Today I headed over to Santa Clara, Ca to watch some IKF Semi-Contact Point Kickboxing. I had a buddy fighting in one of the lighter adult weight classes and wanted to show up and give him some support.
I was pleasantly surprised to see that the ref was kickboxing legend Johnny "Superfoot" Davis. He was funny, interacted with the spectators and controlled the action well.
The sign behind the fighters said, "Your first step out of the gym". It was a great slogan because Semi-Contact Point Kickboxing is a great way to get your feet wet in real competition. Sparring in you own school with the same people over and over doesn't really test you as does competing in an event like this.
Actually, this was a large martial arts event that offered competition for a variety of martial arts. There was everything from point sparring to weapons forms. The event was well represented by a number of Japanese, Chinese and Hawaiian stylists. The kids at the event all appeared to have a great time and many people from the traditional schools competed in the point kickboxing competition.
One great thing about the kickboxing was the sportsmanship between competitors. There was a lot of glove touching, hugging and respect shown during the fights. This was in stark contrast to the behavior of some of the coaches. Some of the coaches (who appeared to represent traditional martial arts schools) bordered on embarrassing with disruptive and disrespectful behavior. Johnny Davis took a lot of heat from the coaches but handled it with humor and respect.
This type of thing has plagued tournaments, I imagine, since they were started. I competed quite a bit in the late 80's, 90's and early 2000's and it's the same thing every time. Why middle aged men who teach respect and discipline in their schools cannot demonstrate it in public at these tournaments is beyond my understanding. Like I told my wife, "Unfortunately, you see some of the worst behavior at martial arts tournaments and that is really too bad."
That was just a minor issue though on what I thought was an entertaining and well run event.
I encourage everyone to check out http://www.ikfkickboxing.com/PKB.htm and support these events. They offer an awesome opportunity for young fighters to step in there and compete. I would recommend just going as a spectator as well. It was a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Next time they are back in my neck of the woods, I'm definitely going to go again and check it out.