The World Karate Federation or WKF is the international governing body for the combat sport of Karate. The Federation is made up of members of five Continental Federations. These are Asia, Oceania, Africa, Europe and Pan America. WKF was founded in 1970 and is the permanent governing body for all forms of Karate. The organisation also abides by the Olympic Charter and the sport is a prominent feature of the Olympic Games. In addition, WKF oversees further major competitions in the form of the World Championships for Seniors and Juniors & Cadets. Further World Tour competitions include a Premier League, a Series A, and a Youth League. The Premier League was formed in 2011 and is the most prestigious competition bringing together the elite athletes of the sport. Series A is also an open competition and gives all karatekas around the globe the opportunity to participate in a world-class event. Youth League was formed recently and is an elite competition for juniors and cadets laying the foundation for the future stars of the sport. WKF also oversee Continental Competitions, but ultimately leave the management to their member states.
Karate is a very diverse sport and provides an opportunity for athletes in a wide range of categories to compete at the highest level. For Cadets there are ten and for Juniors there are thirteen. Bringing it more in line with Olympic format, the Under 21’s, Senior Female and Senior Male have eight categories. Where the sport really sets itself apart is facilitating Para Athletes. Here there are categories for athletes with visual impairments, athletes with intellectual impairments and Wheelchair Users. All these are for both men and women. Karate was originally developed in the Ryukyu Kingdom under the influence of Kung Fu. Now the sport is much more a striking art making use of knee and elbow strikes, kicks and especially punching. The hand techniques can be knife-hands, spear-hands and palm-heel strikes. Other styles of Karate also include throws, joint locks and grappling. For WKF the ultimate goal is to make the sport accessible to all and easy to understand, which will further enhance rapid international growth.