Olympic Games Karate competition: WHAT IS KATA?


Olympic Games Karate competition: WHAT IS KATA?

Kata is the practice of performing sequences of specific Karate moves targeting a virtual opponent.

Kata, in Japanese, means ‘form.’ In Karate terms, Kata is the practice of performing sequences of specific Karate moves targeting a virtual opponent. The main elements of Kata follow.

  • The ultimate goal of the Kata is to be able to be completely focused on the representation of the movements yet perform the sequences with great mastery, speed, precision, power, and fluidity. 

  • Kata is not a dance or theatrical performance. It must adhere to the sport’s traditional values and principles. It must be realistic in fighting terms and display concentration, power, and potential impact in its techniques.

  • Kata Karate is performed on an 8x8 metre tatami mat.

  • Participants can choose to perform any of the 102 Katas approved by the WKF.

  • All Kata begin and end with a bow, or “Rei”, a testament to the sport’s values of respect and tradition.

  • A panel of seven judges use a point system to evaluate the performances. The competitors are judged 70 per cent on their technical performance (stances, techniques, transitional movements, timing, correct breathing, focus and conformance) and 30 per cent on their athletic display (strength, speed and balance).

  • Competitors are not allowed to use the same Kata twice.

  • The competition system at the Games is as follows: Competitors are divided into 2 pools of 5 and 6 competitors. In the Elimination round, competitors perform 2 Kata. The standing after the average score of the two Kata determines the 4 competitors per pool moving to the Ranking round. In the Ranking round, competitors form two groups and perform an additional kata. The two top-ranked athletes will compete for the gold medal, while competitors ranked 2nd and 3rd in each pool will compete for bronze.

  • The Olympic Kata competition will be held on Thursday 5 August (Women) and on Friday 6 August (Men).

  • Terminology:
    • Aka: Red. The competitor wearing the red belt
    • Ao: Blue. The competitor wearing the blue belt
    • Zanshin: A state of continued commitment in which the competitor maintains total
      concentration, observation, and awareness.
    • Kime: Focus. It is the term that describes the tensing at the correct moment during a technique in the Kata.