> USA karate story : Chuck Norris - Joe Lewis - Bill Wallace: Full-Contact development in Europe

vendredi 4 avril 2008

Full-Contact development in Europe

Main dates of full-contact in Europe.
September 21st 1975.

At the Deutschlandarena, in Berlin, a tournament is organized by Bruckner and Mike Anderson, the latter was in charge of the production of the event.

300 fighters arrive from all Europe and fight with protections, in light-contact, according to the newspaper "Karate Illustrated" from March 1976. We know two results, according to Mike Anderson. Thank you to him for the information.

Who knows this fighters, from the 1975 Berlin Tournament ?

Rainer Budich, Germany and Budimir Vejnovich, a man from Serbia living in Germany, won in their respective weights categories. It's possible that Jan Kunst et Ron Kuyt, from Netherlands, also win ? In his book "Ontleende Kracht", Tom Harinck mentions this victory, with mention about this semi-contact karate style. Ron Kuyt (Chakuriki) fights in Gelsenkirchen in 1976 (third place) and during the first WAKO European World Championships in 1978 (1st place), and also in the first Kick-Boxing European Championships in Amsterdam (1st place). In 1980, Jan Kunst fights Andre Brilleman in kick-boxing, and loses before the limit ?

Vejnovich has already won the first professional karate tournament, in 1974, in Berlin in light heavyweights, and fought Joe Lewis thereafter. In Los Angeles, also in 1974, during the first World Championships, he lost against Jeff Smith, still in light heavyweights.

Dominica Valera came to study this new form of fighting. He said that it was no more Karate. Bill Wallace, is holding a session of sparring with Valera. After 10 minutes, the French acknowledged that he had no chance against the American.

The Feb 1976 German Karate newspaper, translation of the French newspaper, does not mention this fight between Valera and Wallace. The newspaper mentions only that Bill Wallace did an exhibition against two of the winners of the amateur categories and gives no results of the tournament.

Special message :

If you have any kind of information about this tournament, please send me photos, results, articles. Thank you in advance.

During the evening, takes place a fight in 8 rounds, between Ramiro Guzman/Mexico and Gordon Franks/USA, for the PKA lightweights World Championships.

Ramiro Guzman vs Gordon Franks
Guzman (left) against Franks.

Ramiro Guzman (born in 1954) practiced first Taekwondo, while living in America. In Houston/Texas, he won the first place in kata, during the 1971 Kim Soo Us Taekwondo Karate Championships. The same year, Ramiro Guzman is at the First Annual Black Belt Grand Championships. Guzman, 16 years old, loses against Joe Hayes on points 2-0. He went to the first World Championships in Korea, in 1973, where he won the bronze medal, with Isaias Duenas, in the teams Championships. Always in the Taekwondo World Championships, in 1975, he won the silver medal in bantamweights. In 1974, he is registered as a student at the Mexico University.

Gordon Franks, (born in 1955) only 18 years old, took part in the US Championships team, in 1973, in which he made a draw against James Buttin, 50 pounds heavier. Franks battled for the Washington/DC team.
In 1973, Franks loses against David Richer at the Tae Kyun Championships lightweight black belt Finals.

In 1974, at the Top Ten Nationals, Gordon Franks beats Cecil Peoples, Mike Warren and Howard Jackson.

In Berlin, Gordon Franks beats Ramiro Guzman on points, in 9 rounds. He is the first black American to win a title. The battle was contested on a platform, without ropes. The images are available on You Tube: http://fr.youtube.com/watch?v=XIcwANJ6Sh8.

Where are they now ?

Thereafter, Gordon Franks defends his title against Tony Lopez, USA, in 12 rounds in Atlanta, on 11.30.1978. Previously, Gordon Franks has only disputed a 3 and a 5 rounds non-title bouts. He loses a fight against Paul Vizzio and wins on points in 7 rounds a non-title fight against Tommy Williams, in 1979. He wins a fight on points against Larry Sanders, in 1980, after a visit to the canvas. In august 1980, Gordon Franks loses his title against Cliff Thomas, by tko in the 3rd round. Video at this address : http://fr.youtube.com/watch?v=B3s3RTp2qVs. His record could be 18-1.

Ramiro Guzman defends his title in 1976 against Kwan Suk, by ko in the 7th round. In 1979, he wins the bronze medal in the flyweights, in the Taekwondo World Championships.

May 2nd 1976.

Source for this paragraph is the official newspaper of French Karate June 1976.

At Gelsenkirchen, Germany, a full-contact tournament is organized, without a ring. 60 to 70 participants are divided into 7 weight categories. The fights took place in 2 rounds of 3 minutes.

In the category 63-69 kg, Paschy Roger, a former member of the French traditional Karate team, wins his weight category. He beats first the Dutch Kick-Boxing fighter Jhon de Ruyter, by ko. In the final, he beats Kemal Zeriat, instructor in Germany. The latter had beaten the French Gros at the same tournament.

In the heavyweights, the German Kunibert Back wins his class when he was only 18 years old and has only a brown belt. The German favourite, Thomas Born, was beaten before the final.

The winners earn the right to go to Paris to meet the team in the United States.

It should be noted that the winner of light heavyweights, Leicester, born in the USA, will be replaced by Koschnick/Germany, for Paris. Similarly, the winner of the super-fly, Arthur Amos, will be replaced by Lair/Germany (Korea).

Some have called this tournament the first full-contact European Championships, but the site of the WAKO does not list it.

During the evening, Dominique Valera performs a exhibition against the French Guy Mialot .

Two fights in Geselkirchen
Cosantino (up and right)

Results :
-57 kg :
1. Arthur Amos , 2. Lair (Lan Ung Kim ?), 3. Ihrig
- 63 kg :
1. Joseph Cosantino, 2. Tuhirima, 3. Anslinger
- 69 kg :
1. Roger Paschy, 2. Kemal Zeriat, 3. Kuyj (Ron Kuyt), 3. Zucarelli
- 75 kg :
1. Dieter Herdel, 2. Grossmann, 3. Reinertsen
- 82.5 kg :
1. Leicester, 2. Koschnick (Koschick, Koschik ?), 3. Sabljic
- 90.5 kg :
1. Kunibert Back, 2. Perless, 3. V.D. Velden
+ 91 kg :
1. Castelain, 2. Krug

May 25th 1976.

Source for this paragraph is the official newspaper of French Karate July 1976.

Palais des Sports in Paris. The French singer Johnny Hallyday promotes this fights and appears on television. The composition of the teams is surprising. The USA's team is composed of 2 Mexicans (Ramiro Guzman and Isaias Duenas), 3 Americans (Gordon Franks, Jeff Smith and Bill Wallace) and a Frenchman, (Dominica Valera).

The European team is composed of people from Germany, Lan Ung Kim , practicing Taekwondo, Giuseppe Cosantino, Arno Koschnick, Jörg Schmidt, Dieter Herdel and Kunibert Back. Only Jörg Schmidt is mentioned as a fighter of the Bruckner Institute. Roger Paschy, who won his selection, waived two days before the fight. He should have met Duenas.

Fights :

Fighters are wearing gloves and foot protections, and a protective helmet. For the headgear, it was decided shortly before the games. Dominica Valera and Kunibert Back refuse to fight with the helmet. The battles take place in 3 rounds, on a platform, without ropes.

Ramiro Guzman beats on points Lan Ung Kim, sometimes referred as Lair. The latter clings throughout the fight. Guzman makes him fall to the ground with many O-Soto-Gari, coming more from judo than from full-contact.

Gordon Franks vs Giuseppe CosantinoGuzman against Kim

Gordon Franks beats Giuseppe Cosantino, on points. Video : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3HiemyMxsY

Jörg Schmidt fights against Isaias Duenas, and leads until the 3rd round. The German has his nose broken and the match is stopped. Victory for Duenas. Video : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UP2pkpseSvo

Bill Wallace beats by ko Dieter Herdel, in less than 20 seconds, with a side kick. Video : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3d4iCH3b0Us

Jeff Smith beats on points Arno Koschnik, who felt to the ground 6 times.

Jeff Smith vs Koschnick
Jeff Smith vs. Koschnick

Valera, who trains since 7 months in the USA, beats Kunibert Back by KO in the first round. According to some versions, he hits the German when the referee ordered a break : http://fr.youtube.com/watch?v=9Y3rWkAYegc.

According to the newspapers of this time, the audience would have been a little frustrated by the show, too much uneven.

Where are they now ?

Kunibert Back becomes ITF Taekwondo European Champion, in 1977 or 1978 and is the second in the WAKO European full-contact Championships, in 1977. The same year, Jörg Schmidt is the third in his category. In 1978, during the Championships between Bill Wallace and Daryl Tyler, Kunibert Back is intended to fight the Italian Full-Contact Champion, Colantuoni Sandro. We don't know the result of this fight.

Dieter Herdel beats Hans Von der Meer, Netherlands, during the 1978 World Championship between Bill Wallace and Daryl Tyler, in Monaco. Dieter Herdel is second in the WAKO European Championships in 1978, second in the World Championships in 1979 and second in the European Championships in 1980.

Lan Ung Kim is now 8th dan in Taekwondo and teaches in Germany.

Formation :

Sources for this paragraph is the French Newspaper Karate, August 1976.

Before the fights, many courses were led by the American fighters. Participants were mostly Europeans.

The physical condition necessary for the practice of Full-Contact has been highlighted by Jeff Smith. Bill Wallace has explained his "Superfoot" and Joe Lewis the "secrets" of his success.

Conclusions :

Germany has played a central role in the development of full-contact in Europe. German fighters won several medals at the first official WAKO European Championships.

In Europe, it was not until 1978 that the center of gravity moves in France, with Dominique Valera, cited in another article.

The Europeans, who meet the USA, both in 1974 and 1976, were most journeymen as serious contenders.

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