World Karate Federation

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] All the styles are officially recognised by the WKF.[10]

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


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.

In 1970, the International Karate Union (IKU) was formed by Jacques Delcourt in an effort to organise karate at the 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), travelled 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]

The integration of several new organizations during the 1990s saw WUKO membership increase to 150 National Federations. Therefore, a new name that would more accurately reflect the size and scope of the organization was needed. The name of the first International organization representing sport Karate was thus changed to World Karate Federation (WKF) on December 20, 1992. [18]

The significant growth of WKF resulted in a consolidated organisation that fully represented the sport of Karate at the international level. This legitimacy was confirmed in 1999 when the IOC officially recognised the World Karate Federation as the sole governing body for the sport of Karate in the world. [19]

In August 2016 it was announced Karate would be in the 2020 Summer Olympics.[20][21]


As of now, the global membership of World Karate Federation stands at 198 National Federation member, spanning five continents.[22]

Continental federationsEdit

49 National member federations
44 National member federations
54 National member federations
39 National member federations
12 National member federations

National fexerationsEdit

Asia [23]
  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   South Korea
  Saudi Arabia   Singapore   Sri Lanka   Syria
  Tajikistan   Thailand   Chinese Taipei   Turkmenistan
  United Arab Emirates   Uzbekistan   Vietnam   Yemen

Europe [24]
  Albania   Andorra   Armenia   Austria
  Azerbaijan   Belarus   Belgium   Bosnia and 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 [25]
  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 [26]
  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 [27]
  Australia   Cook Islands   Fiji   French Polynesia
  Guam   Nauru   New Caledonia   New Zealand
  Papua New Guinea   Samoa   Vanuatu   Wallis and Futuna

Competition and eventsEdit



team kata with bunkai


  • Athletes with Visual Impairments - Men and Women
  • Athletes with Intellectual Impairments - Men and Women
  • Wheelchair User - Men and Women


  1. ^ "WUKO Blog | Blog WUKO – WKF". Retrieved 2015-09-30.
  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.
  7. ^ "Final Report on the XXVIIth Olympiad" (PDF). Retrieved 5 November 2014.
  8. ^ "Karate's Olympic aspirations likely to get chop". Daily Telegraph. London. 2009-05-21. Archived from the original on 2010-04-15. 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.
  13. ^ "Sports Shorts". Retrieved 8 November 2014.
  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. ^ "World Karate Federation - The Book".
  19. ^ "World Karate Federation - The Book".
  20. ^ "IOC approves five new sports for Olympic Games Tokyo 2020". IOC. Retrieved 2016-08-04.
  21. ^ "Olympics: Baseball/softball, sport climbing, surfing, karate, skateboarding at Tokyo 2020". BBC. Retrieved 2016-08-04.
  22. ^ "Membership". World Karate Federation.
  23. ^ "WKF National Federation". World Karate Federation.
  24. ^ "WKF National Federation". World Karate Federation.
  25. ^ "WKF National Federation". World Karate Federation.
  26. ^ "WKF National Federation". World Karate Federation.
  27. ^ "WKF National Federation". World Karate Federation.

External linksEdit