Kickboxing was developed as an independent martial arts sport in the 1950’s. In Japan, Tatsuo Yamada first established an outline of a new sport that combined karate and muay thai as a competition level sport. He announced his plan in 1959, and he proposed the tentative name of "karate-boxing" for this new sport. This was further explored during the early 1960s, when competitions between karate and muay thai began, which allowed for rule modifications to take place. The Kickboxing Association, the first sanctioning body, was founded by Osamu Noguchi in 1966, and soon after that the first event was held in Osaka. Noguchi named this sport as kickboxing. Kickboxing became popular in Japan as it began to be broadcast on TV.
In the 1970s the sport had expanded beyond Japan and had reached North America and Europe. Between 1970 and 1973 a handful of kickboxing promotions were staged across the USA. The first time anything resembling what we now know as Full Contact Kickboxing began in the United States in the early 1970's as Full Contact Karate. The roots of the sport in Europe were planted in Germany. The World Kickboxing Association (WKA) and the World Association of Kickboxing Organizations (WAKO) was formed in 1976. WAKO developed into the leading amateur federation in kickboxing. The International Kickboxing Federation (IKF) was founded in 1992. The World Kickboxing Network (WKN) was formed in 1994.