World Karate Federation
FoundedOctober 10, 1970[1][2][3]
Regional affiliationWorld
PresidentAntonio Espinós of Spain
CEOSara Wolfferdown
Vice president(s)Jose Garcia-Maañón, Nasser Alrazooqi, Bechir Cherif, Gunnar Nordahl, Michael Kassis, Wolfgang Weigert
(founded)October, 1970
Official website

The World Karate Federation (WKF) is the largest international governing body of sport karate with 198 member countries.[4][dubious ] It is the only karate organization recognised by the International Olympic Committee and has more than a hundred million members.[5][6][7][8] The WKF organizes their Junior and Senior Karate World Championships, which are each held every other year. The President of the WKF is Antonio Espinós, and the headquarters are located in Madrid, Spain.[9] All the styles are officially recognised by the WKF.[10][clarification needed]


Karate was introduced to 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,[when?] the global membership of World Karate Federation stands at 200 national federation members, spanning five continents.[22]

Continental federations

50 national member federations
44 national member federations
54 national member federations
39 national member federations
13 national member federations

National federations

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
 United States  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 events



team kata with bunkai



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  2. ^ "Karate's pitch for the 2020 Olympics - OlympicTalk". 28 May 2013. 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. New Holland. ISBN 9781847731500. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  7. ^ "Final Report on the XXVIIth Olympiad" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 November 2011. 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, Archived 2 November 2020 at the Wayback Machine, 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. Springer. p. 288. ISBN 9781848003545. Retrieved 8 November 2014.
  13. ^ "Sports Shorts". Retrieved 8 November 2014.
  14. ^ "Democracy, Karate & WKF Politics" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 11 April 2014. 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. University of Hawaii Press. 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.