Caorle, Italy — Led by IAKSA-USA President and head coach, Calvin Thomas of Orlando, Florida, the American team harvested 14 individual medals at the 2002 IAKSA World Kickboxing (Karate) Championships. This placed the U.S. Team 4th in the team standings behind Austria, Russia and Turkey. Although the American team reaped the majority of medals in point competition, their fourth place finish was the result of having only two fighters in continuous competition and none in full contact kickboxing. Dawn Roffey, a former WAKO, WKA and IAKSA World Champion, added still another real world title to her resume; this, at age 42 with a broken foot. She defeated Ermine Aksoy of Turkey 15-0 in the finals, after dominating previous opponents on the way to the finals, 11-1, 10-0 AND 12-2. Altogether, Dawn has won a total of 8 international individual women’s world titles in sparring, making her the most successful female competitor in sport karate history. IAKSA (not ISKA), which stands for International Amateur Sport Kickboxing Association, is an organization that was created when some of WAKO’s disgruntled member countries broke away and formed an organization of their own. Led by Germany’s Geert Lemmens, IAKSA became the first point karate and kickboxing organization in the world to get official recognition from a country’s Olympic-recognized sports’ governing body, Austria. About 60 countries are currently represented in IAKSA, compared to about 100 in WAKO. It’s hard for Americans to understand the importance of government recognition, as the United States is the only country on the planet whose government has nothing to do with sports. That’s the problem with amateur sports in the USA. Other countries’ governments pay for their athletes to train and pay for their trips and equipment, as well as get the sports government subsidized venues and television. In the USA, Americans must either find private sponsors or pay their own way to events. Also, government recognized point karate/kickboxing organizations, like IAKSA and WAKO, are not owned and controlled by an individual. They are democratically controlled by the member countries. In the United States, although many organizations have international-sounding names, the truth is that they are, for the most part, owned and controlled by only one person. That’s why there are so many different organizations … alphabet soup.
The IASKA-USA Team, which was also coached by prominent ex-karate champions: Mike Smith of Florida, Jesse Thornton of Georgia and Will Eaves of Alabama, won a total of 13 medals in point karate and one in continuous sparring. The American women really kicked butt, as three of the four Gold Medals won by the team were won by the women. Following is a list of USA-Team members, their medals, and their hometowns:
Each year, the IAKSA World Championships is held in a different country IAKSA-USA hopes to host the World Championships in Orlando in 2004. Team trials for 2003 World Championships in Russia are Sunday March 2, 2003 in Orlando, following the Orlando Challenge on Saturday. For more info on joining or sponsoring IAKSA-USA and their program, call (407) 299-8871 or contact email@example.com.