World Kickboxing Association

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World Kickboxing and Karate Association
World Kickboxing Association (WKA) logo.jpg
One of WKA logotype
FormationOctober 1976
HeadquartersAuckland, New Zealand
Region served
National associations
Official language
David Sawyer
WebsiteWKA official website
RemarksWKA was split from Professional Karate Association (PKA) in 1976.

The World Kickboxing Association (WKA) is one of the oldest and the largest amateur and professional sanctioning organizations of kickboxing in the world for the sport. Its official name is "World Kickboxing and Karate Association, however the logo uses World Karate and Kickboxing Association[1]".


WKA was created in the United States as the World Karate Association in 1976 by Howard Hanson, a Shorin-Ryu Karate black belt, and Arnold Urquidez. The organisation was the first non-profit governing body to use an independently controlled rating list, the first to establish a world championship division for women and the first to include countries from Asia.[2] The organisation became one of the major sanctioning bodies for professional karate. Early stars of the WKA included Benny "The Jet" Urquidez, Don "The Dragon" Wilson, Kevin Rosier and Graciela Casillas. The organization went on to secure network broadcasts in the US and Japan.[2] Howard Hanson sold the WKA to Dale Floyd in 1991.[3]

WKA developed the field of low kicks thanks to strong Asian and Japanese connections. WKA is based in Auckland, New Zealand has prospered throughout Europe, Asia, Oceania, Africa, and in North America. In 1994, Paul Ingram took over the organization. It was later led by the multiple world champion Klaus Nonnemacher and had its headquarters in Karlsruhe, Germany.[4] Toni Dietl was the World Vice President and responsible for Karate.

2012 Split[edit]

In 2012 there was a split in the WKA, and many athletes and trainers, among them also all national coaches and world champions such as Christine Theiss, Roland Conar, Ramin Abtin and Mladen Steko followed Klaus Nonnemacher to the newly founded World Kickboxing and Karate Union (WKUWORLD), whereby the WKA still exists as a splinter association, but has lost much of its former importance. Sponsors such as KWON, which formerly supported the WKA,[5] also moved to the WKUWORLD.[6]

From 29 September 2012 WKA had new management: Michele Panfietti World President and Cristiano Radicchi General Secretary. From December 2016, the management was passed back to Mr Paul Ingram, and the WKA headquarters was transferred back to Birmingham, England.[7]

December 2018, David Sawyer based out of New Zealand took over the management of the WKA, he is the current World President.

The organisation became one of the major sanctioning bodies for professional karate.


The World Kickboxing Association sanctions fights and its title bouts, fought under the WKA Rule Set.[8]

Professional ruleset[edit]

Under the professional ruleset[9] it sanctions boxing, full contact karate and kickboxing, low kick, K-1 and Glory kickboxing, as well as Thai boxing and Muay Thai.

Using substances banned by one of the appropriate organizations isn't allowed, WKA supervisors, promoters and the official medic can perform tests on the competitors. Failing a test, or failing to provide a sample can result in a two year ban. Tests are performed by a qualified person of the same sex.

Competitions are held inside of a ring not smaller than 20 square feet or larger than 24 square feet, with four ropes surrounding it. Referees judging the bouts must be certified by WKA.

Full contact karate fights consist of two twelve minute rounds for men, and two ten minute rounds for women. European and national title bouts consist of two ten minute rounds for men, and two eight minute rounds for women. All other regional and state fights consist of two eight minute rounds for men and two six minute rounds for women. For boxing and all forms of kickboxing and karate, rounds consist of three three minute rounds for Class B athletes or five three minute rounds for Class A athletes , depending on the experience of the competitors. Class B athletes are those with seven amateur wins. They are promoted to Class A after achieving eight Class B wins. There is always a minute of rest between rounds. Rounds are scored based on eight counts, effective striking, ring control and style specific techniques.

All competitors wear competition appropriate attire, with compulsory groin protectors for men and breast protectors for women, with both additionally having to use a mouth guard. Full contact karate athletes wear foot protectors, with the exception of title bouts, should the champion demand otherwise. 10 oz gloves are used in all divisions, unless fighters up to and including middleweight agree to use 8 oz gloves.

Bouts in which one of the fighters has missed weight are permitted, provided the weight differential doesn't exceed 3.5% of the weight division allowance or 3.5 kg, whichever is less.

Aside from this, WKA also certifies Karate and kickboxing colored belts and black belts, ranging from 1st to 9th Dan for kickboxing or 1st to 10th for Karate.[10][11][12][13]

Weight classes[edit]

Weight class name Upper limit Gender
Atomweight 46 kg (101.4 lb) Female
Super Atomweight 48 kg (105.8 lb) Female
Flyweight 50.5 kg (111.3 lb) Female
Bantamweight 54 kg (119.0 lb) Male / Female
Featherweight 57 kg (125.7 lb) Male / Female
Lightweight 60 kg (132.3 lb) Male / Female
Super Lightweight 63.5 kg (140.0 lb) Male / Female
Welterweight 67 kg (147.7 lb) Male / Female
Super Welterweight 70 kg (154.3 lb) Male / Female
Middleweight 72.5 kg (159.8 lb) Male / Female
Super Middleweight 76 kg (167.6 lb) Male / Female
Light Heavyweight 79 kg (174.2 lb) Male
Cruiserweight 83.5 kg (184.1 lb) Male
Super Cruiserweight 90 kg (198.4 lb) Male
Heavyweight 95 kg (209.4 lb) Male
Super Heavyweight Unlimited Male

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Chapter I of WKA Official Rulebook 2011 (Amateur) says "WKA stands for the World Kickboxing and Karate Association with its seat in Germany."" (PDF).
  2. ^ a b Corcoran, John and Farkas, Emil. Martial Arts: Traditions, History, People. Gallery Books, New York (1983) p. 60.
  3. ^ "History of Kickboxing".
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 13 February 2011. Retrieved 12 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 13 February 2011. Retrieved 12 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ Petrushyn, Alexander (9 June 2021). "Partners/Sponsors - WKUWORLD". Retrieved 2021-10-13.
  7. ^ "WKA International Team". Retrieved 22 September 2020.
  8. ^ "Title Belt Sanctioning". Retrieved 22 September 2020.
  9. ^ "World Kickboxing AssociationWorld Karate Association" (PDF). Retrieved 22 September 2020.
  10. ^ "Dan Grading". Retrieved 22 September 2020.
  11. ^ "WKA Kickboxing Black Belts". Retrieved 22 September 2020.
  12. ^ "WKA Karate Black Belts". Retrieved 22 September 2020.
  13. ^ "Certificates and Black Belts". Retrieved 22 September 2020.

Further reading[edit]

  • Delmas Alain, Callière Jean-Roger, Histoire du Kick-boxing, FKBDA, France, 1998
  • Delmas Alain, Définition du Kick-boxing, FKBDA, France, 1999

External links[edit]