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Karate - A Critical Review Of Injuries In Karate

Combat sports are divided into three categories based on the actions permitted by fighting regulations: Group 1: using a weapon, such as a sword; Group 2: punches and/or kicks, such as in boxing, karate, or taekwondo; Group 3: throws, pinning techniques, strangulation, and joint manipulation techniques.

Author:Suleman Shah
Reviewer:Han Ju
Jun 20, 2022172 Shares2.3K Views
Combat sports are divided into three categories based on the actions permitted by fighting regulations: Group 1: using a weapon, such as a sword; Group 2: punches and/or kicks, such as in boxing, karate, or taekwondo; Group 3: throws, pinning techniques, strangulation, and joint manipulation techniques.
Ju-jitsu allows for the mixing of all three types of motion actions. Combat sports are, without a doubt, dangerous. Male (12.1%) and female (13.3%) athletes had similar injury rates (percentages of injured athletes in 36 Olympic sports).
Fencing injuries occurred at a rate of 13.1% for males and 5.6% for females. In boxing, males and females showed opposite patterns, with 7.3% and 19.4% respectively. Male (51.6%) and female (26.6%) taekwondo (a Korean variant of karate) athletes had the highest injury risk, while male (10.9%) and female (12.4%) judo athletes had the lowest injury risk.
Participants in karate competitions compete in gender, age, and weight categories, similar to taekwondo, boxing, judo, and wrestling, all of which are Olympic combat sports.
Fighting in karate is regarded as a high-intensity sport. Because training regimes are geared toward competition fighting, different karate styles are becoming increasingly popular.
With more than 10 million members and over 130 member countries, the World Karate Federation is the largest international governing body for this sport.

Top 5 ways to PREVENT the most common karate injuries

Injury Rate In Male And Female Karate Athletes

The scale of karate injury rate was determined using a variety of indices. As a result, the outcomes and assessments appeared ambiguous. The results of retrospective studies based on institutional documentation (RD) show that injuries were most common in men (aged 16-32 years), especially during training, with a relative injury rate of 1.95 per 1000 participants per year. In a separate study, absolute IR in training was found to be significantly higher than the rate of injuries in competitions.
The IR of males was also found to be significantly higher than that of females. The athletes aged 20-24 years had the highest IR (95% confidence interval). In the RD record, the youngest karateka was almost 14 months old. The contribution of training vs. competition injuries was nearly fifty-fifty in retrospective studies based on questionnaires (RQ) among adult women.
In another RQstudy, IR in children (aged 6-16 years) was 3.7 injuries per 1000 hours of karate training in a club where sparring and competition were not the main training goals. Rather than age and gender, IR was determined by experience, training hours, and rank. Young karatekas (aged 7-15 years) had a significantly higher IR during competition, with 13.3-15.3 injuries per 100 minutes of athletic exposure (AE), while girls had a higher IR value than boys.
The most common measure used in P studies that looked at injury rates during karate competitions was IR expressed per 1000 AE. #injury/1000 AE ranged from 22.2/1000 AE to 194.0/1000 AE in male tournaments. IR ranged between 66.2/1000 AE and 143.2/1000 AE in female athletes. The results of the same authors of Pstudies' observation of karate tournaments provided inconsistent information about the effect of various factors on the level of IR. A four-fold reduction in IR was demonstrated (per 100 karate matches) as a result of the use of protective equipment in male competition.

Injury Types

The frequency of typical injuries was distributed differently depending on the study design. The percentage comparison of injury types revealed that fractures were much more common in RD studies, ranging from 16.9% to 71.4%. Sprains and strains, on the other hand, contributed 11.9% to 44.7% of the total. They also differed from the rates of contusion and luxation (which ranged from 0.0% to 35.1% and 25.4%, respectively).
In RD studies, it was discovered that 17.9% of patients required hospitalization for 2 to 21 days. Bodily injuries were assessed as 1%-9% in 60.0% of the people, while injuries were assessed as 10%-15% in 20% of the people, according to Polish regulations. Approximately 20% of the injured karatekas were found to be completely healthy. Severe injuries are reported to hospitals and insurance companies, according to the documentation reviewed in RD studies.
Concussions were rare in RD and Pstudies of karate practitioners, but none were found in the RQstudies. Diagnoses in RQ studies may have been inaccurate because they came from injured people rather than competent doctors.

Injury Location

Injuries to the head, face, and neck, as well as the upper and lower limbs, were the most common karate injuries reported in RDstudies. Head, face, and neck injuries ranged from 5% in children to 32.4% in adults, according to RQ studies. Adult men were more likely than women to be injured in the head, face, and neck (32.4% vs. 9.2%), with lower limb injuries being the most common (28.5% vs. 53.7%).
Head, face, and neck injuries made up 22.9% to 92% of all injuries in Pstudies. Injury to the trunk, upper limbs, and lower limbs contributed between 4% and 31.8%, 10.1% to 17.2%, and 3.4% to 55.2%, respectively. When compared to injuries reported in national-level competitions where protective gear for feet and shins was not used, the contribution of injuries in the head, face, neck, and trunk increased during the Oyama Cup.
A Danish study found similar patterns, but they were related to an increase in the frequency of head, face, and neck injuries. Head, face, and neck injuries were the most common injuries in karate tournaments for both women and men (55.4% and 57.9%, respectively). Furthermore, both female and male 15-year-old karate athletes had a high risk of head injury, with 43.8% and 52.6%, respectively, of head injury.

3 Stupid Martial Arts Injuries | How to Avoid Getting Hurt

Causes And Mechanisms Of Karate Injuries

Punches, kicks, blocks, and falling to the ground were frequently cited as causes of injury. In general, it can be concluded that karatekas suffered body damage as a result of an impact that exceeded tissue strength. The impact that occurred during kicks (33.3%) in the head, lower limb, groin, stomach, and punch bag, falling on the ground (25.6%), and hitting with the upper extremity (20.5%) against the head, upper limb, a wall, or a board were the most common mechanisms in RD studies.
Being kicked (26.9%), falling (20.8%), and kicking (18.0%) were all factors in the injury mechanism during kicking. According to another study, kick/foot strike (38.0%), fall/throw/jump (26.0%), block (9.0%), weapon (5.0%), and others(12%) were the causes of body injuries in karatekas. Kicks (47.0%) and punches (43.2%) were the most common injury mechanisms in RQ studies, while falling to the ground (9.8%) was the least common. Punches (48.4%28 to 82.7%) were the most common cause of injury in the Pstudies. As a result, kicks were identified as an injury mechanism less frequently, from 7.3% to 29.2% of the time. With a frequency of 5.1%-18.8%, some authors reported being injured while blocking an attack.
A woman with a green belt in karate kicking a bag while another woman with a black belt holds it
A woman with a green belt in karate kicking a bag while another woman with a black belt holds it

People Also Ask

What Are The Common Injuries In Karate?

Sprains, strains, cuts, and bruises are the most common injuries in martial arts. It is also possible to break bones. Knee, ankle, shoulder, and elbow injuries are among the most common. During striking martial arts, the hands are particularly vulnerable to injury.

What Are Risks In Karate?

Contusions (bruises), sprains, strains, and abrasions are the most common injuries associated with martial arts, just as they are with other sports. There was a direct correlation between experience, belt rank, and weekly training hours. Karate appeared to be associated with an increased risk of injury in both children and adults.

Which Martial Art Has Most Injuries?

Jujitsu (97.5%), Aikido (51%), and Kung Fu (38%), as well as Judo, Karate, and Tae Kwon Do (19.5%, 23.5%, and 22%, respectively), appear to be the most injury-prone arts. Tai Chi (14% of those studied) is the least injury-prone martial art. It's important to note a few things based on this information.

How Do You Ensure Safety In Karate?

Wear Proper Equipment
To avoid concussions or brain injuries, for example, people should always wear headgear while sparring, as well as cups to protect the groin area. Chest protectors, hand and foot guards, shin guards, and mouth guards are all necessary pieces of equipment to wear.


It's crucial to look into the factors that help athletes reduce IR. Injury is impossible to completely eliminate in karate because the impact that exceeds tissue mechanical strength has yet to be ruled out as the primary cause of severe injuries.
• Because the attack in karate is aimed at vital points on the opponent's body, changes to fighting rules made by sports federations may only be partially effective in lowering the risk of injury.
• Formal exercise (kata) and pre-arranged sparring may be a safe alternative to karate fights among children.
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Suleman Shah

Suleman Shah

Suleman Shah is a researcher and freelance writer. As a researcher, he has worked with MNS University of Agriculture, Multan (Pakistan) and Texas A & M University (USA). He regularly writes science articles and blogs for science news website and open access publishers OA Publishing London and Scientific Times. He loves to keep himself updated on scientific developments and convert these developments into everyday language to update the readers about the developments in the scientific era. His primary research focus is Plant sciences, and he contributed to this field by publishing his research in scientific journals and presenting his work at many Conferences. Shah graduated from the University of Agriculture Faisalabad (Pakistan) and started his professional carrier with Jaffer Agro Services and later with the Agriculture Department of the Government of Pakistan. His research interest compelled and attracted him to proceed with his carrier in Plant sciences research. So, he started his Ph.D. in Soil Science at MNS University of Agriculture Multan (Pakistan). Later, he started working as a visiting scholar with Texas A&M University (USA). Shah’s experience with big Open Excess publishers like Springers, Frontiers, MDPI, etc., testified to his belief in Open Access as a barrier-removing mechanism between researchers and the readers of their research. Shah believes that Open Access is revolutionizing the publication process and benefitting research in all fields.
Han Ju

Han Ju

Hello! I'm Han Ju, the heart behind World Wide Journals. My life is a unique tapestry woven from the threads of news, spirituality, and science, enriched by melodies from my guitar. Raised amidst tales of the ancient and the arcane, I developed a keen eye for the stories that truly matter. Through my work, I seek to bridge the seen with the unseen, marrying the rigor of science with the depth of spirituality. Each article at World Wide Journals is a piece of this ongoing quest, blending analysis with personal reflection. Whether exploring quantum frontiers or strumming chords under the stars, my aim is to inspire and provoke thought, inviting you into a world where every discovery is a note in the grand symphony of existence. Welcome aboard this journey of insight and exploration, where curiosity leads and music guides.
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