The traditional, old-style karate point-winning target areas are the most dangerous, high-risk-of-injury body areas. These targets reflect the original objective of karate fighting for hand-to-hand warfare, as do the target areas used in fencing and in kendo matches.
But in karate there are insufficient safeguards against accidental serious injury.
The contest point targets in karate include head, throat and midbody. Some styles of karate allow the kidney region and the groin to be used as targets.
Some karate contests award points for unopposed blows which come very close to the target but do not touch it. The no-contact rule is supposed to prevent injury. Some karate contests allow contact blows but require the contestants to wear protective gloves. But in both cases — no-contact or contact — the blows are delivered into the unprotected, highly vulnerable body targets. Accidental or deliberate contact means high risk of serious injury.