1. The terms and gestures to be used by the Referee and Judges in the operation of a bout/match shall be as specified in Appendices 1 and 2.

2. The Referee and Judges shall take up their prescribed positions and following an exchange of bows between the Competitors whom are positioned at the front on their assigned mats nearest their opponent; the Referee will announce “SHOBU HAJIME!” and the bout will commence.

3. The Referee will stop the bout by announcing “YAME”. If necessary, the Referee will order the Competitors to take up their original positions (MOTO NO ICHI).

4. When the Referee returns to his position, the Judges will indicate their opinion by means of a signal. In the case of a score to be awarded the Referee identifies the Competitor (AKA or AO), the area attacked, and then awards the relevant score using the prescribed gesture. The Referee then restarts the bout by calling “TSUZUKETE HAJIME”.

5. When a Competitor has established a clear lead of eight points during a bout, the Referee shall call “YAME” and order the Competitors back to their starting points as he/she returns to his/her. The winner is then declared and indicated by the Referee raising a hand on the side of the winner and declaring “AO (AKA) NO KACHI”. The bout is ended at this point.

6. When time is up, the Competitor who has the most points is declared the winner, indicated by the Referee raising a hand on the side of the winner, and declaring “AO (AKA) NO KACHI”. The bout is ended at this point.

7. In the event of a tied vote at the end of an inconclusive bout the Referee Panel (the Referee and the four Judges) will decide the bout by HANTEI.

8. When faced with the following situations, the Referee will call “YAME!” and halt the bout temporarily.
a. When either or both Competitors are out of the match area.
b. When the Referee orders the Competitor to adjust the karategi or protective equipment.
c. When a Competitor has contravened the rules.
d. When the Referee considers that one or both of the Competitors cannot continue with the bout owing to injuries, illness, or other causes. Heeding the tournament doctor's opinion, the Referee will decide whether the bout should be continued.
e. When a Competitor seizes the opponent and does not perform an immediate technique or throw.
f. When one or both Competitors fall or are thrown and neither Competitor manages to immediately follow up with a scoring technique.
g. When both Competitors seize or clinch with each other without immediately succeeding in executing a throw or a scoring technique.
h. When both Competitors stand chest to chest without immediately attempting a throw or other technique.
i. When both Competitors are off their feet following a fall or attempted throw and begin to wrestle.
j. When a score or Jogai is indicated by two or more Judges for the same Competitor.
k. When, in the opinion of the Referee, there has been a foul committed – or the situation calls for halting the bout for safety reasons.
l. When requested to do so by the Tatami Manager.


I. When beginning a bout, the Referee first calls the Competitors to their starting lines. If a Competitor enters the area prematurely, they must be motioned off. The Competitors must bow properly to each other — a quick nod is both discourteous and insufficient. The Referee can call for a bow where none is volunteered by motioning as shown in Appendix 2 of the rules.

II. When restarting the bout, the Referee should check that both Competitors are on their lines and properly composed. Competitorsjumping up and down or otherwise fidgeting must be stilled before combat can recommence. The Referee must restart the bout with the minimum of delay.

Competitors will bow to each other at the start and end of each bout.