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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Written by Muay Thai Authority

WKA - Helping build our future

The World Kickboxing Association (WKA) recently held the 2012 WKA North American Combat Sports Championships in Virginia. Grappling and MMA was part of the agenda, but of course what we are interested in was the Muay Thai and Kickboxing which is what the WKA is known for. In addition to regulating professional combat sports in a number of states in the Eastern US, it is with tournaments like the North American Combat Sports Championships that the WKA is helping mold the future of Muay Thai and Kickboxing in North America.

Amateur fighters from Canada, Mexico and the United States compete for top position/ ranking in different divisions and weight classes. Amateur Muay Thai and Kickboxing is fairly regional in North America. If you are on the west coast you mainly fight in California, Las Vegas and Arizona. If you live on the east coast then New York, Florida, New Jersey, Atlanta and Eastern Canada are the places you’ll likely find the chance to compete. Occasionally, top level amateurs are fortunate enough to find promoters willing to fly them from farther locations out because they are going to want their services as a professional. With that said how do you get to be a top amateur? A good showing at the WKA’s helps. With So many fighters from across North America participating, any amateur fighter looking to put his name on the map knows a win at the WKA’s is a huge stepping stone. The WKA’s have become an important part of the amateur Muay Thai and Kickboxing culture in North America.

“The tournament has changed complexion over the last twelve years. It has evolved from just a US Team selection, to being an integral part of the WKA fighter development system. We have created a safe and competitive "farm" system for amateur athletes to grow and develop their fight careers. Some fighters have opportunities throughout the year to fight in our individual promoter's events. Unfortunately, one either needs to be in the area of a promoter or their name built up enough to get an invite” said WKA President Brian Crenshaw. “However, each year we host this tournament, which anyone can attend, whether they are novice or open class fighters. Fighters get a chance to fight in a single elimination tournament and test their skills against competitors from all over North America. They grow from novice to open class fighter from year to year and as an open class winner can move on to the WKA World Championship and gain international fight experience. As a WKA US Team member they get to train with top coaches, travel and get a feel of national pride by being honored to represent the US in international competitions. It’s a pretty unique opportunity for athletes to develop their skills and in turn to be able to bring a higher level of competitor back to the area and regional promoters and promotions.”

The WKA North American tournament not only helps established amateurs legitimize their name, but fighters you are still early on in their amateur career. The fair, yet competitive arena that is provided to fighters is key to the WKA’s success. With the various divisions available for competition, fighters all experience levels can find the right bracket for them to compete in. They can collect ring experience without risking being mismatched by a promoter who does not have their best interest at hand.

“The tournament has had a great track record of providing consistently fair and competitive events. Fighters know that the competition will be intense and that a winner there is a true champion” said Crenshaw. “I think that fighters like knowing that it not just and end all, be all, that there is a system in place and that they can move on to the next step in their development as a fighter.”

Kudos to the WKA for organizing such a huge event as the North American Combat Sports Championships. Helping pave the way for the next generation of Muay Thai and Kickboxing practitioners.

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