3 - ITKF - ETKF

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ITKF - ETKF          Home          Topicality

ITKF History


The International Traditional Karate Federation (or ITKF; known in Japanese as Kokusai Dentō Karate Renmei ) is the international governing body for Traditional Karate. This organisation was founded by Hidetaka Nishiyama.



ITKF is the direct successor of the International Amateur Karate Federation (IAKF), which was established on September 27, 1974 at a constitutional meeting in New York City. This meeting was attended by the world’s national Karate federation representatives.

Six years before, in 1968, there had been growing worldwide interest for the formation of an international Karate federation that would also oversee the presentation of international competitions. At that time, in response to this increasingly worldwide interest, the American Amateur Karate Federation (AAKF), now the ITKF member from the United States, organized the World Invitational Karate-Do Tournament which was held at two sites, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. and Mexico City, Mexico. The AAKF invited the team representatives from Asia, Europe, North and South America. It was this international tournament held in 1968 which was to be later recognized as the first truly world-scale competition. In addition, it was at this time that the participating international delegations met and agreed to form an international Karate organization. The date of the agreement was November 3, 1968. It was this agreement and the representatives involved that were to later form the basis for the formal constitutional formation of the IAKF in 1974.

The IAKF moved with deliberate and diligent purpose, as in 1975, when it mounted its First World Karate-Do Championship in Los Angeles, California. This tournament was followed in succession by World Karate-Do Championships in 1977 in Tokyo, Japan, 1980 in Bremen, West Germany and 1983 in Cairo, Egypt. The IAKF also moved to strengthen and revitalize the growth of the Traditional Karate sport on a continental level. This was done through IAKF Continental Organizations in Africa, Asia-Oceania, Europe and Pan America which mounted their own continental championships.

So as to more clearly differentiate and identify its exclusive and separate jurisdiction over the sport of Traditional Karate, the IAKF officially changed its name in May, 1986 to the International Traditional Karate Federation (ITKF).

The ITKF wanted to make clear it was the governing body of traditional karate. In 1987, the IOC officially confirmed that the ITKF was the governing body for traditional karate.


Technical Qualifications


Dan Ranking

ITKF officially recognizes Eligible Style Organization (ESO) rankings which have standards that match ITKF technical standards. ITKF recognizes each ESO ranking as an official rank.


Ranking Examiner

ITKF recognizes Ranking Examiners who have completed the necessary ITKF course and examination and each respective style organization’s recommended examiners. Examiners are ranked as Class A, B or C.



ITKF qualified judges serve at all official ITKF competitions. Judges must complete the required course and successfully pass the examination. There are two categories for Judges: Kumite and Kata. Each category has three classes: A, B or C.


Certified Coach

ITKF issues certificates for Certified Coaches, which require completion of the necessary course and examination.


Certified Instructor

ITKF issues certificates for Certified Instructors, which require completion of the necessary training course.