contestants must wear a regulation karate gi with no embellishments except for an emblem representing their country. No jewelry of any kind is permitted.

Duration of Matches and Tournament Ring

    Non-skid mats must be used in all competitions, and all advertising media must be at least 1 meter from the competition area. Male tournaments can last between 3 and 4 minutes while female matches between 2 and 3 minutes.

Judges and Scoring

    There is one referee, three judges and an arbitrator for each tournament. Scoring is based upon the form, attitude, timing and distance of each competitor, and the winner is determined by who receives the highest score.

Prohibited Behavior

    Blows cannot be made to the throat, arms, legs, groin, or instep, nor can an open-handed blow be made to the face. Certain throwing techniques are forbidden as is clenching, wrestling, pushing or attacks made with the head, elbows or knees. Penalties of extra points to the opponent's scores can be given.


    A contestant can be required to forfeit the game if injured. Players who are injured during a bout cannot return to the tournament unless cleared by a doctor, and there is a penalty for feigning or exaggerating an injury.


    Judges' decisions can be protested by contestants, but discipline can be given for frivolous protests.

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About the Author

Faith Davies has been writing professionally since 1996, contributing to various websites. She holds an LAH insurance license in the state of Pennsylvania and has experience as a bank branch manager and lending officer. Davies graduated cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor of Arts in art history.

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