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The 1963 Fight That Started Kickboxing - When Karate Lost to Muay Thai


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This 1963 loss by elbows was, one could say The Origin of Kickboxing. The loser of this bout vs the Thai Rawee Dechachai was Kenji Kurosaki, a Japanese fighter who was by several sources said to be a co-inventor of Kyokushin Karate (1953) and who would after this loss go onto invent a Muay Thai + Kyokushin Karate fusion (the story is more complex than this, but this is decent shorthand), apparently informed by a Thai fighter he brought over from Thailand (Narat Siri by one report), opening up Mejiro Gym in Japan (1969). Kurosaki would then teach this new "kickboxing" style to among many other visiting Dutch men, Jan Plas, who would open his own Mejiro Gym, but in Amsterdam (1978), and go onto disseminate the hybrid invented Karate + Muay Thai style. Incredibly, it took only 13 short years after this loss (when in 1976, Plas founded the NKBB Dutch Kickboxing Association) for the invention of "kickboxing" to be formally exported to Holland. This fight is the origin of that series of dominoes.

 

You can also read about the fight that definitively established Muay Thai as superior to Karate, at least in ring fighting, a few months later, setting of it's own hyperbolic Japanese response:

Karate vs Muay Thai in the 1960s – Origins of Japanese Kickboxing << read and watch

Tadashi Sawamura vs Samarn Sor Adisorn

take a look at this 1968 Black Belt magazine article about that bout.

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Muay Thai vs Karate.PNG

Two Avenues of "Redemption" from these Losses

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Tadashi Sawamura

There seemed to be two primary flows of Japanese development from these fights. There was the promoter Noguchai and his favorite fighter (who eventually would have an anime made of his exploits attempting to recover his honor lost to the Thais), and would have a Japanese television fighting career filled with dubious and spectacular knockouts. You can see these very likely staged Kickboxing KOs here:

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Kenji Kurosaki

And there was the Kyokushin Karate + Muay Thai hybrid creation of Kickboxing through Kenji Kurosaki who also lost, appropriating/infusing Thai techniques and training methods, establishing the Mejiro Gym, which then created Dutch Kickboxing through Jan Plas and others. On this line of development you had the star Fujiwara, who actually fought and won the Rajadamnern title IN JAPAN. Yep, they got Rajadamnern to fight for their belt in Japan and not Rajadamnern. He "won" the belt by tackling:

What plagued much of this Japanese success is of course the very strong sense that many of these fights, and the creation of these stars was faked or bought off. Anyone who follows the development of Japanese promotions knows that there is a long history of let's just say questionable outcome generations. The rise of the Japanese elite fighter had strong Nationalistic tones, and it seems pretty sure to bet that much of this was staged or at least manipulated. When the top Japanese Kickboxers came and fought the Top Thais in a World Championship (Dieselnoi and Nongkai were among the Thais, the team was headed by the respected Arjan Yodthong) in I believe 1982 (?) they had their clocks cleaned, and accusations of fight fixing attempts by the Japanese were rampant.

My thoughts on this have been spread in a few places, here is where I've written elsewhere:

The invention of Kickboxing as a sport, by the Japanese, was definitely experienced as "stealing" by many Thais. Techniques may have somehow "existed" in Karate in some theoretical sense, but nobody knew how to actually fight with them, as you can see in this famous 1963 fight between Rawee Dechachai and Kenji Kurosak (an instructor of Kyokushin Karate, and by some reports actually a co-inventor). You can see almost no ability to "fight" in the techniques often attributable to Karate. https://web.facebook.com/kevin.vonduuglasittu/videos/2975896942435500/ By most reports this loss, and many others, lead to a huge push to incorporate Muay Thai techniques into a new form of fighting, resulting in the sport and art of Japanese kickboxing. The chambered kick was reported ditched, elbows were added and emphasized, and Thai instructors were imported. By one report by 1970, only 7 years after this embarrassing loss, 3 Japanese channels were broadcasting kickboxing fights weekly. These fights featured lots of Japanese vs Thai showdowns, very likely fixed fights to demonstrate the superiority of the new Japanese style. This was definitely experienced as a theft by many Thais. When kickboxing promoter Osamu Noguchi opened his Kickboxing gym in Bangkok this was seen as afront. When the Japanese kickboxers were blown out in the World Championships there, it was a great cultural clash. By many reports Noguchi was charged with trying to fix those fights (the only Japanese win was by a disqualification), was punched in the face by Arjan Yodthong, and ended up having to flee the country in fear of his life, closing his "Kickboxing" gym. The problem wasn't so much that kickboxing (Karate) was trying to adopt Thai techniques, and Thai training methods. The problem was that they then were trying to prove their superiority in doing so through endless propaganda, and stage fights. Since the World War 2 occupation by Japan there had been long simmering ill feelings toward Japan and its' ethnocentric superiority (Ultra Nationalism).

and,

The problem was not that Karate didn't "have" techniques. Lots of techniques may have been in the kata. It was that no Karate "master" actually knew how to fight with them. There is a huge difference between "knowing" a move, and fighting with it. What the early Muay Thai vs Karate bouts of the 1960s and 1970s showed was that Muay Thai's superiority basically came from the fact that it was produced by 1000s and 1000s of full contact fights, in fact 100s of 1,000s all across the country. A single fighter's style was not only an accumulation of the transmission of the art, but also of 100 or so real, full contact fights, something no Karate fighter or master had. It's techniques and training methods were created by fighting. While Japanese Karate was produced by one or two men who came from Okinawa and literally just "taught" the art to others (mostly affluent youth at University clubs). At that point it simply was not a living fighting technique in the way Muay Thai was. It very well encapsulated and preserved very valuable fighting knowledge in powerful, meaningful ways, but was not capable of producing actual fighters like that of the process of Muay Thai, and this was born out in actual fights.

The truth is I'm just piecing this story together from fragments of the history still discoverable on the Internet. A lot of us just think of Kickboxing as only another form of fighting sport, and don't really think much about how it developed, or it's origins of motivation. It doesn't mean that Kickboxing is "bad", but in some ways its origins reveal its weaknesses, not only as a fighting art/sport, but also in terms of ethnic storytelling. Much of this storytelling has been done through dis-equal match making (for instance pretty significant weight differences between Dutch Kickboxing stars and top Thai fighters), or in likely outright match fixing, or in propaganda-like media representations, or story shaping (some of it very passive: very few present day Dekkers fans realize he was only 4-15 in Thailand, the mythology of Dekkers is its own subject though). Present day Kickboxing comes out of this heritage, and much of that heritage has been ethnically driven to minimize the fighting prowess of the Muay Thai of Thailand, and leverage up, and in some cases plain making up the efficacy of foreign opponents.

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You can see the hyperbolic Japanese prowess in this 1970 anime celebrating the incredible "Wave Breaker" Tadashi Sawamura, with his super secret flying knee. This was produced just 7 years after he had suffered his humiliation at the hands of the Thai Samarn Sor Adisorn. The manga Kick no Oni was released the year before, 1969.

Anime Intro: Kick No Oni (1970):

 

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Kind of a side subject but I think relevant is the connection you mentioned in another post about the wealthy and specifically karate. That had to have had an influence in the spread of kickboxing after its development. If anyone can go so far as to develop a while new style to avoid losing to another style it would be people with money and influence. Just thinking out loud. 

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As a sidenote, the lopsided mis-match of Kickboxing vs Muay Thai didn't just show itself in Japan in the 1970s or Holland in the 1990s. You can find it in America as well, a different branch of Kickboxing (Karate). I believe this fight was in California in 1987 (?) and featured Yodkhunpon Sittraipum "The Elbow Hunter of 100 Stitches". Not only did probably the greatest elbow fighter Thailand has ever known fight without his preferred weapon, with which the fight would have ended very quickly, he told us he was at a 20 lb disadvantage:

 

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5 hours ago, Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu said:

As a sidenote, the lopsided mis-match of Kickboxing vs Muay Thai didn't just show itself in Japan in the 1970s or Holland in the 1990s. You can find it in America as well, a different branch of Kickboxing (Karate). I believe this fight was in California in 1987 (?) and featured Yodkhunpon Sittraipum "The Elbow Hunter of 100 Stitches". Not only did probably the greatest elbow fighter Thailand has ever known fight without his preferred weapon, with which the fight would have ended very quickly, he told us he was at a 20 lb disadvantage:

 

Yeah it definitely happened a lot here (my coach had to fight kb even though the promotion called it muay Thai because of the laws of the time). So much so that there are/were a ton of coaches that taught kb and called it muay Thai because they honestly thought thats what they were teaching. I had a few coaches that were really kickboxers and taught that while calling it muay Thai. It wasnt until I had a coach who was truly trained in muay Thai that I saw the difference.  

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On 5/30/2019 at 12:18 PM, Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu said:

It doesn't mean that Kickboxing is "bad", but in some ways its origins reveal its weaknesses, not only as a fighting art/sport, but also in terms of ethnic storytelling.

This reminds me of Krav Maga. It's a "self defense" kinda thing. I don't think there are any Krav Maga competitions (yet...). It's very trendy in France. I despise this IDF-made trash with a passion. It enrages me - for all kinds of reasons. But the core of it is that it has no soul, no culture, no profound history. It's a rotten spew of stolen arts. And I'll go as far as to say the only purpose of Krav Maga is to be a tool for more deceit and theft.

So the more I learn about kickboxing, the harder I find it to appreciate that sport at all, because I see it as something that is vacant  and soulless, and made of stolen pieces by insecure, self-centered, disrespectful people. By colonisers basically. It's like a croissant bought from a big supermarket: almost only filled with air.

That said, it wouldn't be useful to simply dismiss and hate something. It is necessary to remain curious and learn as much as possible about even the things you don't like. If only to help demystify it and put it back in its proper place.

After starting Muay Thai, for a looong while I've just been kinda like "bleh this is ugly and it sucks" when looking at kickboxing - without going further. Not knowing its Japanese origins and all. Thinking it was just yet another attempt from us Europeans to dumb down something (here Muay Thai) so we could pretend we're not as mediocre as we actually are - and get some unearned "glory" and gold. Kinda the same way we so believe we're really enhancing food by simply adding salt and pepper. We've been stealing all the spices in the world for hundreds of years now and yet we still have no fucking clue on what to do with them. The ridicule of this always makes me chuckle a little - haha.  

Anyway. I've been loving all your thoughts about Kickboxing. Thanks a ton for bringing awareness to its history.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I feel it needful to mention that Fujiwara Toshio was a highly capable fighter. Its actually not too unusual for Rajadamnern to contest the title in Japan. I remember this happened not too long ago when Genji Umeno fought Yodlekpet and again when he fought Kulabdam and I think it has happened other times too. They fly out Raja judges to make sure there is no bias or incompetent judging. I dont think its illegitimate that he won by bouncing his opponent's head off the canvas, I've seen Saenchai do this before. I know the bodylock technique he used right before that is a grey area of legality but at most I would say it was a bit dirty. To put this in perspective non-Thais are often give every little advantage they can get in the ring when they fight elite Thais and can't produce results anywhere near what Fujiwara did all the way back in the 70s.

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15 hours ago, Bad Seed said:

I feel it needful to mention that Fujiwara Toshio was a highly capable fighter. Its actually not too unusual for Rajadamnern to contest the title in Japan. I remember this happened not too long ago when Genji Umeno fought Yodlekpet and again when he fought Kulabdam and I think it has happened other times too. They fly out Raja judges to make sure there is no bias or incompetent judging. I dont think its illegitimate that he won by bouncing his opponent's head off the canvas, I've seen Saenchai do this before. I know the bodylock technique he used right before that is a grey area of legality but at most I would say it was a bit dirty. To put this in perspective non-Thais are often give every little advantage they can get in the ring when they fight elite Thais and can't produce results anywhere near what Fujiwara did all the way back in the 70s.

He was an ok fighter, he fought Sirimongkol and didn't collapse, but he was not awesome.  Stiff, predictable. But come on, a running tackle? It's not dirty, it's just incredibly unskilled. Saenchai KO'd Kem with a spectacular sweep. It's possible, of course, but also a tackle is a pretty good way to present the opportunity to take the dive. Fujiwara had a (quite literally) unbelievable 99 KOs in 126 wins. I think it is fair to say all 99 of those KOs were not likely, well, real. All of these Japanese belt fights are extremely dubious in my book, including recent ones. There is no way to tell, but the propensity for fake Japanese fighting and nationalism is quite high and well known. They have been run out of the country, by some report, attempting to buy off refs in Thailand (for instance in the 1982 Martial Arts World Championships when the only Japanese fighter who won was by disqualification). Flying out refs means pretty much zero, unfortunately, if a fighter is KOd. It's still likely going on today, this Japanes show. The 105 lb Lumpinee AND Rajadamnern champion, at this moment, simultaneously (wow, he must really be good!), is a Japanese fighter from a very connected gym. The only fight video I can find of him is him looking like just a run of a mill Thai stadium fighter could walk right through him...the Thai in the fight just falls down...several seconds after a body shot. Honestly it looks like Sylvie could beat him. Maybe just highly, highly favorable opponent choices? Who knows, but something isn't right. It's just that the entire history of money and corruption in the Japanese fight game problemizes every decision, and makes it so you can only guess. You say legit! I say hmmm? Who knows? Thais go over to lose in China as well, it isn't just Japan. And with growing Chinese influence there will likely be many more Chinese victories coming in the next 5 years. I'm sure stadium champions are not far behind.

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About the stadium belts being held by less-than-amazing fighters, there is a trend not just with Japanese fighters but with any non-Thais where promoters will take a fighter ranked 8-10th in the rankings, often with a favorable style matchup and put them against a foreigner for the title. The way I see it is much like winning a world title in pro boxing, its basically a trophy that says you beat an elite fighter, but you're not necessarily and often not the best. We know this sort of thing happens but there is a big difference between this and actual fight fixing. The evidence for Japanese fight fixing seems to all be from over 20 years ago and I have seen some modern Japanese fighters who can absolutely hang with the best Thais and their fights don't look fishy or atypical in any way really. The Chinese fighters who beat Thais usually do so in sanda or kickboxing rules, although they seem to be getting better at Muay Thai. A Chinese guy almost KO'd Chujaroen and ended up getting a draw in that fight.

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57 minutes ago, Bad Seed said:

About the stadium belts being held by less-than-amazing fighters, there is a trend not just with Japanese fighters but with any non-Thais where promoters will take a fighter ranked 8-10th in the rankings, often with a favorable style matchup and put them against a foreigner for the title. The way I see it is much like winning a world title in pro boxing, its basically a trophy that says you beat an elite fighter, but you're not necessarily and often not the best. We know this sort of thing happens but there is a big difference between this and actual fight fixing. The evidence for Japanese fight fixing seems to all be from over 20 years ago and I have seen some modern Japanese fighters who can absolutely hang with the best Thais and their fights don't look fishy or atypical in any way really. The Chinese fighters who beat Thais usually do so in sanda or kickboxing rules, although they seem to be getting better at Muay Thai. A Chinese guy almost KO'd Chujaroen and ended up getting a draw in that fight.

All reasonable thoughts, I just don't happen to agree with them 🙂 But it's just a matter of maybe what we can call disposition. But I would say the idea that the Japanese don't still do some pretty funky fights presented as "real" we always have the incredible Floyd Mayweather vs Tension Nasukawa fight to admire which matches up nicely with the best of the 1970s and 1980s.

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It's worth mentioning that the other two of those three fights, the kyokushin fighters beat the Muay Thai fighters. Kurosaki was actually meant to be a coach for that event, he only fought as a last minute deal because the guy who was meant to do the fight had visa trouble where the event was moved twice.

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12 hours ago, AndyMaBobs said:

It's worth mentioning that the other two of those three fights, the kyokushin fighters beat the Muay Thai fighters. Kurosaki was actually meant to be a coach for that event, he only fought as a last minute deal because the guy who was meant to do the fight had visa trouble where the event was moved twice.

This is part of why I fund it funny when you have people, particularly on YouTube and on the few Muay Thai websites out there (in fairness, not this one) talking about how Muay Thai proved itself superior to karate. This has never really been the case - Muay Thai won 1 out of 3 of these fights in 1964 (and the guy who did lose wasn't even meant to be fighting)and showed itself as effective, so long as karateka were not using their throwing techniques. Muay Thai lost to karate, and there isn't any shame in that, Kyokushin is a fantastic, highly effective style of karate that is the backbone of kickboxing as we know it today - the rhythm of kickboxing is very much like kyokushin, which I think is probably why Thais find it so hard to adapt. Those guys were smacking each other with probably the best low kicks of any martial art, from well before they had contact with Muay Thai. I don't know if the intention was to get closer to karate's Okinawan roots, but that is certainly what happened.

There's this idea that Muay Thai is the 'best' stand up martial art, and as someone that has only ever trained Muay Thai with dedication as a stand up art - I just don't think that is true. Thai boxers don't dominate in kickboxing like Sherdog would have you believe, Europeans do, and occasionally there is a good Thai who is able to adapt his style and do well in the move set, but that is the minority - really it's only Buakaw and Sittichai. Then you have China and it's Sanda, China seems to be this abyss full of fighters, where the best fighters from all around the world go to lose VIA knockout to Chinese guys that nobody had heard of before that day. 

I'd say that IMO the most well rounded immediately practical striking arts are Muay Thai and Sanda, but they've all got their strengths in different areas - I don't think any martial art has physical conditioning quite like Kyokushin does. 

 

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15 hours ago, AndyMaBobs said:

It's worth mentioning that the other two of those three fights, the kyokushin fighters beat the Muay Thai fighters.

Not really worth mentioning - I mean you can mention it, but you would also have to mention that they "Muay Thai fighters" that they beat were not Thais, hahahaha. And, you can guess just how good those non-Thais were. Non-Thai "Muay Thai" fighters in 1963? It's amazing they could find them. It pretty much let's you know the purpose of the match. Fly all the way to Thailand, fight and win again non-Thais. Oi.

The one Thai who fought a Japanese fighter obliterated him.

This dominance was repeated in the World Championships of combat Martial Arts in Bangkok, I believe 1982. When all the Thais made quick work, sometimes VERY quick work of the Japanese fighters (and everyone else), almost 2 decades of training and fighting since these initial embarrassing losses. The only loss of a Thai to a Japanese fighter in those bouts (Headline: "Japanese kickboxing beats Muay Thai!") was due to disqualification because the Thai was judged to be clowning the Japanese fighter - not to mention that there were apparently accusations that the Japanese coalition was attempting to fix fights.

Quote

Kurosaki was actually meant to be a coach for that event, he only fought as a last minute deal because the guy who was meant to do the fight had visa trouble where the event was moved twice. 

Yes I've run into his description a few times. Some people like to pass this off as if some every day unprepared "coach" was just pulled in unexpectedly. Yes, he may have fought without a lot of prep, but he was not just some coach. He probably would be the closest thing one could find as a Kyokushin Master. I've seen lineages which claim he was even a Kyokushin co-creator (10 years before, 1953) (these schools like to fight over who is the progenitor). In any case, he was about as powerful a representative of Kyokushin as one could possibly come up with, or at least an elite one. He wasn't just one of many random coaches on a team. You have a Karate Master, a man who helped create and disseminate Kyokushin, going up against a Thai the history books otherwise would have forgotten. I'm pretty sure the Thai wasn't training months for this fight either, to be honest. Sounds like a fight a Thai would take on a few days notice. Suffice to say, Kurosaki understood himself to be thoroughly and intensely beaten. His response wasn't "Gee, if I only had a fight camp!" and "I must train harder!". His response was to completely reinvent his art and create "Kickboxing" which was eventually passed to the Dutch. I suspect that he ended up thinking that it was a blessing that he fought instead of just a student of his, as he might have blamed the loss on just the skill of the student. Instead he experienced first hand the difference (and deficit) of his Kyokushin, and focused his life on making very big, in fact profound changes.

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2 hours ago, AndyMaBobs said:

There's this idea that Muay Thai is the 'best' stand up martial art, and as someone that has only ever trained Muay Thai with dedication as a stand up art - I just don't think that is true.

I think people get confused. They want to compare "martial arts" or "fighting styles" in the complete abstract, as if they are software programs that exist out there in some other reality, and they argue that one is better than another. Muay Thai is proven, in actual fights, as superior probably MOSTLY because Thai fighters have grown up fighting an incredibly inordinate number of full contact fights, from youth. No other art or fighting style on the planet is like this, to this degree. The average run of the mill Thai fighters is incredibly comfortable with the fight space and violence, if only because of early and very frequent exposure. The Thai Muay Thai fighters walked through Japanese Karate fighters not because abstractly "Muay Thai" is better than "Karate", per se. It's because Thai Muay Thai fighters have been fighting since they were kids, in highly contested, full contact fights, and a lot of them. It's like the rich kid walking up and fighting the poor kid in the mean streets. Most things being equal, it's not the fighting style of each. It's that one kid has been fighting his way to the top of a pile his whole life, and the other guy has been taking lots of a classes and "sparring hard". Early Karate fighters in these Japanese vs Thai faceoffs really were kind of social elites. Karate was passed down to relatively affluent Japanese students (it moved through the University system). While that was happening poor kids in every village of Thailand were fighting in endless full contact festival fights. Put the two to together, and you get a mismatch. People look at this question in completely the wrong way, as if "Muay Thai" in the abstract is somehow proven better than "Karate" in the abstract. Ok, if you are saying "I'm going to study a martial art, which one is best!", maybe there is some interest in knowing what is "best", but really it's about what protocol and experiences are you going to undergo. You can learn "Muay Thai" in a mall gym and suck. You can learn Karate under much more fight heavy situations, and be pretty awesome. But, the protocol and process that produces the average Muay Thai fighter, since youth, is pretty much unparalleled in the world.

There is a secondary case to be made, and I make this case, that Muay Thai has a superiority in the sense that the overall art of its techniques actually developed through real fighting, with lots of weapons, over decades and decades. That is, you didn't have "master" coaches inventing principals or moves out of their own creative impulses (which may or may not be effective), as much as you had repeated experiments and feedback pushed through 100,000s of thousands of real fights. The whole sport/art form takes on, I think, a certain efficacy and vocabulary. This is just a theory though. You can't prove it by simply putting a Thai Muay Thai fighter vs a Japanese Karate fighter because I think the real difference in efficacy comes from the personal experiences of each fighter, and their comfort in the space, not from some abstract "style". But it makes good sense to me. I think the same thing informs the efficacy of western boxing, which today rests on the developments of 10,000s and 10,000s of real fights, many of them in the impoverished classes, for now at least a hundred years. You can see the weight of the techniques that come out of that heritage.

 

2 hours ago, AndyMaBobs said:

there is a good Thai who is able to adapt his style and do well in the move set, but that is the minority - really it's only Buakaw and Sittichai.

Thai fighters, as in, real elite Thai fighters in their prime don't even fight in these kinds of rulesets (rulesets designed to remove many of the Thai's weapons, to keep them fighting in limited vocabularies so the westerners and others can keep up). Buakaw wasn't even an elite fighter when he moved over to K1. He was a good young fighter, but that's about it. They were like "hey kid, go over there and do this thing in Japan". He walked through K1. You talk to Thais and most feel that Buakaw would be blown out by the best Thai fighters in Thailand in a Muay Thai fight, and they've felt that way for many years. They are proud of him as a Thai icon, but people seriously in the game don't think he's close to being a top Muay Thai fighter, I've heard many laugh about it. There are almost no examples of top Thais crossing over to fight others. Today you have someone like Yodwicha who is ripping through the Top King promotion, hilariously doing so as a puncher. Why is it funny that he's doing it as a heavy handed puncher? Because when he was fighting at the highest level in Muay Thai (won co-Fighter of the Year), he was endlessly criticized for having "no weapons" and being only a clinch fighter. He moved onto kickboxing and had to give up his one big weapon, the clinch, and just started knocking people out left and right, something you never saw in Thailand:

 

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3 hours ago, Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu said:

Not really worth mentioning - I mean you can mention it, but you would also have to mention that they "Muay Thai fighters" that they beat were not Thais, hahahaha. And, you can guess just how good those non-Thais were. Non-Thai "Muay Thai" fighters in 1963? It's amazing they could find them. It pretty much let's you know the purpose of the match. Fly all the way to Thailand, fight and win again non-Thais. Oi.

The one Thai who fought a Japanese fighter obliterated him.

This dominance was repeated in the World Championships of combat Martial Arts in Bangkok, I believe 1982. When all the Thais made quick work, sometimes VERY quick work of the Japanese fighters (and everyone else), almost 2 decades of training and fighting since these initial embarrassing losses. The only loss of a Thai to a Japanese fighter in those bouts (Headline: "Japanese kickboxing beats Muay Thai!") was due to disqualification because the Thai was judged to be clowning the Japanese fighter - not to mention that there were apparently accusations that the Japanese coalition was attempting to fix fights.

Yes I've run into his description a few times. Some people like to pass this off as if some every day unprepared "coach" was just pulled in unexpectedly. Yes, he may have fought without a lot of prep, but he was not just some coach. He probably would be the closest thing one could find as a Kyokushin Master. I've seen lineages which claim he was even a Kyokushin co-creator (10 years before, 1953) (these schools like to fight over who is the progenitor). In any case, he was about as powerful a representative of Kyokushin as one could possibly come up with, or at least an elite one. He wasn't just one of many random coaches on a team. You have a Karate Master, a man who helped create and disseminate Kyokushin, going up against a Thai the history books otherwise would have forgotten. I'm pretty sure the Thai wasn't training months for this fight either, to be honest. Sounds like a fight a Thai would take on a few days notice. Suffice to say, Kurosaki understood himself to be thoroughly and intensely beaten. His response wasn't "Gee, if I only had a fight camp!" and "I must train harder!". His response was to completely reinvent his art and create "Kickboxing" which was eventually passed to the Dutch. I suspect that he ended up thinking that it was a blessing that he fought instead of just a student of his, as he might have blamed the loss on just the skill of the student. Instead he experienced first hand the difference (and deficit) of his Kyokushin, and focused his life on making very big, in fact profound changes.

Who were the other two fighters? I don't know their names and its the first time I've heard that they weren't Thai - be curious to know. I've tried to find their fights in 64 before but they don't get circulated around the 'muay-thai-o-sphere' - I don't actually know if the footage is here or lost, so maybe you can help me there.

I wouldn't call Kurosaki an elite kyokushin guy either, his focus was mainly with marketing Kyokushin as a martial art, it was Mas Oyama who was really in the technical side of it.

On your second reply - I agree with the majority of what you're saying. I think that Muay Thai is structured more like boxing in that it's a ring sport and fully geared towards full contact competition in the ring keeps it from getting bogged down in hypotheticals like other martial arts do. That being said, I don't think that top Lumpinee and Raja champions are necessarily going to have success in kickboxing. Guys like Buakaw and Sittichai did well in K1/Glory because of their explosive styles, but you'll still see a Lumpinee Stadium champ like Aikpracha struggling with a rather old and shopworn fighters like Albert Kraus and Steve Moxon, hardly anyone's idea of elite level kickboxing.

As much as I LOVE training and coaching Muay Thai, the elitism you see in discussions about it is sometimes laughable. I can understand their perspective that in kickboxing you're not allowed to elbow or unlimited clinching - but I think that's hair splitting, Sanda guys will just suplex the top Thais on their heads and MMA fighters will tap them out or catch them with blitzes. When it comes down to it, they're all combat sports with different rulesets for different situations, I think if the best Thais in the world were able to dominate kickboxing we would see them doing it, there's certainly more financial incentive there - but we don't. I think it's not as simple as being more limited in weapons - the pace of the fights are different, the type of conditioning you need is different. I think another factor as to why the Thai's never dominated in kickboxing is also likely because the best kickboxers are floating around the 155lb mark.

I think that what also doesn't help matters is today is that kickboxing as a sport is becoming a weaker and weaker talent pool. You will occasionally get your Cedric Doumbes, Tenshin Nasukawa and Takeru but they are few and far between. It's not like what it was when you have prime Petrosyan, Buakaw, Kraus, Masato, Kyshenko, etc. It's not like Thailand which benefits from being one of the most popular sports in Thailand, if not the most. 

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4 minutes ago, AndyMaBobs said:

Who were the other two fighters? I don't know their names and its the first time I've heard that they weren't Thai - be curious to know. I've tried to find their fights in 64 before but they don't get circulated around the 'muay-thai-o-sphere' - I don't actually know if the footage is here or lost, so maybe you can help me there.
 

oh oh, i think i've found it!

Fight 1 on the 1964 kyokushin vs Muay thai challenge card
Akio Fujihira (later fighting kickboxing under the fightname Noboru Ozawa) vs Huafai Lukcontai. 
Im pretty sure this one has already been posted in this thread -but I am honestly to lazy to go trough the whole thread to find it and check that the link is still valid.
YouTube - Kyokushin vs Muay Thai in 1964 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zpMAVcvH5Q)

Fight 2
Tadashi Nakamura vs Tan Charan.
Sadly not available online as far as I know.
The result was Win by Nakamure by 1R KO (kick)

Fight 3
Kenji Kurosaki (who was there as coach and agreed to figh in the last minute) vs Rawee Dechachai.
YouTube - Rawee vs. Kenji Kurosaki (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KiKypFdtHH0)
 

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10 minutes ago, AndyMaBobs said:

Who were the other two fighters? I don't know their names and its the first time I've heard that they weren't Thai - be curious to know.

It was in my research from more than a year ago, I don't recall! One of the newspaper/magazine accounts had it. But I don't think it had their names. One, I believe was from Singapore (by memory). I'll see if I can find the source. It's the reason why the other two fights are not often talked about.

Quote

I wouldn't call Kurosaki an elite kyokushin guy either, his focus was mainly with marketing Kyokushin as a martial art, it was Mas Oyama who was really in the technical side of it.

This is much in debate. Several sources I've read said the opposite, that Oyama was the master marketer. If you read up on Oyama's bio and claims for himself you run into some pretty spectacular marketing stories. I'm also not sure how you would assess his Karate, as he was Oyama's top-ish student by many accounts (though they had a falling out). If he wasn't teaching kyokushin I'd be very surprised. It serves people advocating for Karate's legacy to minimize his skill, but I imagine that really was not the case.

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1 minute ago, Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu said:

It was in my research from more than a year ago, I don't recall! One of the newspaper/magazine accounts had it. But I don't think it had their names. One, I believe was from Singapore (by memory). I'll see if I can find the source. It's the reason why the other two fights are not often talked about.

Should be up there now 😄

The Kyokushin youtube channel has at least two of them

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1 minute ago, Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu said:

You can drop YouTube links in any post, they automatically embed.

 

 

Copied from the above post, it didn't embed at first because it's not plain text.

Yeah, it looks more or less the same as the fight with Rawee except this guy wasn't able to get the elbows off later in the fight. He had something going with the knees but he just got thrown about for much of the fight.

These are all fight situations that I'd be more interested to see now, because both martial arts have developed more since then.

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29 minutes ago, AndyMaBobs said:

As much as I LOVE training and coaching Muay Thai, the elitism you see in discussions about it is sometimes laughable.

I think this is a huge problem when discussing this subject. One part of that problem is I have no idea what you are referring to because Sylvie developed outside of US gym culture, and all the online history. Everything she's done is far removed, and me as well. My opinions mostly formed far from any of the talk of Muay Thai's superiority. I'd run into old AX Forum stuffy from Googling, but it's a different world for me. I don't have fighters to defend, a gym to run, students to attract. I'm only really interested in preserving and acknowledging what is special about Muay Thai, because we neck deep in it, and we personally know and are closely connected to many of the legends of the sport who are now being forgotten, not only by westerners, but by Thais themselves.

But, I understand that this kind of talk, the kind I'm putting forward, probably connects up with all sorts of western conversations about martial art vs martial art which honestly I'd run away from a million miles an hour. Thais don't talk or think like that, at least how I've seen. They don't even think about comparisons. If they saw another martial art they might think such a thing is silly, or that it's totally worth stealing because Thais love efficacy.

I think it was only in the period when Thais felt that the Japanese were stealing their art, creating their own copycat sport, and then kind of staging its superiority, that they were like: Hey, fuck off! But all the same, other Thais were very willing to fight on Japanese TV and fall down for one of Fujiwara's amazing 99 KOs too.

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14 minutes ago, Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu said:

You tell me who was the "master marketer"? Wow, Thai fighters would never stand a chance!

 

Oyama was good at marketing himself, but Kurosaki marketed much of the actual martial art itself. Oyama knew his stuff - but there was a cult of personality surrounding him that you find with most influential martial artists. Jon Bluming talks about it here: 

 

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Just now, AndyMaBobs said:

Oyama was good at marketing himself, but Kurosaki marketed much of the actual martial art itself. Oyama knew his stuff - but there was a cult of personality surrounding him that you find with most influential martial artists.

This, while a 100,000 fights are being fought all over Thailand. It's kind of silly to even compare them, they are two very different things.

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15 minutes ago, Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu said:

I think this is a huge problem when discussing this subject. One part of that problem is I have no idea what you are referring to because Sylvie developed outside of US gym culture, and all the online history. Everything she's done is far removed, and me as well. My opinions mostly formed far from any of the talk of Muay Thai's superiority. I'd run into old AX Forum stuffy from Googling, but it's a different world for me. I don't have fighters to defend, a gym to run, students to attract. I'm only really interested in preserving and acknowledging what is special about Muay Thai, because we neck deep in it, and we personally know and are closely connected to many of the legends of the sport who are now being forgotten, not only by westerners, but by Thais themselves.

But, I understand that this kind of talk, the kind I'm putting forward, probably connects up with all sorts of western conversations about martial art vs martial art which honestly I'd run away from a million miles an hour. Thais don't talk or think like that, at least how I've seen. They don't even think about comparisons. If they saw another martial art they might think such a thing is silly, or that it's totally worth stealing because Thais love efficacy.

I think it was only in the period when Thais felt that the Japanese were stealing their art, creating their own copycat sport, and then kind of staging its superiority, that they were like: Hey, fuck off! But all the same, other Thais were very willing to fight on Japanese TV and fall down for one of Fujiwara's amazing 99 KOs too.

I think it's a good thing that Sylvie has developed away from that - because there's a lot of idiocy involved in it. 

I can understand the Thai's feeling that the Japanese stole their art but it's not really true. Japanese kickboxing/kyokushin is still chambered round kicks and low kicks rooted in Okinawan karate, lots of iron body conditioning. I haven't trained in Kyokushin I'll freely admit that, but I'm quite close to that world and have a few friends who are quite deep into the history of it (although they've both moved onto other martial arts now). 

There are similarities 100%, I think the use of knees definitely has influence from Muay Thai but I think Japan and any other asian culture can lead to some raw nerves, there is so much history out there between Japan and the rest of Asia. It's similar to Germany in Europe in that regard.

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