What is ISKA?
Since 1986 ISKA has set an unprecedented standard for professionalism and integrity while servings as the worlds' most well recognized sanctioning and regulatory body for combat sports and competitive martial arts. ISKA maintains a continued commitment to training & certifying officials and updating rules and regulations while recognizing both worthy champions and world rated contenders in more than twenty different types of martial arts and combat sports.
From Moscow's Olympic Stadium to Queensland, Victoria, Australia; from Lausanne, Switzerland to Durbin, South Africa; from the legendary Lumpini Stadium in Thailand to the Bellagio resort in Las Vegas, live ISKA events worldwide are very well attended and viewed by television audiences circling the globe.
Whether it's the US OPEN / ISKA World Martial Arts Championships hosted annually in Disney World and aired on ESPN, or STRIKEFORCE MMA seen on CBS and SHOWTIME, ISKA maintains its' involvement in the industries cutting edge. ISKA President, Cory Schafer additionally serves as chief official and rules director for K-1 USA, and as Commissioner for Chuck Norris' World Combat League.
The height that the ISKA has attained continues to reflect its basic commitment to credibility and uncompromising integrity. The sports' future will rely on that commitment in cooperation with the industry's many talented martial arts / combat sports athletes and the ever-growing foundation of dedicated fans around the world.ISKA History
Full contact kickboxing began in the USA in the early 1970s as full contact karate. Some karate competitors wanted to test their techniques without the rigid points fighting system, landing their strikes full contact. The first world championships of full contact karate were held in Los Angles in 1974. The first champions became legends: Joe Lewis, Bill Wallace and Jeff Smith.
YouTube video: Bill Wallace’s full-contact fights
The Professional Karate Association (PKA) was established in 1974 by Don and Judy Quine, along with Joe Corley. They took the burgeoning sport to a wider audience, signing a contract with American TV network ESPN. The PKA developed the first fighters’ ranking system: PKA Champions were the first high profile martial artists, the stars of a new sport. They included Jean-Yves Theriault, Brad Hefton, Jerry Trimble and Steve Sheppard.
YouTube video: Jean-Yves Theriault vs Emilio Naravez PKA 1980
When legal problems caused the downfall of the PKA in 1985 and it ceased to operate as a sanctioning body, a group of major USA promoters and former PKA executives decided to create a new body. On 16 July 1986, the International Sport Karate Association was born. Its first directors were Mike Sawyer, Karyn Turner, Tony Thompson, John Worley and Scott Coker. Most of the major PKA promoters began sanctioning with ISKA and several joined its administration. Major title bouts featuring the sport’s finest athletes were broadcast on the ESPN television network and brought credibility and recognition to the new sanctioning body.
The European arm of ISKA was established on 9 October 1986 when Oliver Muller, Jerome Canabate and Mohamed Hosseini were appointed ISKA European Directors. ISKA spread rapidly across Europe and when the iron curtain was lifted it was the first to sanction events in Eastern Bloc countries. By 1991 ISKA was the largest sanctioning body in the world with representatives in over 60 countries. Major title fights were sanctioned in Australia, Japan and South Africa. New disciplines were sanctioned and ISKA developed rules for freestyle (low kick), oriental rules (modified Thaiboxing) and Muaythai (full Muaythai rules).
YouTube video: Stan Longinidis vs Dennis Alexio: post-fight media coverage
The big names during the 1990s fighting on ISKA events were Rick Roufus, Denis Alexio, Stan ‘The Man’ Longinidis, Rob Kaman, Ernesto Hoost, Dida Diafat and Peter ‘Sugarfoot’ Cunningham. ISKA events were being televised around the world by companies such as ESPN, Showtime, Cannel+, Fox TV, Network 7, Skysports and Eurosport. There is no doubt that ISKA is the most televised sanctioning body in the world.
YouTube video: Rick Roufus vs Ernesto Hoost
Going into the new millennium ISKA worked with major fight sports brand K-1. Two ISKA world titles were sanctioned under oriental rules on the first K-1 MAX event in Tokyo on 1 November 2000. Japanese Star Masato defeated Murhad Sari of France for the welterweight title and Japan’s Takayuko Kohiruimaki defeated England’s Neil Woods for the super-welterweight title. Dutch superstar Ramon Dekker made his K-1 MAX debut, fighting to a draw with Japan’s Akeomi Nitta. ISKA began a working relationship with K-1, with leading ISKA promoter Scott Coker hosting K-1 USA events at the Bellagio and Mirage casino resorts in Las Vegas.
YouTube video: Masato vs Sari Ko
ISKA directors also advised on and have been involved in the development of Chuck Norris’s World Combat League, a team-based hybrid kickboxing league which is enjoying a second season on VERSUS cable TV.
YouTube video: World Combat League presented by Chuck Norris
Strikeforce was the leading promotion for ISKA world championship kickboxing in the USA and the main provider of ISKA programming for ESPN TV network for 12 years. Moving with the times, Strikeforce promoter Scott Coker unveiled the Strikeforce Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) series with the Shamrock versus Gracie event on 10 March 2006, the first sanctioned mixed martial arts fight card in California. The Frank Shamrock versus Cesar Gracie match sold out the HP Pavilion in San Jose attracting a record audience of 18,265. Strikeforce co-produced its first Showtime pay-per-view MMA event featuring a world championship match between Frank Shamrock and Phil Baroni on 22 June 2007. Strikeforce has signed a deal with national American TV network NBC to broadcast a 52-week series of Strikeforce MMA hosted by ESPN veteran commentator Lon McEachern and MMA pioneer Ken Shamrock.
YouTube video: Frank Shamrock vs Cung Le
The current ISKA directors have been involved in the development of martial arts fight sports as promoters, judges, referees, managers, rules makers and more since the beginning of professional karate-kickboxing in the 1970s. In addition to sanctioning, ISKA also functions as a matchmaker, events coordinator and television broker.
The ISKA would like to welcome you as our new member, professional or amateur.
The appeared representatives of the congress after the greeting the president and introducing the associations's aims established ISKA-Europe.
World president: Cory Schafer
Representative for ISKA-DENMARK and
Director for ISKA-SCANDINAVIA Mr Bayram KORKMAZ