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Here are some of the Karate Tips and tricks Which are most important for any competitor regardless of style. You can click on the links below to Know moree Karate Tips and tricks Which are most important for any competitor regardless of style.

You can click on the links below to Know more

WKF 6 Criteria explained so that there will not be any confusion in learning the basic scoring criteria. thanks to my friend Jason Stanley, USA

Maximizing The Six Criteria For Scoring
There are six criteria under WKF rules that must be satisfied in order to be awarded a point. These are as follows:

  • Good form
  • Sporting Attitude
  • Vigorous Application
  • Awareness
  • Good Timing
  • Correct Distance

As competitors we must MAXIMIZE each of the six criteria to give them every opportunity to score our points.

Let’s take a look at these in more detail, keeping in mind that we must appeal to the referee’s interpretation of the rules. And while there are vast differences in opinion between referees in what constitutes each of the 6 criteria, there are specific points that cannot be ignored

What does that mean exactly?
To paraphrase Sensei Tommy Morris’ in his article Tactics and the Referee, good form means to have correct posture and stance when performing a technique.

An example could be when performing jodan mawashi geri to make sure your body is balanced when kicking. I’ve seen so many kicks hit their targets over the years, but many of them were not paid because the competitor was off balance at the point of contact. Clearly this is a case of poor form and the point should not be awarded.

Another common competition technique is reverse punch to the body. The rules state “Good Form”, but does this mean that the hikite must be pulled back?

Interestingly, no.
Gyaku zukis are paid with or without the hikite by the hip. In fact in competition if you pull your hand all the way back, you are lowering your guard and increasing your chance of being hit. Believe me when I say I know this from first hand experience – I was knocked out in 1994 making this mistake!

Also, do you think that if the back leg bends a little or if the attacker raises their heel, a punch should still be awarded? Under the WKF rules there is nothing to say it shouldn’t score. And because what is meant by “good form” in one particular style might completely violate the “good form” from another, these things are discounted under WKF rules.

Think of “good form” as the bare essentials. Things like solid body mechanics, good balance, shift of weight toward the target, recoiled and controlled technique.

Discard things like hikite position, whether or not the front knee is bent slightly or a lot, if the back leg is bent and the heel raised. Disregard things like whether your stance is low or high, long or short. It’s not kata now that is being judged. What’s under the assessment is whether or not it resembled an effective karate technique.

Now remember that there are vast differences in referee’s opinions. There are referees who hold high expectations and then those who pay almost anything. It’s important to pay attention to what referees are paying on the day. And then it’s also important to take notice of what particular referees are awarding points for.

I’ve been to tournaments where perfectly executed haito uchis (ridge hand strike) are completely ignored by the referees. Then the next week, the same referee will pay the same points faster than you can say “yame!”.

Another example of a technique that very rarely gets paid is a front hand punch to the body. The reason is that it’s not considered to be effective. However many of us know that if you pull your hip back, twist into it and put your body weight behind it, this technique can have an incredible amount of power.

Unfortunately most people execute this technique more like a jab – which will score a point to the head, but when done to the body falls into the ineffective basket together with things like back fist to the stomach.

As we can see from these examples, for the competitor it’s not as simple as making “good form”, but to implement techniques that the referees will reward you for.

Stick to the techniques that have the highest chance of being paid. Things like chudan gyaku zuki, chudan mawashi and mae geri. Forget about jodan punches, back fists and ridge hands unless you have a knowledgeable referee who you KNOW will pay your points. Jodan mawashi / ura mawashi geri are fine so long as you can maintain good form and control. The 3 points can be worth the risk.

Consider how you can put these techniques into practice, by developing strategies, tactics and combinations that will allow you to score with them.

Remember to give yourself MAXIMUM SCORING OPPORTUNITY (MSO) with the referees; it’s a 2 part equation:

In the next newsletter we’ll move forward to some of the other criteria. We’ll explore in detail ways you can bend the rules to your advantage and maximize each to score your point.

By the way, if you’re wondering, I drew that fight in Croatia and our team went through to the final to take the silver medal.

As competitors wanting to do our best, we must do everything in our power to maximize our “sporting attitude”. As one of the six criteria required for a score to be awarded, the WKF rules define sporting attitude as follows…

Sporting Attitude is a component of good form and refers to a non-malicious attitude of great concentration obvious during delivery of the scoring technique.

This means that our mission is not to hurt or injure our opponent whether intentional or through carelessness. To maximize our sporting attitude, treat each bout as a complex game of tag. The key to maximizing sporting attitude lies here…

Operate from the perspective of CHALLENGE instead of FEAR.

Once we change our mind set to treat it as a game rather than a fight where FEAR is the driver, the sporting attitude can easily exist because challenge pushes your personal limits of skill, while fear does the opposite.

Fear of defeat, fear of being hurt, fear of embarrassment, and fear of punishment are all powerful negative drivers that produce negative emotions and unsupportive actions of the sporting attitude.

A direct result are behaviors like uncontrolled, careless and sometimes malicious techniques in order to “get even” with the opponent or referee.

I remember a fight many years ago where my opponent became frustrated because I had scored twice when he did not. He was upset because he felt his points should have been paid, but mine were instead. He was unable to control his emotion and the next chance he had, he “took one to give one”, meaning he allowed me to hit him first just so he could knock me out.

Clearly this was a case of poor sporting attitude, with an uncontrolled and malicious technique. He was disqualified and I won the fight by default.

So remember when fighting in a tournament, consider it a game of tag. This changes your physiology and helps you operate from CHALLENGE instead of FEAR. When you eliminate fearful emotions you maximize your skill level, your sporting attitude and the chances of having your points awarded.


The WKF rules define Vigorous Application as follows…

Vigorous Application defines the power and speed of the technique and the palpable will for it to succeed.

I understand this to mean that the technique must be executed at full combat speed. It must be completely and plainly obvious that the kick or punch had the speed and power to be effective.

Any technique lacking in power should therefore not be awarded. Any technique lacking in speed should be ignored. However does this mean that every technique should be executed at full combat speed with full force to the opponent?


Remember that any technique in WKF competition must also be controlled. The controlling of techniques is repeatedly emphasized in the rules. In Article 6 under the scoring criteria the rules state the following…

The technique must be appropriately controlled with regard to the area being attacked and must satisfy all six scoring criteria.

So as competitors how do we maximize our vigorous application without hurting our opponent? The first step is to understand what areas you can hit with more force than others, and also what areas are illegal to make contact with altogether.

While most people are familiar with the fact that joint and limb attacks are illegal, did you know that it’s actually LEGAL to attack the throat? The caveat is that you CANNOT make contact whatsoever. Vigorous application with control is what the referees are looking for.

And depending on the age group of the competitor, the rules are also different. For example, for adults and juniors, light face contact is permitted so long as the referee doesn’t consider it too hard. Excessive contact should always be penalized. For cadets no contact is permitted to the face whatsoever.

The point to all this is as competitors wanting to do our best, we must understand and be familiar with the scoring areas. We must know what techniques are safest to throw in order to minimize our chances of being penalized and maximize the opportunities to score.

That’s why in part one of this article I suggested you stay away from techniques to the front of the face due to the high probability of it being penalized for contact and it’s reduced chance of scoring since the line between skin touch and excessive contact is so thin.

Instead, stick to techniques that target the muscular parts of the body where firm contact with vigorous application isn’t going to get you penalized.

Today we’ve arrived at one of the most important of the six criteria…

Whether it’s on the street or on the competition floor, zanshin is an absolute must in order to stay out of harm’s way. Zanshin, or “awareness” in English, is defined in the WKF rules as follows…

Awareness (ZANSHIN) is that criterion most often missed when a score is assessed. It is the state of continued commitment in which the contestant maintains total concentration, observation, and awareness of the opponent’s potentiality to counter-attack. He does not turn his face away during delivery of the technique, and remains facing the opponent afterwards.

Notice that the rules state “Awareness is the criterion most often missed”. Remember that ALL 6 criteria must be present for a point to be awarded. So if you’re lacking zanshin, you don’t get the point.

So many times at competition a competitor will close their eyes when punching, shy away when blocking and countering, or turn their back after they score thinking they’ve already got the point. These are all examples of poor awareness and your point should not be awarded.

Remember to maintain eye contact and keep your hands up until AFTER you hear YAME! If you don’t hear the referee, then most likely the point wasn’t awarded and you shouldn’t look to them for verification – this is another example of poor zanshin, and is very common in children. If you teach kids reinforce this point over and over – eyes on your opponent at all times!

The referee will call YAME again if you didn’t hear it the first time. The bottom line is this… keep your eyes on your opponent, ears open and hands up! Pretty simple really isn’t it? So why do so many people miss it? Eagerness to get the point and overconfidence in their technique can lead people to drop their hands, turn away after a technique or look to the referee for approval…thus, losing their zanshin — and their point!

A good visual image to reinforce zanshin (particularly helpful when teaching kids) is to imagine a spherical force field surrounding your body to the full reach of your arms in every direction. That’s YOUR zone. Protect it at all times and be aware of everything coming in it!

To paraphrase Sensei Antonio Oliva, who is often referred to as the world’s foremost tactical coach, “In order to score a point you must be in the right place, at the right time, doing the right technique.”

Makes perfect sense doesn’t it? Without correct timing the effect of the technique is greatly diminished. And the WKF rules back this up with criteria #5 – proper timing.

Good Timing means delivering a technique when it will have the greatest potential effect.

So when does a technique have the greatest potential effect? There are 2 factors that influence the timing – your movement and your opponent’s movement.

Consider if you will the following examples. For simplicity we’ll assume one person is attacking with reverse punch and ACTUALLY MAKES CONTACT. All other criteria are good. The other person is the target. The arrows indicate the direction of movement of each of the players while the circle refers to a stationary target.

As you can see from the table above, points should not be awarded when the attacker is moving away from the target, or when the target is moving away from the attacker. Study the above table and determine why points should be paid in the other cases.


Correct Distance similarly means delivering a technique at the precise distance where it will have the greatest potential effect. Thus if the technique is delivered on an opponent who is rapidly moving away, the potential effect of that blow is reduced.

New competitors often miss this important point. They might have all other criteria correct but when they make contact with reverse punch at an ineffective distance for example, it doesn’t get paid and frustration results.

The reason is often that their opponent is too close to them, not permitting full extension of the technique – cramming the attacker. Similarly as their opponent moves away the attacker might find themselves overstretched trying to make contact but barely touching. Again distance (and timing) are missing from the equation.

So how do we solve these problems? If we look to Sensei Oliva’s advice we see it basically comes down to footwork and focus…

You must be in the right place (distance), at the right time (timing), doing the right technique (focus).

Pretty simple isn’t it?
So to maximize each of the six criteria we must practice (and teach) everything that we’ve established so far. I can’t be there to watch you and coach you, but there are things you can do to ensure that you (and your students) are trying to maximize each of the six criteria… it’s a very simple drill, yet very effective – I guess that’s why it’s being used by coaches and teams from around the world.

Would you like to know what it is?
The drill involves 2 competitors and a referee – a W.K.F. certified referee would be best (perhaps you can invite them to your tournament training sessions?). If you don’t have access to a referee find someone who is at least familiar with the 6 criteria for WKF scoring.

Basically two competitors face each other, one is the attacker and one is the target. The attacker does whatever single technique or attacking combination he or she wishes to practice while the other person remains still, as a target. The referee watches the attack and then will award the point just like in competition if all 6 criteria are present. If not, then no point is given. After 5 or 10 attacks, the attacker and target switch roles.

The benefits of this drill are:

  • You’re utilizing a real, live, flesh and blood WKF certified referee, so you know that if the point is awarded, all 6 criteria were present.
  • If your points aren’t being paid, you can ask the referee exactly what was missing, then work on fixing it. (You can’t do this at competition!)
  • It makes you THINK and PRACTICE good form and develop good habits. Competitors always WANT to be awarded points (even if it’s just practice), so it drives students to perform better.
  • You’re practicing your technique exactly as you NEED to for competition, so you’ll be better prepared!

It’s so simple, yet makes so much sense it’s irrefutable.
In summary, we’ve learned the 6 criteria for scoring a point under WKF rules, how to maximize each and discovered a simple yet powerful drill for developing both your skills and those of your students if you teach. Armed with this knowledge and with a little practice you should start to see measurable improvement in your tournament results.

Good luck!