July 27, 2009

The ins and outs

Written by Full Contact Sub editor Mr Cris Janson-Piers

What an impact the introduction of this system has had on WAKO as a whole. Several years ago Mr Ennio Falsoni decided to introduce “ WAKO K1 Rules ” to the many disciplines which WAKO already featured and it was first seen in its full glory at one of the International competitions. It created a massive interest from day 1. It had its own set of rules which again made it its own brand and it followed the WAKO type scoring format, where each round is scored with the same importance and where clean, none blocked or re directed punches kicks and knees prevail. There is no catching of the leg or throwing and the rules were changed shortly after inception to include two handed working 5 second clinches when it was identified that the one handed clinch was neither effective nor suitable as the only and main holding technique.

The safety wear issue, as always with WAKO is developed to suit the hundreds of countries within the organisation. With such countries as near to us as Norway who have certain laws, which extend into the fighting sports. All sportspersons in Norway will wear head protection and will only spar for so many rounds in each match and for so many hours per year whilst in their own country. So again there is certain attire for amateur WAKO K1 Rules and again for the WAKO professional K1 Rules. The full rules can easily be downloaded from the WAKO International website at
The professionals will wear only Anklets or no protection on the shin and instep where the amateurs WILL wear shin protection with optional instep protection. There is compulsory headguards for Amateurs and this is also extended to the WAKO International competition fight format.

WAKO K1 Rules was not developed to copy or emulate any other system, it was purely a way Mr Falsoni could offer the fighting athletes further variation. When it was introduced to Great Britain it became the talk of the forums for months. Some people were enthused whilst some groups or clicks tried to pull it down and what it stood for. Then there were the people who just didn’t want it to work on a political basis. However if one just takes a look on the forums or indeed in this or other publications today it has become very apparent that not only now does K1 rules appear on most shows but they are very popular now throughout our country with all organisations. Some of the very people and groups who said it wouldn’t work and even documented this clearly are now using the system, or again simply using this format and renaming it……Why?

It is quiet simple to see that WAKO have now not only increased its membership due to the introduction of this system but they are now working with more people from other groups and disciplines. The Low Kick kickboxers see it as an extension of their sport, some of Thai camps are now involved, these being the ones who are willing to make the adjustment in rules to be able to compete and then there are the brand new fighters and students who just see this format as an excellent all round style. Another format and more people involved makes the promoters job easier and of course increases attendance which gives a greater cash return for what can be quiet an expensive affair It has taken the eye of many and brings together so many fighting arts and that includes the traditionalists also. MMA is another sport which has grown in popularity and again includes all the older styles such as Karate, Ju Jitsu and the sporting format of Kick Jutsu. Although the other disciplines will always remain strong there is no way of hiding these formats have given the fighting arts in general a massive boost in the popularity poles and now even generated TV and massive media coverage. Along with this it is now attracting major sponsors, which in itself continues to promote the sport even further.

Just one look at the WAKO web sites will show that already they have developed a ranking system and have already had title fights which have produced quality World Champions. This, again showing that WAKO have given back to the athlete and provided yet another sporting platform for people to aspire to. By further dividing the disciplines into Cadets, Juniors and Adults, WAKO are making sure the sport is as safe as it can be. “ Low Kick Light ” has now also been developed which again is designed to feed people into the sport. Light continuous fighters can make an easy transition to the full contact sports such as above waist kickboxing and now Low Kick Light exponents will be able to taste the differences in Low Kick kickboxing or parts of the WAKO K1 rules format without stepping into deep water immediately, another area WAKO should receive great credit for. In building this massive infra structure it has required that all the top WAKO Technical Executives and Directors have had to gather together to implement and document a recognised set of rules for the new systems. This has now been tried and tested and WAKO are pleased to announce that the development of WAKO K1 Rules has been a massive success.

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