by President Ennio Falsoni
WAKO started its activity in Europe in 1976.
The founder was Mr. Georg Brückner from Berlin, who promoted the first ever World Championships in semi and full contact karate (as it was called in those days) back in 1978 with 110 competitors representing 18 countries. WAKO immediately created the rules and regulations for the new fighting sports and acted, since the very beginning, as the authentic Kickboxing Federation in the world.
In our Championships, only national teams are accepted. Each member country can present only one competitor in each weight class, the best, "la creme de la creme".
Our World Championships are NOT open competitions where everybody can try, spending 50 US dollars, to become "World Champ" like they do almost every week-end in USA. Each competitor has gone through a long selection in his country before competing in WAKO tournaments and normally he is the national champ of his weight class in that particular kickboxing style. (WAKO offers 6 different styles: semi, light, full contact, low-kick, thai kickboxing and musical forms).
Therefore WAKO guarantees the best possible kickboxing fights and its gold medallists are true champions. Today WAKO can count on 74 affiliated nations in the 5 continents, and in the greatest majority of cases, WAKO unites the strongest and best national kickboxing organisations.
Many of them are also officially recognised by their National Olympic Committees or Ministry of Sports, like in Spain,Portugal, France, Norway, Finland, Poland, Hungary, Austria, Yugoslavia, Croatia, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Georgia, Morocco, Algeria, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq, Brazil, Gabon, South Africa, and many more, like Germany, Italy, Slovakia, Sweden, Denmark, Tunisia are in the process of becoming officially recognised.
Today WAKO counts on a market of kickboxers estimated to be around 1,200,000 participants and no less than 6,000 clubs around the globe.
We promote, nationally and internationally, more than 1,000 amateur and professional events a year. These figures speak for themselves. Now recognised as the principal European and World Kickboxing Federation, today WAKO includes WAKO-PRO which is growing steadily all over the world and organises events that spread the word about our movement, attracting thousands of spectators to sports-arenas ( and even football grounds !) together with kind words from the press.
WAKO-PRO only started in 1991, and in a very short time has become the leading professional body in Europe, in Asia, in South America, in the Caribbean and the Middle-East. In USA, where sports in general are organised in a totally different way , WAKO is supported by the KRANE organisation which unites the best American fighters, especially in the "point system" and in Musical Forms. The WAKO representative in the USA is Mr. Don Rodrigues, coach and manager of the famous John Paul Mitchel team which is the absolute number 1 in the country. Therefore WAKO and WAKO-PRO are working in conjunction then to guarantee both an ever-larger public.
Our European and World Championships, besides the bits and pieces on national TV in various countries, are normally given ample coverage. For example, the Gdansk World Championships in 1997 (55 nations, 630 competitors!) were broadcasted by Polsat and we had millions of viewers not only in Europe but even in the Arab countries. The Kiev European Championships in 1998 were broadcasted in all CIS countries , in the Balkans and in Italy. The same goes for the professional matches promoted in the five continents: all received generous coverage by major networks and the mass media in general.
Come and see with your own eyes what we are, how we work, the incredible technique of our fighters. Our strength lies precisely both in our numbers and quality.
We are different, as you will find out for yourself. Take my word as President.