Long reigning as president of global kickboxing organization WAKO, Italian academic Ennio Falsoni presents his view of kickboxing history. Find out what drove him away from karate kata and into contact sports.
People who have observed Ennio Falsoni know he is blessed and talented with a special gene for leadership. Folks surround him and want to follow his direction. Most of them don’t ask questions and those who did were bullied away. As president of the WAKO he has led the global course of amateur kickboxing since 1987 and for over 28 years.
Unfortunately, Falsoni suffers from illness at this time that makes it impossible for him to carry on. He retired from his post of WAKO world president in 2015.
His work as a pioneer of modern kickboxing, president of WAKO and WKF as well as his efforts as a publisher and event manager make him one of the dominant players in martial arts business during most recent history. There is no need to discover the role he played as he offers insights in his own book: The phenomenology of Kickboxing. Let’s look at his book and see what it offers.
Ennio Falsoni’s book is a rather upscale print production with high grade paper and expensive finishing, full color. The cover bears the WAKO logo and Ennio Falsoni’s name. It’s a bit confusing as some people may expect that work to be a factbook about WAKO and its history. It is not. Its contents can be best described as an autobiography of Ennio Falsoni by the way of narration to a secretary or friend who was kind enough to lend him a hand.
Do you remember being a kid and listening to your grandfather’s stories? Each and every time the story is narrated grandfather would tell it a little bit different, add or omit things? Action and outcome would change randomly with each repetition. That’s how Falsoni’s book comes along. It’s a personal account of events from his own viewpoint, describing his personal motivations while offering his opinions, insights and reflections of love and contempt for other players in his beloved sport. He smashes old friends as being incompetent. Others who have devoted their lives to grow WAKO and the sport are not even mentioned. Readers will be unsuccessful spotting photos of outstanding WAKO champions like Ferdinand Mack, Steve Anderson or Alfie Lewis in this book. But there are plenty of images depicting Falsoni together with people who have never played any part inside the organization.
Inside the book we are learning about him as a person. Everything is centered around himself, only. He talks about himself and it seems he was the driving force in creating WAKO and modern kickboxing. Later he admits to it in a marignal statement. Many historic facts are grossly misrepresented, some are outright wrong. There are so many fundamentally flawed and incorrect expressions in his book.
Without doubt, Ennio Falsoni’s book “The phenomenology of Kickboxing” is hard to come by. Yet, collectors and long time companions of WAKO kickboxing may find it a treasure of memories despite facts being misrepresented.