Children’s Tournaments

When Karate students compete against one another it provides a way for them to compare their abilities and progress with students of approximately the same age and ability level. The International Shotokan Karate Association holds both adult and children’s tournaments several times a year. The Empty Hand also invites children from other clubs out to compete with us in mini-tournaments (called "shiai") from time to time.

There is usually a formal regional tournament held each spring, and a national tournament each fall. Children of all ranks are usually eligible to participate and are encouraged to do so. There is no contact allowed in Shotokan Karate Tournaments and in children’s tournaments this rule is strictly enforced.

Over the past twenty-one years, our club has participated in many tournaments. The tournaments not only give the children an opportunity to showcase their Karate skills, but they also give them an opportunity to meet other children who train Shotokan Karate, and to travel to other states and cities. So far we have traveled to places like Philadelphia, New York City, Columbus and Cincinnati, Washington, D.C., Hampton Roads and Newport News, Los Angeles, Phoenix and Anchorage with our Karate teams. Our club has an excellent record in competitions, always receiving trophies in one age group or another, and often bringing home first place trophies for either sparring or kata — and sometimes for both.

Once children reach the rank of brown and black belt, they are eligible to compete in national and international competitions. Although the competition is keen to make either the regional team (for national competition) or the national team (for international competition), many of our up and coming students have a great shot at making it all the way to the top.


Adult Tournaments

The ISKF also holds several adult tournaments each year, but unlike children’s tournaments, in ISKF adult tournaments, only brown belts and black belts are eligible to participate. Adult competitions consist of individual sparring and kata competitions as well as team sparring and kata competitions. Tournaments are held on the collegiate level, regional level, and national and international levels. Every four years the International Shotokan Karate Federation holds the ISKF World Cup which features competitors from all over the world. Both children and adults compete in the World Cup, but to qualify a participant must be one of the best Shotokan Karate-ka in his or her country.

Participation in tournaments enhances the Karate student’s Karate experience because it provides a way (other than rank testing) to measure progress, and because tournament training requires a heightened level of effort on the student’s part. For those competing in any of the team events, developing or enhancing one’s ability to work well with others is also a must.

Although competition is encouraged, it is not the ultimate goal in Karate. For those who compete in tournaments it is always important to remember that “to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the highest skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the highest skill.”


Visit the following pages for more info on specific competitions, including rules and eligibility information for upcoming tournaments and shiais, and results of past tournaments.

Upcoming Regional Championships and Shiais: Information regarding regional (East Coast region) and local tournaments and shiais that will be taking place soon. Upcoming National Championships: Details about the national (United States) tournament that will be held this autumn.
Local and Regional Competition Results: View the results of recent tournaments and shiais in the area in which Empty Hand students participated. National Competition Results: See which students earned which awards at the most recent US National competition.