The following section contains the World Karate Federation’s official dress rules for competitors.

  1. Competitors and their Coaches must wear the official attire as herein defined
  2. The Referee Commission may disbar any official or Competitor who does not comply with this regulation


Competitors must wear a white karate-gi without stripes, piping or personal embroidery other than specifically allowed by the WKF EC. The national emblem or flag of the country will be worn on the left breast of the jacket and may not exceed an overall size of 12cm by 8cm (see Appendix 7). Only the original manufacturer’s labels may be displayed on the gi. In addition, identification issued by the Organising Committee will be worn on the back. One Competitor must wear a red belt and the other a blue belt. The red and blue belts must be around five centimetres wide and of a length sufficient to allow fifteen centimetres free on each side of the knot but not longer than three-quarters thigh length. The belts are to be of plain red and blue colour, without any personal embroideries or advertising or markings other than the customary label from the manufacturer.

Notwithstanding the paragraph above, the Executive Committee may authorise the display of special labels or trademarks of approved sponsors.

The jacket, when tightened around the waist with the belt, must be of a minimum length that covers the hips, but must not be more than three-quarters thigh length. Female Competitors may wear a plain white T-shirt beneath the Karate jacket. Jacket ties must be tied. Jackets without ties may not be used.

The maximum length of the jacket sleeves must be no longer than the bend of the wrist and no shorter than halfway down the forearm. Jacket sleeves may not be rolled up. The jacket ties holding the jacket in place must be tied at the beginning of the bout. If they are torn off during the match, the Competitor is not required to change the jacket.

The trousers must be long enough to cover at least two thirds of the shin and must not reach below the anklebone. Trouser legs may not be rolled up.

Competitors must keep their hair clean and cut to a length that does not obstruct smooth bout conduct. Hachimaki (headband) will not be allowed. Should the Referee consider any Competitor’s hair too long and/or unclean, he/she may disbar the Competitor from the bout. Hair slides are prohibited, as are metal hairgrips. Ribbons, beads and other decorations are prohibited. One or two discreet rubber bands on a single ponytail is permitted.

Competitors may use WKF Approved religiously mandated head-wear: A black plain fabric head scarf covering the hair, but not the throat area.

Competitors must have short fingernails and must not wear metallic or other objects, which might injure their opponents. The use of metallic teeth braces must be approved by the Referee and the Tournament Doctor. The Competitor accepts full responsibility for any injury.

The following protective equipment is compulsory:

  • WKF approved mitts, one competitor wearing red and the other wearing blue
  • Gum shield
  • WKF approved body protection (for all competitors) plus chest protector for female competitors
  • WKF approved shin pads, one competitor wearing red and the other wearing blue
  • WKF approved foot protection, one competitor wearing red and the other wearing blue

Groin Guards are not mandatory but if worn must be WKF approved.

Glasses are forbidden. Soft contact lenses can be worn at the Competitor’s own risk.

The wearing of unauthorised apparel, clothing or equipment is forbidden.

All protective equipment must be WKF homologated.

It is the duty of the Match Supervisor to ensure before each match or bout that the Competitors are wearing the approved equipment. (In the case of Continental Federation, International, or National Federation Championships it should be noted that WKF approved equipment, must be accepted and cannot be refused).

The use of bandages, padding, or supports because of injury must be approved by the Referee on the advice of the Tournament Doctor.


Coaches shall at all times during the tournament, wear the official tracksuit of their National Federation and display their official identification with the exception of bouts for medals of official WKF events, where male Coaches are required to wear a dark suit, shirt and tie, while female Coaches may choose to wear a dress, pantsuit or a combination of jacket and skirt in dark colours.