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New York City with Aaron Banks

Jaquar Lives- Joe Lewis The Film Trailer shown in Movie Theatres
New York City with Aaron Banks



David Tanner aka Dustin Etan
12-0-1 His only loss in kickboxing was to Larry "Thunderfoot" Cureton in 1988.

Grand Master Aaron Banks, 10th Degree Black Belt - Goju-Ryu karate Do

Grand Master Aaron Banks

Aaron Banks predicts that Kickboxing will displace Karate in the public's favor. Banks one Kickboxing event was a financial flop but he still has high hopes for the sport. In a few years during the resurgence of the sport, Banks becomes disgusted with Kickboxing and/or Full Contact Karate and decides to call it Ketsugo, a Japanese word meaning a combination of everything.

 Pages from Aaron Banks
"New York Martial Arts"

Joe Lewis, Dennis Alexio, Larry Cureton, Dustin Etan

New York Aaron Banks

Aaron Banks World Professional Karate Organization - WPKO

May 10, 1975 Aaron Banks hosted his World Professional Karate Organization Championships. Presented at Nassau Coliseum in New York it crowned 4 champions other than those established by the PKA. They included: heavyweight Joe Hess, Lightheavyweight Fred Miller, middleweight Kasim Dubar and lightweight Benny Urquidez.

Soke Grandmaster Irving Soto 8-Time Undisputed World Kumite Champion

VIDEO" Bruce Lee and Aaron Banks

VIDEO" Bruce Lee and Aaron Banks 2

Grand Master Aaron Banks


The Worlds Foremost Promoter


"It was total brutality," remembers Banks. "You had blood on the floor every night, because that’s the way it was in Okinawa. There was no protective equipment. None. The only protective gear was a cup—if you wanted it. If you blocked punches and kicks, you blocked them bare armed. So we’d just be banging on each other. My teeth were all loosened. Every one of them."

Kickboxing in America started with Aaron Banks


The Hall of Fame is directed by reknown Martial Arts Historian Marvin Katz and Martial Arts Promoter Grandmaster Aaron Banks. They are considered the most knowledgeable and objective authorities in the martial arts community.

Banks was a pioneer!  He was famous for promoting and managing early, rough and tumble full contact martial arts tournaments throughout the East Coast in prestigious arena such as Madison Square Garden


Aaron Banks World Professional Karate Organization - WPKO


 1967 New York City: The concept of team competition was introduced  by Aaron Banks, who became karate's most prolific promoter.The victorious West Coast contingent was represented by Joe Lewis, Steve Sanders, Chuck Norris, and Jerry Taylor. Representatives for the East Coast were Thomas LaPuppet, Joe Hayes, Kazuyoshi Tanaka, and Louis Delgado.


 WPKO Kickboxing Presented at the Nassau Coliseum in New York.

  Banks' events later aired on ABC's "Wide World of Sports"


More On Aaron Banks

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The Oriental World Of Self Defense 
New York Martial Arts
  New York Martial Arts | Karate Kung Fu Kickboxing

What a sport! Kickboxing in this area of the country was pioneered from the early 60's to present day. The earliest known of some of the great ones was probably the Joe Lewis and Ed Daniels of the late 60's.

This fight was exceptional. For me anyway, This was the first time I ever saw Full Contact Karate. In this area of the country the term kickboxing wasn't used to much to avoid any legal matters due to fact that kickboxing was illegal in many states of the United States. Hence, change the term a few rules, and there you go, you got a new sport. Anyway, Big Ed Daniels was from this area of the United States ( Dallas ). He was formidable in size and presence, His 6'8" frame had 260 pounds of raw power to use, as he did, against opponents in the point karate arena. His intensity reminded you of a real killer. Whereas, his opponent Joe Lewis was more refined in looks as well as conditioning. The fight only lasted a few rounds, but for the first time I got to see what karate would do if you didn't control your techniques. To say the least I was in awe. Joe Lewis looked like a God to me. He was a muscular athlete that could really fight. Regardless of what anyone else says that fight more than any other fight at that particular time in karate history launched American Kickboxing / Full Contact Karate. The ripple effect and impact of that event may not have started kickboxing in America right away but the seeds were planted. The students of these great Karate Warriors were the first full blown generation of Kickboxers in America.

In Dallas the first generation of kickboxers was really only one, Ed Daniels. He came from the 60's era. The other notable names of that time were Jhoon Rhee, Allen Steen, Pat Burleson, Skipper Mullins, Jack Hwang, Joe Lewis, Fred Wren, Chuck Norris, Roger Carpenter, Jim Harrison, Mike Stone, Bruce Lee, David Moon, Bill Wallace, and Ed Parker. These names dominated the karate competition circuit of the sixties and for some also into the seventies.

The seventies is where point karate had it's highest peaks of quality competitors and events. This is also the time period of another group of competitors that emerged as the cutting edge of kickboxers. First, the emergence of the second generation of point fighters. These names were a mixture of point karate and full contact karate fighters. They are as follows.

Demetrias Havanas, Roy Kurban, Bill Wallace, Jeff Smith, Jim Harkins, Pat Worley, John Worley, Mike Warren, Max Alsup, Jim Buton, Al De Cascas, Blinky and his brother Benny Urquidez. All of these fighters were the best of the best in

the point karate arena. For the majority they all attempted the transitions from point karate to full contact karate. Some of the warriors made the transitions and the others stayed in the point karate arena.

This particular era of karate was the one that the actual teachers of the Full Contact Karate in America were born. The students of these great ones were the ginny pigs of kickboxing. They started their adventure as the sparring partners of the true pioneers. In the mid 70's thru the early 80's their were some true champions and celebrities born in the infant sport of Full Contact Karate and the Point Karate Arena. Both of the sports thrived in this era. The big guns of that time were Raymond McCallum, Glen McMorris, Billye Jackson, Zip White, Alvin Prouder, Mark Payne, Jeff Payne, Steve Mackey, Bob Thurman, Don Wilson, Dennis Alexio, Tony Palemore, Oaktree Edwards, Gene NeCombs, John Moncayo,  John Longstreet, Steve Nasty Anderson, Billy Blanks, Cliff Thomas, Troy Dorsey, Jeff Overturf, John Blaylock, Kenny Wisemnan, Rob Morley, Sante Wilson, James Brown, Mike Hughes, Chuck Timmons, Tim Kirby, Steve Sosa, Rooster Machen, Ismal Robles, Sam Montgomery,Steve Doss, Norris Williams, Tommy Williams and Dale Cook. All of these students of Karate and Boxing were in fact the first full generation of fighters of Full Contact Karate. This era of competitors set the trend and foundation for first generation of TV fighters on ESPN and other networks. Note Bill Wallace, and Benny the Jet spanned the longest careers in point and then kickboxing. They too competed in the 70's and 80's. Currently the most prolific of this era is Troy Dorsey who still competes today. He is the only person in history to win titles in both boxing and kickboxing. Also note Raymond McCallum was a world champ in both point karate and full contact at the same time. These two fighters were unique because of those acomplishments. All of these fighters were the best in thier time. They held titles, or were rated in the top ten in the world in their divisions. The students of all of the above are the current day fighters of the day.

This paper may seem more like a fact of personal history then the history of Kickboxing. However, when you think about it, this is a good personal testimony of a infant sport that has only recently been born. I have been lucky enough to have been a part of a very dynamic location, association and era of very gratifying sport. All of the names that I have mentioned above are fighters that were really good. I had personal contact with all of these legends of fighting. The common thread of all these fight is their courage and willingness to compete in all sanctions against all fighters. Also, each of their journeys through belt ranking was slow and tested in competitonin in each belt division. For the majority of these martial artist they had multiple instructors too. If you didn't have the same experience as the above, it was always there for the taking. If you want that same adventure then find these people or their students. Winners attract to winners past, future, and present.

Joe Lewis and the First Acknowledged 'American Kickboxing' Fight

Eventually Lewis found an opponent and had his first Kickboxing match on January 17th, 1970 by knocking out Greg Baines (a San Jose Kenpo stylist) to become the first U.S. Heavyweight 'Kickboxing' Champion. During the bout, the announcer kept calling the bout 'American Kickboxing'. The mistake in terminology caught on and Joe Lewis became known as the man who pioneered 'American Kickboxing' in North America. Joe Lewis defended his title ten times with no opponent lasting through the second round.

American Kickboxing is Born

In 1970, full contact Kickboxing invaded America largely through the efforts of Californian Lee Faulkner. Faulkner presented the first Kickboxing bout, between Joe Lewis and Greg Baines. It took place at the Long Beach Arena in conjunction with a noncontact professional tournament. Lewis gained the first American Kickboxing Title with a 3rd round KO. Aaron Banks and Allen Steen both also picked up on American Kickboxing immediately. No one knows exactly how many Kickboxing events were held in the US during this time but it is known that Lewis was the most sparkling champion. He successfully defended his US title, all with 1st or 2nd round KO'es. In Thailand, Muay Thai may be known as the 'Sport of Kings', but in America American Kickboxing only lasted until 1970 and it failed miserably. Kickboxing experienced one last ditch effort when Lee Faulkner introduced locally televised matches in Los Angeles. These matches employed authentic Muay Thai athletes against each other and it enjoyed moderate popularity. The California Athletic Commission which regulates all boxing and wrestling contests conducted in the state altered its existing provisions to include Kickboxing. For reasons undisclosed, the weekly broadcast was discontinued soon afterward.


Larry Cureton, New Jersey's Fighting Fireman
W.P.K.O world Champion

Larry "Thunderfoot" Cureton --
Dennis Alexio's next opponent.

 "Thunderfoot" Cureton "Well, there was a little mistake made," he said. "I wasn't Mike Tyson's sparring partner - it was Ray Mercer."

Promoters for Cureton's Nov. 2 kickboxing match against Dennis Alexio had listed Tyson, but Mercer - also a heavyweight champ - wasn't exactly a sissy himself about five or six years ago.

Dennis Alexio
Cureton will be a formidable opponent for undisputed world champion Alexio - especially coming in at 6-1 and 240 pounds.

Cureton has a record of 41-4 with 37 knockouts - including two KOs over former Alexio opponent Dennis "Mad Dog" Downey." 

Cureton, 36, has fought Alexio before and was stopped in the sixth round in a 1991 fight at the Arco Arena in Sacramento, Calif.

"I was returning from a fight in Russia and had to go from weighing 232 pounds to 204 in three weeks," he said. "It was a tough fight, especially because I had never experienced leg kicks before. I didn't realize how bad they can be."

Leg kicks won't be allowed in the Nov. 2 match against Alexio, who has a 63-1 record with 58 knockouts.


e-Hawaii Star: Dennis Alexio


 Larry "Thunderfoot" Cureton had also fought for Joe Lewis' World Heavyweight title belt at Nassau Colliseum, defeating David Tanner.  The very first Professional Kickboxing Federation was the  W.P.K.O.

This sanctioned fight was held as a Headliner for the famous "Oriental World Of Self Defense".

The Promoter, the legendary Aaron Banks, had personally hand picked the two fighters to face off for the vacated title belt that had once belonged to Joe Lewis, Joe Hess, "Monsterman" Everett Eddie and a list of other great champions. 

Powerful Larry "Thunderfoot" Cureton had a been on winning streak of 10 K.O.'s against top fighters, including "Bad Brad" Hefton and the colorful "Mad Dog" Dennis Downey, when he stepped into the ring at Nassau Colliseum.  David Tanner ( "Dustin Etan" the alias name he chooses to fight under) had entered with a broken nose and injured right hand from a previous fight. Etan had previous kickboxing and boxing experience winning every fight as a Light Heavy weight.  It was very apparent that Tanner was obviously feeling ill with his eyes blacked from a broken nose and also 20 pounds under the required weight for this Heavy weight match up. A very tough fighter who should have fought another day as his cornermen wanted to call off the fight.

            Dustin Etan

Lands a Roundhouse Kick

 "It was a shot at a World Title which has the history as Joe Lewis's belt and I didn't back out at the last minute needless to say,  Larry Cureton is a great fighter!" said Etan "He caught me at the opening with a tremendous right hand to the chin as I landed a round kick to his body. Very powerful! I wasn't ready. Ha Hah! I mean I was airborne!"  "I had sustained broken ribs, a cracked vertebrate from a spinning kick, (hence the name "Thunderfoot") 


"After a knock down, at the end of the fourth round, I was thinking... man! I can fight again another night. So I wisely conceded to the referee and took the 10 count."

"Larry Cureton and I have been sparring partners for a while now... had helped Larry prepare for the first Alexio fight. He just wasn't prepared for leg kicks the first time around. "

The last time Larry was out boxing Alexio and was winning the fight when Alexio kept kicking Larrys Knee... it was foul tactics.

 Larry was definetly ahead and winning that fight until his knee went from those kicks!" Either way it's going to be a good fight because Larry  Cureton is a smart guy and he always works on improving his fight game."



Answering all the rumours about a Film on Joe Lewis

 Dustin Etan was indeed behind the film project on "The Golden Boy"

"I had first met  Lewis in the early 80's. I remember reading about him since  I was like 10 and even then I knew he was one of a kind just like Bruce Lee was."  I had been in the ring many times with Lewis and we sparred full contact boxing and kickboxing.

 I was negotiating with the professor at NYU Film School in 1991.  At this time I had approached Lewis and we signed on a deal between us to put the film on his life together. I actually brought in these other guys thinking they would help with development, but others greed ruined what I was trying to accomplish.   The film business is funny...seems everyone wants to jump in and take everything for themselves, because the money can be big. So now we have one guy over here suing this other guy. No one would take me seriously after it got going. I had wanted to do the Lewis part, felt that I could have really pulled it off...y'know? 


 "American Karate- The Story Of Joe Lewis"  The film would have recreated the early days of karate in America. "We would of seen what had happened at the tournements, like the Long Beach championships and recreated the likes of Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, Bill Wallace, Jeff Smith, Benny "The Jet",  Mike Stone and Howard Jackson.

It would have been Great! the man is a legend and The 60's Karate period has an interesting history.  Perhaps we can work it all out still.

Sparring Full Contact:

David Tanner Kicks as Joe Lewis rushes in to Strike against lewis 3b.jpg


David Tanner aka Dustin Etan
12-0-1 His only loss in kickboxing was to
Larry "Thunderfoot" Cureton in 1988.

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