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Back to the roots: KWU International Professional League (Part 2)

In 2019 SENSHI fight nights showcased a completely “new” KWU International Professional League rules. The battles are full contact with head strikes, allowing even throws and elbow strikes.

With the first SENSHI gala, the organizers presented this idea. There was one fight under these rules, but the second edition of SENSHI presented four full contact clashes.

At the beginning of July, the XIII International KWU Summer Camp was held in Kamchia, with a record number of 1618 participants and trainers from 28 countries. The rules of the KWU International Professional League were presented to karatekas. A technical seminar, a refereeing seminar, karate training, and special training seminars were held with Semmy Schilt and Peter Aerts. Some of the most successful fighters of the K-1 era and Schilt is a karate specialist, too.

Semmy Schilt about Kyokushin karate

“I still practice karate. This sport has given me everything in my life. So now I’m motivated to teach others. I think SENSHI will help Kyokushin become more popular,” said Schilt in front of Boec.COM reporter.

The main focus in Kamchia, however, was the third edition of professional fight nights SENSHI. This time with the new SENSHI Cup format – a two-day tournament with 8 weight categories -65, -70, -75, -80, -85, -90, -95 and +95 kg . It included only KWU SENSHI rules battles.

Shihan Andrzej Drewniak about the full contact fights

“This is something interesting. My son and daughter are training Kyokushin and are here now. They were extremely impressed with the rules,” Shihan Andrzej Drewniak, who is a 9th Degree Black Belt, told Boec.COM. “I know this type of battle. I have witnessed many victories of Kyokushin fighters in the K-1 Grand Prix, but I was very impressed watching SENSHI. Kyokushin is universal. The style here is close to K-1, this is the best show that can be done. ”

At the SENSHI Cup battles with three rounds, three minutes each were played. In order to lift the cup, the karateka had to overcome qualification, semi-final, and grand final. The format was enjoyed by a lot of fans.

At the end of October in Varna at SENSHI 4 – Five of the bouts were conducted under the full contact karate Kyokushin style, two of the fights went down under the K-1 rules and the remainder of the clashes were under the KWU International Professional League rules.

The spectacle was guaranteed, and many knockouts made the evening unforgettable. In addition, a training seminar was held to familiarize the contestants with the specifics of the KWU International Professional League. Another legend from the “golden” era of K-1, Ernesto Hust, who won the Grand Prix of the tournament four times, took part in it.

They were joined by Shihan Ivo Kamenov – the Chairman of KWU’s International Professional League and Chairman of Bulgaria’s Association of Martial Sports and Shihan Aleksandr Pichkunov – Secretary-General of Kyokushin World Union. The legendary fighter has been a finalist in K-1 Grand Prix in 2007 and 2008. The Russian is also a bronze medalist form a Karate Kyokushin World championship in 2005. He’s a silver medalist from the Russian Kyokushin championship in 2004 and winner of the Russian Kyokushin cup in 2001.

Secretary-General of Kyokushin World Union Shihan Aleksandr Pichkunov awarding the champion -80kg Andrey Chekhonin

Parallel with the fifth edition of SENSHI, a new international seminar for instructors, competitors, and judges are forthcoming on February 21-22 in Varna, Bulgaria. The rules of the KWU International Professional League will be explained and there will be a diploma given to every graduate.

But what is the difference in these “new” rules? Here is a brief and systematic explanation:


All boxing hits, spinning back fist are allowed; all kicks; one knee hit to the head after grasping with two hands; clinch up to 5 seconds; cuts; grip and kick without pulling or pushing the opponent.

Prohibited: hit in the groin, nape, spine; blow with the inside of the glove; hits against the knee joint; blow with the head; a blow to a fallen opponent; strikes from a lying position; elbow strikes; throws; ground and pound; stranglehold; biting.

Peter Aerts said he feels like home


All boxing hits allowed; spinning back fist; all kicks; one knee hit to the head after grasping with two hands; clinch up to 5 seconds; cuts; grip and kick; elbow strikes; throws.

Prohibited: hit in the groin, nape, spine; blow with the inside of the glove; hits against the knee joint; blow with the head; restraining the head with one arm and striking with elbow with the free arm; a blow to a fallen opponent; strikes from a lying position; ground and pound; stranglehold; biting.

A four-time K-1 World Champion Ernesto Hoost


All boxing hits allowed; spinning back fist; all kicks; clinch up to 10 seconds; cuts; grip and kick; elbow strikes; throws; groundwork twice for thirty seconds per round;  stranglehold on ground; submissions on the ground (legs only on the Achilles, without twisting the ankle and knee joint); hit with hands and knees only in the body on the ground.

Prohibited: hit in the groin, nape, spine; blow with the inside of the glove; hits against the knee joint; blow with the head; striking a fallen opponent from a stand; attack with elbows and knees in the head on the ground; biting; tosses with head fall and on the entire spine with fall on the opponent.

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