Pan Am Karate

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Sport Overview

Karate will take place using the Kumite format that puts the athletes into a series of one-on-one bouts — three-minute bouts for men and two-minute bouts for women — where competitors receive points for successful kicks, strikes and punches to the opponent. Judges award points when a technique meets strict standards of performance that include good form, timing, vigour and awareness.

Thirteen countries split 40 medals in karate at the Guadalajara 2011 Pan Am Games. Mexico had an excellent showing with six medals, the highest total in the sport.

One athlete to watch in 2015 will be Vanessa Restrepo. Born in Colombia, her family moved to Canada several years ago, and she is hoping to showcase her sport and her dual heritage at the Games.


Karate dates back to 17th century Okinawa where its inhabitants, who were forbidden to bear weapons by their Japanese rulers, developed fighting skills that incorporated striking and kicking. The word karate means “empty hands” in Japanese.

How it works

There will be events for both men and women in five weight categories each. Each bout consists of three minutes for men, two for women during which competitors attempt to dominate the other using karate techniques. Judges award points based on execution and technique.


Dogi or gi
The karate uniform.

The belt.

A standing bow.

A karate teacher/instructor.

Additional Information

Additional Information