Texas legend Allen Steen was instrumental in transforming American tournament karate to point fighting and kickboxing. Many of his students had immense impact on American and European martial arts competition.

1973 UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIPS: After the preliminary smoke had cleared, 12 contestants had earned their way to a semi-final berth and an eventual chance to meet Los Angeles’ Bob Dunek, defending Grand Champion. “Fast Billy” Wallace Regains Title, Oregon’s Dan Anderson Makes Big Waves

Great kicking, like great fighting, is not a matter of your battlefield track record, it’s a matter of what is in your heart. When we see a fast kicker kick, our response is: “Wow!” Immediately upon witnessing a power kicker we exclaim, “Whoa!” But upon seeing awesome kicking, the reaction is usually “Whoa” followed by “Wow.” When you hear this last reaction, then you know you are witnessing great kicking.

A few years back I asked my friend John Corcoran to research and write an article about the early history of Sport Karate in America. An article describing how Americans adopted traditional Asian martial arts like Karate, Tae Kwon Do or Hap Ki Do and turned them in to a competitive fighting sport, first known as: Sport Karate. This later became known as Fullcontact fighting and kickboxing as we know it today. John, who is one of the best martial arts editors and historians I know, wrote an outstanding piece of paper about this and I am happy to have found the original English language copy to post below. This is the first of 2 parts.

Master Joe Lewis
Joe Lewis, USA

Sad news: Joe Lewis passed on August 31st, 2012 after suffering from cancer. May he rest in peace. We keep you in our hearts, Joe!

It was in 2000 when I first had the opportunity to meet up with Joe Lewis, the person who became known as the first American Sport Karate Champion, first professional heavyweight World Champion and as a teacher. He is one of the most advanced instructors for self defense and combat principles that are developed to be scaled up for different demands and not just one occasion. Joe Lewis has been a mentor and idol for many martial artists. Some have had the chance to study with him over many years and call him their master while others have just met him on one or two occasions. Yet, both sort of encounters with Joe Lewis have spurred positive developments for martial artists from all over the world.