It is very difficult to establish the history of the different federations created to manage the full-contact fights, in the U.S. or in Europe, since 1970.
Considering the different versions available about the federations and their creators, it seems illusory to be categorical about their veracity.
Only federations created between 1970 and 1980, in the U.S. or Europe and governing the full-contact karate or kick-boxing, will be discussed.
To avoid any controversy, we will not mention the various versions about the problems between members of these federations, their disputes, widely discussed on the Internet.
With the development of karate fights with ko, mainly Joe Lewis against Greg Baines in 1970, the need to manage this activity becomes quickly apparent. This first battle took place during a traditional karate tournament.
The same year, the bouts between Joe Lewis and Ed Daniels and between Jim Harrison and Victor Moore, organized by Lee Faulkner, may be regarded as the first attempt to manage such events, even if no federation was involved (see article about Joe Lewis).
Thereafter, Aaron Banks has organized numerous Joe Lewis' fight with ko, during his tournament and outside any federation.
PKA 1974 (Professional Karate Association) :
The PKA was created 2 weeks after the 1974 championships in Los Angeles, which is the subject of a separate article in this blog. Mike Anderson is the creator of this federation, and 2 weeks before the date, he received the help of Don and Judy Quine, for organising the evening. Judy and Don Quine were well introduced in the media.
PKA logo, date unknown
Thereafter, several problems have arisen between the Quine and Anderson. The latter sold them his PKA parts, for one dollar, in 1975.
The PKA was the most recognized federation, between 1974 and 1985. Don and Judy Quine, with Joe Corley, have produced many fights, on ESPN TV.
The PKA has other financial problems, and new promoters take control of it.
Main activities :
The 1974 championships, in Los Angeles, with Joe Lewis, Bill Wallace, Jeff Smith and Isaias Duenas as champions, can not be cited as a PKA organization, created 2 weeks after this date.
The 04.23.1977 fights in Las Vegas, with 3 world titles, Ross Scott against Everett Eddy, Bill Wallace against Blinky Rodriguez and Benny Urquidez against Howard Jackson, were organized by the PKA.
1975 WPKO: (World Professional Karate Organization) :
We have already mentioned this organization and his creator, Aaron Banks, in an article devoted to his tournament in New-York, in 1975. We do not know other activities for the WPKO.
1975? NKL (National Karate League) :
We do not have much information about the NKL, which was created by Larry Scott and Valerie Williams, then headed by Chuck Norris. It is possible that the NKL, with bad financial situation, has been taken over by the WKA, in 1976.
Benny Urquidez fought for this federation, before moving to the WKA.
1976 WMAA (World Martial Arts Association) :
In 1976, Mike Anderson founded the WMAA, after leaving the PKA. His aim was to create a federation for amateurs, for the development of this sport. The federation has changed names several times, before becoming the WAKO.
1977 WAKO (World All-Styles Karate Organization) :
In 1977, in Berlin with his friend Georg Brueckner, Anderson has invited karate officials from 12 countries at a meeting. They became the Council of the WMAA and signed an agreement for the promotion of full-contact and semi-contact. Anderson was elected chairman and will remain 10 years in charge.
Thereafter, the name of the WMAA became WAKO, the World All-Styles Karate Organization. Anderson acknowledges the merit of Georg Brueckner for the development of the WAKO.
It should be noted that, depending on the versions, the role of founder of the WMAA or WAKO, is very different. Some European sites speak more about Georg Brueckner as the true founder of the WAKO, accompanied by Mike Anderson, Jan Stocker and Geert Lemmens, among others.
The WAKO PRO will also be created to manage the activities of professional fighters.
Note that the WAKO, many years and separations later, became the World Association of Kick-Boxing Organizations.
WAKO current logo
Main activities :
In 1978, the first WAKO World Championships are held in Berlin/Germany, then the second in Tampa/Florida, in 1979.
1976 WKA (World Kick-Boxing Association) :
Howard Hanson and Arnold Urquidez, brother Benny, have created the WKA in autumn 1976. It handles both fighting full-contact kick-boxing.
Howard Hanson has produced fighting for PKA and Quine, after their separation from Mike Anderson.
WKA current logo
Main activities :
The Benny Urquidez' fights, in Japan and in USA.
Various other organizations during this period :
Jhoon Rhee has created the WBBL, the World Black Belt League and Joe Corley the SEPKC, the South East Professional Karate Commission. We know nothing about these federations.
We can only regret the difficulties encountered by all these federations to manage the full-contact or kick-boxing, since its birth. A single federation would have avoided the plethora of titles and the lack of details about his history.
It is noted that the traditional or professional karate in the U.S. had not previously done differently, like boxing and its multiple federations.
Today, there is still not a single one world federation, for full-contact or kick-boxing.