Important Update Regarding Uniform Requirements

by USA NKF Staff

Dear Members,

As you likely know, USA Karate recently updated our uniform guidelines to reflect the new international norm requiring elite athletes to have both red and blue embroidered uniforms for competition.

This change in our requirements was made to ensure compliance with a new rule from the World Karate Federation, our international governing body, making red and blue uniforms mandatory in all WKF competitions effective January 1, 2023. Likewise, the Pan American Karate Federation, our continental federation, has followed suit and these uniforms are now mandatory in both Junior and Senior Pan American Championships.

Since international events no longer allow all-white uniforms, and our domestic elite competitions are in essence qualifiers for international events, the purpose of our rule change was to follow our international federation’s guidelines, but also aimed to save athletes the trouble of having to purchase white, red, and blue uniforms were they to qualify for an international event.

However, having listened to feedback from our community and our members, USA Karate will delay implementation of the uniform guidelines for 2023. White, red, or blue will be acceptable for elite athletes at our domestic events for the remainder of this year. Please note that all non-elite categories will still require white uniforms, and that red and blue uniforms will not be allowed in these non-elite categories.

In recognition of our international obligations, beginning at the 2024 U.S. Open in Las Vegas, elite athletes will need to have red and blue uniforms.

While we understand that purchasing two uniforms can be more expenses than one, many of our vendors are offering specials on the red and blue uniforms that are budget conscious. For example, Punok offers the red and blue kumite uniform set starting at $189. Additionally, we are working with various vendors to provide need-based scholarship funds for elite-level athletes who may struggle to purchase all the required equipment. We want to continue to make karate equitable but must balance the evolution of the required equipment that makes WKF karate different from other alternatives out there. We should also point out that USANKF receives no financial benefit from or the implementation of this rule.

All that said, we hope this delay in implementation is welcome news and evidence that constructive feedback will be heard, and solutions will be found. Should you have any additional questions, please contact


  • Athlete Ombuds
  • Documents & Resources
  • SafeSport Program
  • Para-Karate Program
  • Diversity & Inclusion Program
  • Rules of Competition
Karate and USOPC Logo

© 2023 USA Karate - All Rights Reserved.