Kick boxing - general background

By: Thanaseelan

History:

Martial arts boomed during the early 1970s and interest was greatly increased by their emphasis on competition fighting. Chinese styles of fighting began to take a more westernised form in the UK, and even more so in the United States, where the first real freestyle systems were beginning to be created. Indeed, many people claim that Kick boxing originated in the US during the 1970s. This, they say, was due to various American Karate practitioners becoming frustrated with the limitations of tournament competitive scoring. While Karate and the other disciplines were viewed as being entrenched with theories and set kata, and were performed in a controlled environment, practitioners wanted to see how effective their moves would be in a more realistic environment. Great emphasis began to be placed on specialised techniques, such as kicks and punches, being delivered with full force.

Although full contact Karate was already established, concerns were expressed for the safety of competitors.

Development:

There is a close affinity between Kick boxing and Muay Thai. While it is believed that the Americans had created this concept in their attempt to find a sport that could refine full contact competition, it is believed that the development of Kick boxing was borne out of the World Kick boxing Association finding common ground between Eastern and Western fighting cultures.

It is also believed that Joe Cawley, Don and Judy Quinn, along with Howard Hansen, a Shorin ryn Karate black belt, were the initial promoters of Kick boxing and worked together for improved recognition. Hansen took Kick boxing a stage further by introducing fights in a boxing ring rather than the usual Karate tournament bouts. He became known as a ring matchmaker, staging a variety of successful events with stars such as Bill “Superfoot" Wallis.

New rules evolved and were introduced into Kick boxing, most notably weight divisions – from fly weight to heavy weight – similar to those in traditional boxing. A down side to the discipline in those early days was criticism of a high risk injury. This led to improvement in the safety rules, such as contestants wearing protective clothing to cushion the impacts of the blows.

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