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Japanese Kickboxing is combat sport created by the Japanese boxing promoter Osamu Noguchi and Tatsuo Yamada (Karate practitioner). It was the first combat sport that adopted the name of "Kickboxing" in 1966. The sport is now known as Japanese Kickboxing and most recently K1 Rules to differ from other combat sports that also adopted the name of "Kickboxing".

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The original rules were very similar to Muay Thai, but with some differences between them.

Original rules of Japanese Kickboxing

Similarities with Muay Thai

  • Time: three minutes × five rounds
  • Allowed to attack with elbow
  • Allowed to attack with knee
  • Allowed to kick the lower half of the body except crotch
  • Allowed to do neck-wrestling (folding opponent's head with arms and elbows to attack the opponent's body or head with knee-strikes)
  • Head butts and throws were banned in 1966 for boxers' safety.

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Differences with Muay Thai

  • No ram muay before match
  • No Thai music during the match
  • Interval takes one minute only as same as boxing
  • Point system: In muay thai, kicking to mid-body and head are scored highly generating a large number of points on judges' scorecards. Moreover, kicking is still judged highly even if the kick was blocked. In contrast, punching is worth fewer points. In kickboxing punches and kicks are held in closer esteem.

These rules have changed with the pass of time, specially in the early 1990s with the creation of governing bodies like International Kickboxing Federation and K-1. For example, neck wrestling and elbow strikes are no longer allowed.

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