Kickboxing appeared on the martial arts scene in the mid-seventies, basically originating in America. As tournament karate was limited in many ways, fighters believed there was a way to make the sport more exciting. The Americans then developed, what may be seen as Kickboxing’s predecessor, which was American Full Contact Karate. This was fought on an open area in its early stages with the use of a full-sized kickboxing ring coming later. The rules allowed the use of Kicks and Punches that could be delivered with full power and to the knockout!
I am pleased to say that even today some of its originators still remain as my personal idols, with the likes of Don The Dragon Wilson and Bill Wallace who I have met and also my favorite of all time Benny The Jet Urquidez.
The rules were further developed as time went on and more protective safety equipment and weight categories were added to formulate a style that is well recognized and respected today.
Within this style, what can be seen is a fast and furious system, but one which will allow people to be able to learn self-defense whilst actually enjoying themselves and attaining high levels of fitness, not needing to be a serious fighter or future World Champion unless they so wish. It is regularly practiced throughout the World at the Amateur level and the Professional element is very popular also.
Offshoots of the style have been developed especially for the fitness market/industry such as Boxercise and Tae Bo, these being very popular in the large health clubs. Their following was boosted by many celebrities sanctioning these systems or training within them.
Organizations such as WAKO are the World leaders in this area and have many countries involved at British, European, and World levels with top-ranked and well-respected champions from all areas of the Globe.
Written by Master Cris Janson-Piers, World President to WFKKO, Principal Director to BFKKO