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WKA USA’s annual tournament and evolution

The World Kickboxing Association is one of the world's oldest and most recognized governing bodies for various forms of kickboxing worldwide.

In 1998, the WKA appointed Edgerton ’’Edge“ Brown, former WKA world-ranked fighter as the WKA US Representative for the Professional Ring Sports Division.  Brown, a former student and fighter in England with Master Toddy, moved to the US and began once again sanctioning kickboxing in the United States.  In 2001, Brown recruited former PKA and WKA fighter, Brian Crenshaw, to set up the first WKA US Amateur National Championships and Team Trials, which included Muay Thai and Kickboxing (Low Kick).  Finalists from the event comprised the first US Team, which traveled to Vienna, Austria (August 21-26th) and competed with eighty-three countries and a total of 2500 competitors, between ring and mat sports.  Team USA, coached by Brian Crenshaw and Mike Moses, captured four gold medals, three silver medals, and three bronze medals.  During these World Championships, at a meeting of the WKA’s country representatives, Brian Crenshaw was appointed WKA US Representative for the Amateur Ring Sports division.  On February 7, 2003, the General Council for the New York State Athletic Commission granted the WKA authorization to sanction martial arts/kickboxing events in the state of New York as prescribed under Section 8905-a of the Unconsolidated Laws of New York.  This was an important breakthrough for the kickboxing community, as such events had been outlawed for several years preceding this ruling.  Also in 2003, Full Contact (kicks above the waist) was added as a division of the US Amateur National tournament.  In 2004, Brown resigned his position to Brian Crenshaw, who became the US representative for both Professional and Amateur Ring Sports.  Also in 2004, the WKA Home Office in the UK allowed WKA USA to “officially” sanction Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) events.  Since 2001, WKA USA has successfully sent US Teams to Austria, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, Canada, Spain, and Germany to compete in the WKA World Championships. The WKA USA has also sanctioned many world titles on home ground in the US, as well as sending US fighter worldwide to vie for various intercontinental and world title matches. WKA USA saw several breakthroughs in 2005, when the US Amateur National Championships introduced two levels of competition to their annual event. Competitors were separated into the novice class and the open class in order to make the tournament more competitive. The novice class includes competitors with three wins or fewer, and the open class includes those with more than three wins.  Second, the sports of MMA (mixed martial arts), Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and No Gi Grappling were added into the tournament.  In 2006, the WKA USA National Championships and Team Trials were expanded into the WKA North American Combat Sports Championships and opened the competition to other countries.  Beginning in 2008, the North Americans began featuring a cage for all mixed martial arts matches and left the ring for the Muay Thai bouts.  The North American Championships consistently feature top amateur fighters from around the world, rivaling its sister competition, the European Championships.


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