Count Dante, Ray Scarica and Maung Gyi held the United States' earliest cross-style full-contact style martial arts tournaments as early as 1962. Between 1970 and 1973 a handful of kickboxing promotions were staged across the USA. In the early days the rules were never clear, one of the first tournaments had no weight divisions and all the competitors fought off until one was left. During this early time, kickboxing and full contact karate are essentially the same sport.
The institutional separation of full contact karate from American kickboxing occurs with the formation of the Professional Karate Association (PKA) in 1974 and of the World Kickboxing Association (WKA) in 1976. The impetus of the WKA on world martial arts as a whole was revolutionary. They were the first organised body of martial arts on a global scale to sanction fights, create ranking systems, and institute a development programme.
The International Kickboxing Federation (IKF) was founded in 1992. It is the most active kickboxing sanctioning body in North America and one of the top 3 worldwide organizations. The IKF also hosts the Largest All Amateur - Full Contact & Muay Thai - Kickboxing Tournament in the World, the IKF World Classic.
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