In a further attempt to people up to speed on K-1, I will be writing about the history of K-1. Many MMA fans are slowly becoming fans of kickboxing and the best way to show what makes K-1 so great is to start at the beginning. So please, enjoy this series, it will run for quite some time. And don't forget to check out Classic K-1 fights for a breakdown of great fights of past in JMMA and Kickboxing.
K-1 was founded by a man named Kazuyoshi Ishii in 1993, but the idea for the event was created eleven years earlier. Kazuyoshi Ishii was a Kyokushin Karate practitioner, a style of Karate that allows kicks to the head but outlaws hand strikes to head. In 1980, he left the Kyokushin school to form his own style of Karate called Seidokaikan, a full contact form of Karate that allowed practitioners to grab onto their opponents.
In 1983, he created a Knockdown Karate organization called All-Japan Budo Association. The first event took place at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium in Kansai, where SeidoKaikan fighters took on Kung Fu fighters. It was a televised event. These events ran for the next nine years in Japan and led to boxing glove competition. The most notable SeidoKaikan practitioner was Masaaki Satake, a student of Ishii's who would draw with arguably the greatest kickboxer of all time, Rob Kaman, at Rings Event "Ishizue" in Tokyo in 1992.
The first official K-1 event was held in 1993, known as K-1 Sanctuary 1, at the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan. The event featured eight fights under a mixture of rules from Karate, K-1, and Sogo Kakutougi. The event would draw 2,100 people and featured such names as Adam Watt and Stan Longinidis, as well as the previously aforementioned Satake. The success of Sanctuary 1 encouraged Ishii to book his first Grand Prix event the following month.
The first K-1 Grand Prix in 1993 was a special moment for combat sports. While Karate had been gradually evolving to a more aggressive style with the creation of SeidoKaikan, it was K-1 that truly captivated audiences. The 10,000 people who attended the first Grand Prix were treated to a fantastic event featuring Ernesto Hoost, Peter Aerts, Maurice Smith, and Branko Cikatic. The event is a classic event by today's standards with Aerts and Hoost meeting for the first time in their K-1 careers in the opening round of the tournament. Cikatic would meet Hoost in the finals and would defeat him by knockout in the first round of the fight. Below you can view the final fight between Hoost and Cikatic in its entirety. The fight ends as unexpectedly as it did brutally.
K-1 would also promote a Karate event in its first year with K-1 Illusion 1993 Karate World Cup, which was held under Kyokushin Rules. The field would include Andy Hug, Satake, UFC verterans Patrick Smith and Gerard Gordeau, and Changpuek Kiatsongrit, a Muay Thai kickboxer. The finals saw Hug and Satake draw after four overtime rounds, with brick breaking deciding the winner who would be Satake. For those interested, the full fight is below.
The final event that K-1 would hold in its first year was K-2 Grand Prix '93, a tournament focused on the 79kg division (174lbs). The field included Rob Kaman, Ernesto Hoost, Changpuek Kiatsongrit, and Adam Watt. The eight man field was decided based on their accolades in the kickboxing world. The event would also feature Andy Hug taking on Eric Albert and a female fight between Yuriko Okamoto and Lucia Rijker. Hoost would go on to meet Kiatsongrit in the finals and would capture the K-2 Grand Prix title. Below is the full fight broken into three parts.
So there you have it, the first year of K-1. I'll have Part 2 next week. Originally posted at HeadKickLegend. I'll post part 2 here next week but from then on you're gonna have to visit HKL. Also follow me on twitter for all JMMA news and discussion.