Traditional Challenge Rules

We do make the rules—and we follow them too.

2017 Season Operational Rules

  • A. Overview and Intent:

The Classical Kata (Traditional Challenge Divisions) will showcase the patterns of recognized Karate systems from Japan (Shotokan, Shito-Ryu, Goju-Ryu, Wado-Ryu, Chito-Ryu) and Okinawa (Shorin-Ryu, Isshin-Ryu, Goju-Ryu, Uechi-Ryu).

Competitors MUST perform a recognized unaltered/unmodified kata from one of the above systems and no additions or deletions of movements are allowed. School variations are permitted provided the movements maintain the structural integrity of the original kata.

Commentary: Unlike the Japanese/Okinawan division (NASKA), competitors must only perform unmodified katas from Japanese or Okinawan Karate systems. Competitors who choose to alter/modify a classical working or add/delete moves are strongly encouraged to enter the NASKA Japanese/Okinawan division as such changes to the kata will result in disqualification in the Traditional Challenge division.

  • B. Specific Criteria

Although Okinawan and Japanese styles have many stylistic similarities, the following subtle differences must be observed:

Japanese styles (ie. Shotokan, Wado-Ryu, Kyukoshinkai) generally have lower chamber, longer and wider stances (especially zenkutsu-dachi), horse stances with toes pointing parallel (kiba dachi), emphasis on use of back stance (or kokutsu dachi) and thrusting kicks with maximum height to the competitors own chin

Okinawan styles (ie. Shorin-Ryu, Isshin-Ryu, Ryuei-Ryu) generally have higher chamber, higher and shorter stances (more use of natural stance and sanchin dachi), horse stances with toes pointing outward (shiko dachi), emphasis on use of cat stance (neko ashi dachi) and snap kicks with maximum height to the competitors own chest

Attire: Clean, all white traditional uniform.  Sleeve length must pass the elbows, uniform bottoms must be past (below) the knee in length.

Competitor must wear black belt.

Officiating/Key Elements

Competitors will be judged/scored on focus (kime), proper execution of technique (punches, kicks, and stances), proper breathing and hip rotation.

Judges take into account and evaluate the competitor on: basic techniques, stances, punches, blocks and kicks executed with balance, strength and focus.  Eyes (Visual Expression of the Competitor), The Pace of the Kata, Breathing (Proper Exhalation), and focus of attention (chakugan).

The competitor must have an understanding of application (bunkai) and the criteria specific to the individual kata.


  • Kiai – Minimum of two (2), Maximum of four (4)
  • Kicks – Standing kicks must not go above the competitors                        shoulder
  • Stances must not break parallel.

D. Scoring/Officiating:

Five judges will be used. The highest and lowest scores of the five (5) judges will be dropped and the remaining three scores will be added together.

A scoring range of 9.90 to 9.99 will be used in the eliminations; a range of 9.96 to 10 will be used in the finals.

Seating in all four (4) corners, center referee located in the middle.

  • E. Procedure


All Competitors will be shuffled to determine the order.  Center Judge is responsible for this task.

Time Limit: 

4 minutes, the clock starts when competitor enters the ring.  The competitor will bow in and announce the name of the Kata only.  He or she will be recognized by the center judge and the kata may begin.

Officials Duties in Procedure: 

One Official is designated to count the Kia, One official will watch for the height of the kick.  The Center Official (who is the highest most experienced rank) will raise a hand if the form is indeed traditional.

Upon approval, the judges will make notes on their board as to how they will score.

After seeing all the competitors, scoring begins for each competitor.

Competitors will line-up in the order they competed in to be scored.  Disqualified competitors receive no score.

F. DQ (Disqualification):

  • Doing a non-traditional form (altered or made up)
  • Kia rule not followed (too many or not enough)
  • Out of bounds
  • Sportsmanship not adhered to
  • Excessive stance violation

The list of katas below are the ones recognized by the WKF and JKF for the the four major styles of Japanese Karate (Goju, Shito, Wado and Shotokan) and the Okinawan Prefecture Karate Rengokai for the Okinawan styles (Goju, Shorin, Uechi, Isshin and Ryuei-Ryu).  Only the Katas listed below can be performed.  Style-specific alternate names are also indicated.

School variations are permitted.  However, alterations and modifications including (but not limited) to adding or deleting movements or altering the structure of the classical form are not permitted.




Bassai/Passai – Matsumura

Bassai/Passai – Tomari

Bassai/Passai Dai

Bassai/Passai Sho


Chinto – Tomari (Shotokan: Gankaku Sho)

Chinto (Shotokan: Gankaku)

Fukyu (all versions)

Gekisai 1 and 2

Gojushiho Dai

Gojushiho Sho









Kanku Dai (Shorin-Ryu Kusanku Dai or Shito-Ryu Kosokun Dai)

Kanku Sho (Shorin-Ryu Kusanku Sho or Shito-Ryu Kosokun Sho)



Kosokunshiho (Shito-Ryu)


Kusanku – Chatanyara


Nipaipo (Standard Shito Ryu version only) / Nijuhachiho (Shotokan)

Niseishi (Shotokan : Nijushiho)



Pinan / Heian 1 – 5





Sanseiru (Uechi-Ryu version)




Seisan (all versions)




Sochin (Shotokan and Shito-Ryu versions)

Sunsu (Isshin Ryu)


Taikyoku (all versions)

Tekki 1 – 3 (Okinawan: Naihanchi)


Unshu (Shito Ryu)

Unsu (Shotokan)

Wankan (Shotokan)

Wankan (Shito Ryu: Matsukaze)

Wansu (Shotokan : Empi)