American kickboxing was promulgated in Germany from its inception in the 1970s by Georg F. Brückner. Brückner in 1976 was co-founder of the World Association of Kickboxing Organizations. The term "kickboxing" as used in German-speaking Europe is therefore mostly synonymous with American kickboxing. The elbow and knee techniques allowed in Japanese kickboxing by contrast were associated with Muay Thai, and Japanese kickboxing went mostly unnoticed in German-speaking Europe before the launch of K-1 in 1993.
By contrast, in the Netherlands kickboxing was introduced in its Japanese form, by Jan Plas and Thom Harinck who founded NKBB (The Dutch Kickboxing Association) in 1976. Harinck also founded the MTBN (Dutch Muay Thai Association) in 1983, and the WMTA (World Muay Thai Association) and the EMTA (European Muay Thai Association) in 1984. The most prominent kickboxing gyms in Netherlands, Mejiro Gym, Chakuriki Dojo, Vos Gym and Golden Glory, were all derived from or were significantly influenced by Japanese Kickboxing and Kyokushin Karate.
Dutch athletes have been very successful in the K-1 competitions. Out of the 18 K-1 World Grand Prix championship titles issued from 1993 to 2010, 15 went to Dutch participants (Peter Aerts, Ernesto Hoost, Remy Bonjasky, Semmy Schilt, Alistair Overeem). The remaining three titles were won by Branko Cikatić of Croatia in 1993, Andy Hug of Switzerland in 1996, and Mark Hunt of New Zealand in 2001.
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