Why Karate is not in Olympics: A Comprehensive Explanation

Karate is one of the most popular martial arts in the world, and it has been around for many centuries. It has millions of practitioners globally, and its techniques are taught in many schools worldwide. Despite its popularity and long-standing history, karate has never been featured in the Summer Olympics – a point of frustration for many karate practitioners around the world.

In this post, we will explore the reasons why karate has not made it to the Olympics and the ongoing efforts to include it in future games.

The History of Karate in the Olympics

Karate has been seeking entry to the Olympics for many years. Its advocates have tried several times to secure its inclusion in the Olympics program without success. The first attempt to include karate in the Olympics was made in 1970 when the World Karate Federation (WKF) was formed in Tokyo. The WKF was established with the explicit goal of gaining Olympic recognition for karate.

Since then, the WKF has made a series of attempts to include karate in the Olympic Games. However, up until now, it has been unsuccessful in accomplishing this goal. Karate was included in the Youth Olympic Games in 2018 but has not yet been featured in the Summer Olympics, which are seen as the most prestigious of all Olympic Games.

Reasons for the Exclusion of Karate in the Olympics

There are several reasons why karate has not made it to the Olympics. One of the main reasons is that the Olympics already have combat sports like boxing, judo, wrestling, and taekwondo. Critics argue that the Olympics do not need another martial art, especially when karate shares many similarities with other combat sports.

Moreover, for a sport to be considered for inclusion in the Olympics, it has to meet certain criteria. One of the most important is the global reach of the sport. Until recently, karate’s global reach was not significant enough to meet this criterion. For the Olympic Committee to be interested in a sport, it must have significant global popularity and present a virtually universal character.

Another significant reason that karate has not been included in the Olympics is that its organization is not of the same standards as other martial arts that are included in the Olympics. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has strict standards that sports must meet to be included in the Olympic Games. One of these standards is that the sport must have a recognized international sports federation that complies with IOC standards. At the time of the last application by the World Karate Federation, there was a draw in the vote between Karate and the sport of squash.

An additional challenge for karate is that it is not a standardized sport globally as other Olympic sports such as basketball or soccer. This lack of standardization leads to a lack of consistency in rules and the application of those rules, making it hard to make karate fit into the Olympic legacy.

The Future of Karate in the Olympics

Despite its historical exclusion, recent developments indicate that a hopeful future for karate in the Olympics may be possible. The International Olympic Committee announced that Karate would be part of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics due to its home country but unfortunately was not continued to the next round. Even though the sport is not included in the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympics, it could be included in the 2028 LA Olympics as part of the IOC’s continuous interest in ‚dynamic‘ sports.

Furthermore, the World Karate Federation had been working to address the points raised by the IOC and has made significant progress in meeting the criteria required for inclusion in the Olympics. They have established consistent and standardized rules, ensuring that karate meets the standards required of Olympic sports. Additionally, the WKF has increased its global reach, collaborated with other federations, and endeavored to promote the sport worldwide.

Why Karate is not in Olympics? Here are the Most Frequent Asked Questions

The Olympic Games is the most prestigious and celebrated sports event in the world. Athletes from different countries compete against each other, showcasing their athleticism and sportsmanship. One sport that has been left out of the Olympics is karate. Fans of the sport, especially those who practice it, wonder why karate is not included in the Olympics. In this article, we answer the most frequent asked questions about why karate is not included in the Olympics.

What is Karate?

Before we dive into the reasons why karate is not included in the Olympics, let us first define what karate is. Karate is a martial art that originated in Okinawa, Japan. It involves using the hands, feet, and other parts of the body to strike and defend. Karate is a form of self-defense and physical exercise that promotes discipline, respect, and self-confidence.

What are the Different Styles of Karate?

Karate has various styles, but the most popular are Shotokan, Goju-ryu, Shito-ryu, and Wado-ryu. Each style has its techniques, movements, and philosophy.

When did Karate Start to Gain International Recognition?

Karate started gaining international recognition in the 1960s and 1970s when martial arts movies became popular. The exposure of karate in movies increased interest in the sport, and people started practicing it all over the world.

When did Karate become a Competitive Sport?

Karate became a competitive sport in the 1960s when the first Karate Championships were held. In 1970, the World Karate Federation (WKF) was established to oversee karate competitions globally.

Why is Karate not included in the Olympics?

Karate has been lobbying for inclusion in the Olympics for several years. However, the sport has not been included due to the following reasons:

Reason 1: Too Many Sports Already in the Olympics

The Olympics have a limited number of sports that can be included. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has criteria for selecting sports for the Olympics, and one of the considerations is the number of sports already included. The IOC is hesitant to add more sports to the program since it would require more resources and could cause a scheduling conflict.

Reason 2: Lack of a Unified Karate Governing Body

Unlike other sports that are already in the Olympics, Karate has different governing bodies. The WKF is the most recognized Karate governing body, but there are other organizations like the International Traditional Karate Federation (ITKF) and the International Karate Union (IKU). The lack of a unified Karate governing body makes it challenging for the IOC to include the sport in the Olympics.

Reason 3: Scoring System and Judging Criteria

Another reason why Karate is not in the Olympics is the scoring system and judging criteria. There have been controversies in past Karate events where judges were alleged to be biased in their scoring. The IOC requires a transparent and objective scoring system and judging criteria for sports included in the Olympics.

How to Understand Why Karate is Not in Olympics?

If you are a fan of karate, you may be wondering why it is not included in the Olympic Games. The exclusion of karate from the Olympics is a topic that generates a lot of debate and controversy. In this blog post, we will discuss the reasons why karate has been left out of the Olympic Games and the steps you can take to understand the issue.

Step 1: Understand the Olympic Sports Selection Process

The first step in understanding why karate is not in the Olympics is to understand the selection process for Olympic sports. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) evaluates potential sports based on their popularity, competitiveness, and global reach. The sport must also adhere to Olympic values such as fair play, non-discrimination, and respect for athletes.

Step 2: Learn about the History of Karate in the Olympics

Karate has a long history of trying to become an Olympic sport. It was first proposed for inclusion in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, but ultimately it was not selected as one of the new sports for that year.

Step 3: Investigate the Reasons for Karate’s Exclusion

One of the main reasons why karate has not been included in the Olympics is the challenge of creating a standardized competition format. There are many styles of karate, and it can be difficult to create a unified set of rules that is acceptable to all practitioners.

Another reason is the lack of a central governing body for karate. Other Olympic sports are governed by international organizations that work with the IOC to establish uniform competition rules, but there is no such organization for karate.

Finally, some critics argue that karate is too similar to other martial arts that are already represented in the Olympics, such as judo and taekwondo.

Step 4: Consider Alternative International Karate Competitions

Although karate is not included in the Olympics, there are plenty of international competitions for karate practitioners. These competitions range from local tournaments to world championships and offer karatekas an opportunity to showcase their skills and compete against fellow practitioners.

Step 5: Support the Inclusion of Karate in the Olympics

If you are passionate about karate and believe that it should be included in the Olympics, there are several ways you can support the cause. One way is to write to the IOC and express your desire to see karate included in the next Olympic Games. You can also become involved in the international karate community and work with others to address the issues that have kept karate out of the Olympics.


In conclusion, the reasons for the exclusion of karate from the Olympic Games are varied and complex. However, there are steps you can take to understand the issue and to get involved in the effort to include karate in the Olympics. By educating yourself about the history of karate in the Olympics, investigating the reasons for its exclusion, and supporting alternative international competitions, you can become a more informed and engaged member of the karate community.

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