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"Kakidamishi" draws martial arts superstars to Okinawa

Date Posted: 1999-07-03

If you are interested in the martial arts and are a big fan of the UFC and K1 Championship series, then be sure to catch the first annual "Kakidamishi" in Okinawa. This event will feature many different forms of the martial arts with guest appearances by many of the world's top-ranked kick boxers.

Organized by "Maki Dojo," a local full-contact karate school and member of the World Karate Association, "Kakidamishi" promises to be both exciting and entertaining. Masaaki Asato, karate instructor and owner of "Maki Dojo" who is well known for his popular full contact "Karate Grand Prix" tournaments, has done an excellent job in putting together a high quality, major martial arts event.

One of the highlights will be a match between Thai kick boxing champion Changpuek Kiatsongrit and K1 fighter Ryuki Murakami in a grudge match. Also on the card is K1's very first champion Branko Cikatic. Bas Rutten, the current UFC heavyweight champion, will make a guest appearance as a referee.

Eddie Erazo, co-promoter and organizer of "Kakidamishi," said the event will differ from UFC and K1 by not following a tournament format, nor will it focus on just one type of martial arts. "There's something for everyone to watch," said Erazo. In addition to the UFC and K1 champions that will be on hand, "Kakidamishi" will also feature wrestling and women's kick boxing. Bambi, a very popular ISKA featherweight champion, will appear in the main women's kick boxing bout, making her first trip to Okinawa. The original "Tiger Mask" is also scheduled to appear in a premiere wrestling dual. "Our goal is to promote the martial arts through sports entertainment," added Erazo.

Asato and Erazo plan to expand upon the "Kakidamishi" event every year, drawing more champions and providing a major arena for martial arts here on Okinawa. Already, the tournament has sponsorship from OTV and will be televised at a later date on either cable or satellite television. The two hope to eventually have the "Kakidamishi" events become internationally recognized.

Another key to the planning of "Kakidamishi" is that all the events will be based in Okinawa Prefecture. Erazo feels that holding the "Kakidamishi" here on the island will help to bring in top ranked martial artists year after year. "Okinawa is a fantastic place to hold an event like this. It has great weather, nice resorts, and it also has the history of marital arts behind it," Erazo said.

Erazo also mentioned that he would like everyone to realize that the "Kakidamishi" will focus on athletic ability. "We are not looking to present matches that will be brutal and bloody. There will be plenty of action for fans, but we want to make this event one of high caliber competition," he explained.

It is hoped the "Kakidamishi" event will help to further interest in Okinawa by many new students of karate and other martial arts disciplines.

"Kakidamishi" will take place on Sunday, July 11, at the Budokan Arena in Naha, starting at 2 p.m. Tickets are currently on sale for 3,000 at Book Box and at the Lotus Club located on Highway 58 in Chatan. You can also purchase tickets at the door for 3,500. Tickets can be purchased on base at ITT. "Kakidamishi" is expected to be sold out, so tickets should be purchased as early as possible.

To get to the Budokan Arena, simply head south on Highway 58 towards Naha. You will see the arena on your left just as you approach the ramp leading to the airport.

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