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American Kickboxing (also known as Full-Contact Rules Kickboxing, Full-Contact Karate, or simply “Full-Contact”) is a combat sport and a style of Kickboxing in which two opponents of similar weight fight each other using full contact strikes with their fists and feet to attack the opponent, while keeping similar rules of Western Boxing. Full-Contact Kickboxing competitions are generally distinguished because of the dress of the fighters, mandatory wearing long pants and foot-pads (unlike other kickboxing styles where fighters wear shorts and fight bare-footed).
Although the term “Full-Contact Karate” has been used to refer this sport, it should not be confused with the generic term Full contact Karate, which refers to any traditional karate school with the use of full contact sparring, like Kyokushinkai.
The American Kickboxing sport was invented by American martial artists in 1970, as a result of combining Boxing punches and tactics, with the kicks of Karate. The primary intention was to create a new sport where karate practitioners in the US could fight with full contact and with rounds like in boxing, since they weren’t allowed to hit each other in traditional Karate tournaments. The first event of American Kickboxing was held on January 17 of 1970, fighting Joe Lewis vs. Greg Baines.
These are the rules used in American Kickboxing:
This is in contrast to Muay Thai where the use of elbows and knees are allowed. Fighters and promoters can agree to various rules including kicks only above the waist, kicks anywhere, no knee strikes, knees only to the body, and so on. The round durations and the number of rounds can vary depending on the stipulations agreed to beforehand by each fighter or manager. A winner is declared during the bout if there is a submission (fighter quits or fighter’s corner throws in the towel), knockout (KO), or referee stoppage (Technical Knock Out, or TKO). If all of the rounds expire with no knockout then the fight is scored by a team of 3 judges. The judges determine a winner based on their scoring of each round. A split decision indicates a disagreement between the judges, while a unanimous decision indicates that all judges saw the fight the same way and all have declared the same winner.