K-1 is a combat sport that combines stand up techniques from Muay Thai, Karate, Taekwondo, Savate, San shou,
Kickboxing, traditional Boxing, and other martial arts to determine the single best stand-up fighter in the world.
The K-1 organization's governing body is Fighting and Entertainment Group (FEG). They organize a variety of fightsport
events in Japan and around the world, including K-1's sister mixed martial arts promotion, Dream. There are K-1 Regional
Elimination Tournaments which qualify fighters for the K-1 World Grand Prix, along with licensed K-1 Fighting Network
events designed to develop new talent internationally and there is also a 70.5kg (155lb) Super Middleweight division called
K-1 MAX ("Middleweight Artistic Xtreme"). In 2007, K-1 introduced a two new Title belts separate from K-1 World GP
Champions, Super Heavyweight World Title for fighters over 100kg/220lbs and Heavyweight World Title for fighters under
The sport was formed by Kazuyoshi Ishii, a former Kyokushin karate practitioner who had formed his own organization,
Seidokaikan Karate in 1980. Seidokaikan arranged several successful challenge events against other martial arts
organizations, originally using rules based on the Kyokushin Knockdown karate rules, but gradually adapting and
changing closer to kickboxing rules. In 1993 Mr. Ishii founded the K-1 organization exclusively as a kickboxing
organization, closely cooperating with, but independent from Seidokaikan.
The principal objective of K-1 is to win either by a knockout or by a split or unanimous decision. Victories are usually
achieved by kicks to the legs, head or midsection or using traditional boxing punches, such as the jabs, hooks or
Classic defensive boxing stance is rather ineffective against leg kicks, and fighters are more or less forced to constantly
move and counterattack. The traditional clinch, often used in boxing is not allowed which has lead to a very high K.O. ratio
in the K-1, since the fighers in other stand-up fighting sports often use the clinch to gain time to recover if they have been
hit. Clinching is also a big part of traditional thaiboxing and the lack of this is basically the biggest difference between
thaiboxing and the K-1 rule-system. If you grab an opponent with the intent of using a knee-technique you have to let go
after one single blow. In thaiboxing, the fighters often hold on to each other to continuously use their knees and elbows.
Due to the combination of rules and techniques that are allowed and not, the common low kick has time and again proven
itself to be one of the most efficient techniques in the K-1 fighter arsenal. Even world class boxers have many times become
completely pacified during their attempts to enter the K-1 fighting circuit successfully due to the extreme damage a low kick
can deliver to the leg. Some of the best low kick performers in the world are found in several classic full contact karate
styles, such as kyokushin and seidokan karate, the latter from which the K-1 originates. This has also lead to great
success within the K-1 among fighters with traditional karate background, Andy Hug being the first K-1 fighter with a karate
background to win the K-1 and 3-year consecutive champion Semmy Schilt also comes from a full contact karate style
known as Ashihara where low kicks are prioritized as technique in competitions. However the biggest success belongs to
muay thai fighters which is proven by names of K-1 champions Ernesto Hoost, Remy Bonjasky, Buakaw Por.Promuk.
Kickboxing is also a common combat style in K-1. Some famous kickboxers include, Masato, Peter Aerts and Yoshihiro
The rules themselves are constantly adapting and changing to create a competition which allows for participants of
different styles to fight in a fairer manner, although these rules accommodate kickboxing rules as the main basis.
Each match is three or five rounds in duration, with each round lasting three minutes.
The match can end by Knockout, Technical Knockout, Decision, Disqualification, Draw or No Contest.
Both the referee and the ring doctor have full authority to stop the fight.
The fight is scored by three judges on a ten-point must system (The winner of each round receives ten points, and the
loser receives nine or less. If the round is even, both competitors receive ten points).
If there is a draw after three rounds, the judges' scores are thrown out and one or two extra three-minute rounds are
contested. The judges' decision will then come from the scoring of each extra round only. If, after the extra round(s), there
is still a draw, the judges will decide a winner based on the flow of the entire match, considering even the slightest
difference. A fight can only end in a draw if both fighters go down at the same time and cannot get up, or in the case of
accidental injury in the late stages of the contest.
The three-knockdown rule is in effect (three knockdowns in a round results in a technical knockout).
The mandatory eight count is in effect (the referee must count to at least "eight" on all knockdowns).
The standing eight count is in effect (the referee has the right to declare a knockdown on a fighter who appears to be in a
dangerous condition to continue in the match).
A fighter can be saved by the bell only in the last round.
In K-1 single elimination tournament matches:
Each match is three rounds in duration.
The three-knockdown rule becomes a two-knockdown rule for all matches except the final.
One or two reserve fights are held prior to the single elimination matches. If for any reason a fighter who wins and
advances through the brackets is unable to continue, a reserve match competitor, or the fighter's opponent from the most
recent match, takes his place. There are certain exceptions to this rule (i.e. a fighter who lost a match by knockout might
not be eligible to replace another fighter).
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