Kickboxing History

History Of Kickboxing

Kickboxing is a stand up combat sport based on kicking and punching, historically developed from Karate, Muay Thai and Western boxing.

The term kickboxing itself was introduced in the 1960s by Japanese boxing promoter Osamu Noguchi for a hybrid martial art combining Muay Thai and Karate, which he had introduced in 1958. The term was later also adopted by the American variant. This was further explored during the early 1960s, when competitions between karate and muay thai began, which allowed for rule modifications to take place. By the middle of the decade the first true kickboxing events were being held in Osaka.

1959 December 20, a Muay Thai event among Thai fighters was held at Tokyo Asakusa town hall in Japan. Tatsuo Yamada, who established “Nihon Kempo Karate-do”, was interested in Muay Thai because he wanted to perform karate matches with full-contact rules. He had already announced his plan which was named “The draft principles of project of establishment of a new sport and its industrialization” in November 1959, and he proposed the tentative name of “karate-boxing” for this new sport. It is still unknown whether Thai fighters were invited by Yamada, but it is clear that Yamada was the only karateka who was really interested in Muay Thai. Yamada invited a Thai fighter who was the champion of Muay Thai (and formerly his son Kan Yamada’s sparring partner) and started studying Muay Thai.

Lumpinee StadiumThere were “Karate vs. Muay Thai fights” February 12, 1963. The three karate fighters from Oyama dojo (kyokushin later) went to the Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Thailand, and fought against three Muay Thai fighters. The three kyokushin karate fighters’ names are Tadashi Nakamura, Kenji Kurosaki and Akio Fujihira (also known as Noboru Osawa). Japan won by 2–1: Tadashi Nakamura and Akio Fujihira both knocked out their opponents by punch, while Kenji Kurosaki was knocked out by elbow.

It should be noted that the only Japanese loser Kenji Kurosaki was then a kyokushin instructor rather than a contender and temporarily designated as a substitute for the absent chosen fighter.

Noguchi studied Muay thai and developed a combined martial art which Noguchi named kick boxing, which absorbed and adopted more rules than techniques from Muay Thai. The main techniques of kickboxing is still derived from Japanese full contact karate (kyokushinkai). However, throwing and butting were allowed in the beginning to distinguish it from Muay Thai style. This was later repealed. The Kickboxing Association, the first kickboxing sanctioning body, was founded by Osamu Noguchi in 1966 soon after that. Then the first kickboxing event was held in Osaka on April 11, 1966.

Kickboxing boomed and became popular in Japan as it began to be broadcast on TV. By 1970, kickboxing was telecast in Japan on three different channels three times weekly. By 1980, due to poor ratings and then infrequent television coverage, the golden-age of kickboxing in Japan was suddenly finished.

By the 1970s and 1980s the sport had expanded beyond Japan and had reached North America and Europe. It was during this time that many of the most prominent governing bodies were formed. Kickboxing had not been seen again on TV in Japan until K-1 was founded in 1993 by Kazuyoshi Ishii (founder of Seidokaikan karate). K-1 used modified kickboxing/tai boxing rules with no elbows and neck wrestling.

Since the 1990s the sport has been mostly dominated by the Japanese K-1 promotion, with some competition coming from other promotions and mostly pre-existing governing bodies.

Along with the growing popularity in competition, there has been an increased amount of participation and exposure in the mass media, fitness, and self-defense.

Karate Jutsu Kai introduced Kick Boxing into the system over 15 years ago and registered with the WKA (World Kickboxing Association).

The alternative training regime offered by Kickboxing has been a welcome supplement to Karate Jutsu, it has helped progress the students fighting ability giving them an alternative form of fitness approach and self defense

Today, Karate Jutsu hosts its tournaments with kickboxing categories giving the students the opportunity to apply their kickboxing skills on the mat and under tournament conditions.

© Copyright of the International Karate Jutsu Kai Association

Karate Jutsu Kai is a member of the only national governing body for Martial Arts. All instructors hold a valid Enhanced DBS Certificate. We are a member of the anti-bullying alliance.