World Karate Federation

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World Karate Federation
FoundedOctober 10, 1970[1][2][3]
Regional affiliationWorld
PresidentAntonio Espinós of Spain
Official website

The World Karate Federation (WKF) is the largest international governing body of sport karate with 198 member countries.[4] It was formed in 1990, is the only karate organization recognised by the International Olympic Committee and has more than ten million members. [5][6][7][8] The WKF organizes the Junior and Senior Karate World Championships, which are each held every other year. The President of the WKF is Antonio Espinos, and the headquarters are located in Madrid, Spain.[9] The styles recognised by the WKF are Gōjū-ryū, Shitō-ryū, Shotokan and Wadō-ryū.[10]


Karate was introduced into Europe around the 1950s by Japanese masters, mainly from the Japan Karate Association (JKA).[11] In 1961, Jacques Delcourt was appointed President of French Karate Federation, which was at that stage an associated member of the French Judo Federation. In 1963 he invited the six other known European federations (Italy, Great Britain, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and Spain) to come to France for the first-ever international karate event, and Great Britain and Belgium accepted the invitation.[12]

In December of that year, six of the seven federations gathered in Paris, in what was to be the first European Karate Congress, with the aim of improving and organising karate tournaments between their countries. It was noted that the unification of the different karate styles was impossible, and so they decided to unify the refereeing.[12][13]

By 1965 the European Karate Union was created, with Jacques Delcourt voted in as President. The following year the first European Karate Championships were held, in Paris. The event drew roughly three hundred spectators and was shown on live TV; however, it drew criticisms for being too violent as there were many facial injuries. The EKU council had differing opinions about the source of the injuries, with opinions ranging from excessive rules violations to lack of conditioning and blocking skill. This problem was addressed in some part at the first referee course, held in Rome. Here, the refereeing rules were harmonised using the JKA rules as a basis.

In 1970, the International Karate Union (IKU) was formed by Jacques Delcourt in an effort to organise karate at world level. Upon hearing this, Ryoichi Sasakawa, President of the Federation of All Japan Karatedo Organization (FAJKO), which later changed its name to the Japan Karate Federation (JKF), traveled to France to discuss the creation of an international governing body.[11][14] The IKU was quickly disbanded and a new organisation was formed between the EKU and the Japanese federation, and was called the World Union of Karate-do Organizations (WUKO).[15][16]

In 1985 the World Union of Karate-do Organizations was officially recognised by the International Olympic Committee as the official board for karate.[17]

WUKO tried to unify with the International Traditional Karate Federation (ITKF) in 1990 to form the WKF; however, this attempt failed and the WUKO group left to form the WKF on their own.[18][19][20][21][22][23]

In the early 1990s, Hidetaka Nishiyama's refusal to align his ITKF organization with the World Union of Karate-Do Organizations (WUKO) caused the International Olympic Committee to suspend its recognition of WUKO as amateur karate's international governing body.[24] The ITKF and WUKO had been due to merge and form a unified karate organization, but this did not eventuate.[25] The WUKO eventually became the World Union of Karate-Do Federations in late 2008.[25] In August 2016 it was announced Karate would be in the 2020 Summer Olympics.[26][27]


As of now, the global membership of World Karate Federation stands at 198 National Federation member, spanning five continents.[28]

Continental Federations[edit]

43 National Federation Member
54 National Federation Member
39 National Federation Member
50 National Federation Member
12 National Federation Member

National Federation[edit]

Asia [29]
 Afghanistan  Bahrain  Bangladesh  Bhutan
 Brunei  Cambodia  North Korea  Timor Leste
 Hong Kong  India  Indonesia  Iraq
 Iran  Japan  Jordan  Kazakhstan
 Kuwait  Kyrgyzstan  Laos  Lebanon
 Macau, China  Malaysia  Mongolia  Myanmar
   Nepal  Oman  Pakistan  Palestine
 China  Philippines  Qatar  Korea
 Saudi Arabia  Singapore  Sri Lanka  Syria
 Tajikistan  Thailand  Chinese Taipei  Turkmenistan
 United Arab Emirates  Uzbekistan  Vietnam  Yemen

Europe [30]
 Albania  Andorra  Armenia  Austria
 Azerbaijan  Belarus  Belgium  Bosnia & Herzegovina
 Bulgaria  Croatia  Cyprus  Czech Republic
 England  Estonia  Finland  France
 Georgia  Germany  Greece  Hungary
 Iceland  Ireland  Israel  Italy
 Kosovo  Latvia  Liechtenstein  Lithuania
 Luxembourg  Malta  Monaco  Montenegro
 Netherlands  North Macedonia  Northern Ireland  Norway
 Poland  Portugal  Moldova  Romania
 Russia  San Marino  Scotland  Serbia
 Slovakia  Slovenia  Spain  Sweden
  Switzerland  Turkey  Ukraine  Wales

Panamerica [31]
 Antigua and Barbuda  Argentina  Aruba  Bahamas
 Barbados  Belize  Bermuda  Bolivia
 Brazil  Canada  Cayman Islands  Chile
 Colombia  Costa Rica  Cuba  Curaçao
 Dominican Republic  Ecuador  El Salvador  Grenada
 Guatemala  Guyana  Haiti  Honduras
 Jamaica  Martinique  Mexico  Nicaragua
 Panama  Paraguay  Peru  Puerto Rico
 Saint Lucia  Saint Vincent and the Grenadines  Suriname  Trinidad and Tobago
 USA  Uruguay  Venezuela

Africa [32]
 Algeria  Angola  Benin  Botswana
 Burkina Faso  Burundi  Cameroon  Cape Verde
 Central African Republic  Chad  Comoros  Congo
 Democratic Republic of the Congo  Djibouti  Egypt  Equatorial Guinea
 Ethiopia  Gabon  Gambia  Ghana
 Guinea  Ivory Coast  Kenya  Liberia
 Libya  Madagascar  Mali  Mauritania
 Mauritius  Morocco  Mozambique  Namibia
 Niger  Nigeria  Rwanda  Sao Tome and Principe
 Senegal  Seychelles  Sierra Leone  Somalia
 South Africa  South Sudan  Sudan  Swaziland
 Togo  Tunisia  Uganda  Tanzania
 Zambia  Zimbabwe

Oceania [33]
 Australia  Cook Islands  Fiji  French Polynesia
 Guam  Nauru  New Caledonia  New Zealand
 Papua New Guinea  Samoa  Vanuatu  Wallis and Futuna

Competition and events[edit]



team kata with bunkai


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  2. ^ "Karate's pitch for the 2020 Olympics - OlympicTalk". Retrieved 5 November 2014.
  3. ^ "World Karate Federation - WKF History". Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  4. ^ Warnock, Eleanor (2015-09-25). "Which Kind of Karate Has Olympic Chops?". WSJ. Retrieved 2015-10-18.
  5. ^ CodexCoder. "World Karate Federation - The Book". Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  6. ^ Smit, Sanette (2008). Karate. ISBN 9781847731500. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
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  8. ^ "Karate's Olympic aspirations likely to get chop". Daily Telegraph. London. 2009-05-21. Retrieved 2010-02-14.
  9. ^ "World Karate Federation President Antonio Espinos Discusses the Olympic Dream - Japan Real Time - WSJ". 2015-09-26. Retrieved 2015-09-30.
  10. ^ Kata and Kumite Competition Rules, on the WKF website
  11. ^ a b "Black Belt February 1976". February 1976. Retrieved 8 November 2014.
  12. ^ a b Arriaza, Rafael (March 2009). "Chapter 16: Karate". In Kordi, Ramin; Maffulli, Nicola; Wroble, Randall R.; et al. (eds.). Combat Sports Medicine. p. 288. ISBN 9781848003545. Retrieved 8 November 2014.
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  14. ^ "Democracy, Karate & WKF Politics" (PDF). Retrieved 8 November 2014.
  15. ^ Evans, J. K. (1988): "The battle for Olympic Karate recognition: WUKO vs. IAKF." Black Belt, 26(2):54–58.
  16. ^ "Black Belt June 1984". June 1984. Retrieved 5 November 2014.
  17. ^ Guttmann, Allen (2001). Japanese Sports. ISBN 9780824824648. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  18. ^ "Karate in the Olympics? More than a pipe dream". Active Interest Media, Inc. (February 1985). Black Belt. Active Interest Media, Inc. pp. 40–44. ISSN 0277-3066.
  19. ^ Resende, Antonio (Tone) (16 September 2013). Hajime. ISBN 9781483684420. Retrieved 8 November 2014.
  20. ^ "Black Belt January 1979". January 1979. Retrieved 8 November 2014.
  21. ^ "The Empty Hand". Fight. Retrieved 2014-11-09.
  22. ^ "Black Belt April 1993". April 1993. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
  23. ^ Haines, Bruce (22 November 2011). Karate's History and Traditions. ISBN 9781462901395. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
  24. ^ Coleman, J. (1993): "Watch out, WUKO—Here comes Shotokan Karate's Nishiyama! Noted Instructor claims he is ready to lead Olympic Karate movement if IOC ousts WUKO." Black Belt, 31(4):18–22.
  25. ^ a b World Union of Karate-Do Federations: About us Archived 2010-05-07 at the Wayback Machine (c. 2009). Retrieved on April 17, 2010.
  26. ^ "IOC approves five new sports for Olympic Games Tokyo 2020". IOC. Retrieved 2016-08-04.
  27. ^ "Olympics: Baseball/softball, sport climbing, surfing, karate, skateboarding at Tokyo 2020". BBC. Retrieved 2016-08-04.
  28. ^ "Membership". World Karate Federation.
  29. ^ "WKF National Federation". World Karate Federation.
  30. ^ "WKF National Federation". World Karate Federation.
  31. ^ "WKF National Federation". World Karate Federation.
  32. ^ "WKF National Federation". World Karate Federation.
  33. ^ "WKF National Federation". World Karate Federation.

External links[edit]