History & Lineage
The Dynamix striking System (DSS) is a modern variation of the highly successful Dutch style of Kickboxing. While many are under the impression that the Dutch style of Kickboxing is derived from Muay Thai, in actuality, it has its primary roots in Japanese Karate and is influenced by many different martial arts.
Even though Kickboxing originated from traditional martial arts, it evolved into a very effective, modern combat sport. The section below describes the history, lineage and evolution–from Okinawan Karate, through generations of outstanding masters of the art, into the modern striking system that is currently being taught at Dynamix MMA.
1800’s Okinawa Kara-Te
1916 Gichin Funakoshi, Shotokan Karate
Gichin Funakoshi “The Father of Karate”
Karate was kept a secret in Okinawa until Gichin Funakoshi (1868) popularized it for the everyday people. He began studying this art at age 11 under Karate masters Azato (Shorei Ryu) and Itosu (Shorin Ryu). Later, Funakoshi trained with many other masters of his time and blended all his knowledge into his own style which he called Shotokan Karate. His philosophy in regards to Karate, was that everyone, irrespective of gender, physical strength or age should be able to practice the art form. Funakoshi introduced Karate for the first time outside of Okinawa in Tokyo, Japan in 1922. Gichin Funakoshi died in 1957 at the age of 89 and is widely considered the father of modern day Karate.
1953 Mas Oyama, Kyokushin Karate
Masutatsu Mas Oyama (1923) was the founder of Kyokushin Karate. He trained in various martial arts like kempo, boxing and judo, before devoting himself to Karate. He considered Shotokan Karate master Funakoshi to be his mentor but also trained under the respected Goju Ryu Karate masters So Nei Chu and Gogen Yamaguchi (creator of sparring in Karate). Oyama made name for himself by winning the first All Japan Karate tournament in 1947, held in Tokyo at the Karuyama Gymnasium, where all the Karate-Do schools where united. After this, he travelled the world to many countries including the U.S. and others in Asia, to give demonstrations and prove the effectiveness of his Karate. Oyama opened his own dojo in 1953 and created his own style of Karate which he called Kyokushin. Kyokushin means “ultimate truth” and was the bridge between modern day full contact stand up fighting and traditional martial arts. He was very open minded and incorporated techniques from many styles.
“The heart of our karate is real fighting. There can be no proof without real fighting. Without proof there is no trust. Without trust there is no respect. This is a definition in the world of Martial Arts.” – Mas Oyama
1963 Kenji Kurosaki, Mejiro Gym Kickboxing
During the late 1950’s some of the Kyokushin Karate fighters started to experiment with western Boxing to make their Karate even more effective. The karate practitioner Tatsuo Yamada wanted to create karate matches with full-contact rules for which he proposed the name “Karate-Boxing”. The boxing promoter Osamu Noguchi came up with the name kickboxing. On February 12, 1963 a Muay Thai event took place at the famous Lumpinee stadium in Bangkok, Thailand. Three Karate fighters from the Oyama Dojo (Kyokushinkaikan since 1964) and representing Japan fought that night against three native Muay Thai fighters. Japan won the challenge against Thailand after the Kyokushin fighters, Tadashi Nakamura and Akio Fujihira (also know as Noboru Osawa), knocked out their opponents using punches. The third Karate fighter Kenji Kurosaki, lost after being hit with an elbow. Kurosaki who originally came to Thailand as the coach stepped up last minute to replace the original fighter who got injured. After his loss, Kurosaki decided to study the art of Muay Thai. Later on he would state that the technique used in Muay Thai didn’t impress him much but admitted that he found Muay Thai impressively brutal and the realistic training methods used in Muay Thai, very valuable.
After he came back to Japan, Kurosaki opened his own dojo in the Mejiro district of Tokyo where he started to teach his own hybrid art which at the time he called Shin-Kakuto-Jutsu. On April 11th, 1966 the first Kickboxing event was held in Osaka, Japan. Just like the sport of kickboxing, the Mejiro Gym (now Kurosaki Gym) became very popular and created many champions like Kunimitsu Okao, Mitsuo Shima and Toshio Fujiware.
Toshio Fujiwara was the first non-Thai to win an official Thai boxing title in the infamous Rajadamnern Stadium in Thailand. In the 1980’s the sport began to die in popularity because of poor television ratings, however, K-1 was broadcasted on T.V again in 1993 which led to kickboxing’s resurgence in popularity. The rules were then modified to remove elbows and limiting aspects of the clinch.
Andy Hug vs Peter Aerts, K-1
1975 Jan Plas, Kickboxing in Holland
In 1975 three Kyokushin Karate fighters from Amsterdam, the Netherlands came to Tokyo to train at the Kyokushin Honbu (headquarters) but took notice of the new sport of Kickboxing which impressed them. The three Dutchmen; Jan Plas, Peter van den Hemel and Jan van Looijen, decided to shift their focus to Kickboxing and went to the famous Mejiro gym to train under Kenji Kurosaki. Kurosaki, nicknamed “The Devil” for his tough training routine, tested and accepted the new students in his gym and had them train with his champions Mitsuo Shima and Toshio Fujiwara.
(front) Toshio Fujiwara Vs Jan Plas (back) Mitsuo Shima and Jan van Looijen, Mejiro Gym Tokyo, Japan, 1975
Once back in the Netherlands, Jan Plas opened up the first Kickboxing gym in Amsterdam, named Mejiro Gym, to honor Kurosaki’s dojo. Plas and Jan van Looijen together with Tom Harinck (Chakuriki dojo), founded the Dutch Kick Boxing Association(N.K.B.B.). On May 31st, 1976 the first of many Kickboxing events was held in Amsterdam. Among the first Mejiro Gym fighters were Johan Vos and Lucien Carbin who later became successful trainers in their own right. In the years that followed Jan Plas would perfect the Mejiro Gym style of Kickboxing and produce many world-class fighters. It was in these early days that a rivalry started between the Mejiro Gym and other Amsterdam based Kickboxing gyms; the Chakuriki and the Vos Gym. The rivalries boosted the level of competition, which in turn resulted in a large number of world champions fighting out of the Netherlands. Rob Kaman of the Mejiro Gym became the first world champion Kickboxer in 1982, followed André Brilleman, Fred Royers, Milo el Geubli, Tommy van der Berg, Andre Mannaart and Remy Bonjasky. By the late 1990’s, Jan Plas left the Mejiro Gym and turned it over to his student, Andre Mannaart. From then on he would focus his energy on single fighters, outside of the gym, that where fighting professionally on the K-1 circuit in Japan. First he assisted his friend Johan Vos by training and coaching of K-1 legend Ernesto “Mr Perfect” Hoost and later on he worked with multiple K-1 champion, Peter “The Lumberjack” Aerts. On September 1, 2010, Jan Plas passed away at the age of 65, his legacy being that he is widely regarded as the Godfather of Dutch Kickboxing .
1978 Johan Vos & the Vos Gym
Johan Vos started practicing martial arts at a young age by learning an ancient Japanese form of Jujutsu. As a young man he developed a reputation as a strong Kyokushin Karate fighter but he also studied boxing and Savate (French Kickboxing) while graduating with a degree in Physical Education. When Jan Plas returned from Japan and opened his own Mejiro Gym, Vos decided to team up with his former training partner to teach the Karate classes while training Kickboxing under Plas.
Jan Plas, Johan Vos, Lucien Carbin
In 1978 Johan Vos decided to start his own gym. Vos turned out to be a magnificent trainer who over time would make refinements to his kickboxing style and training methods. He used constantly changing training-drills to simulate different fighting scenarios to prepare his students for competition.
Coach Johan Vos 1992
The Vos Gym soon had a stable of great fighters and with champions like Ivan Sprang, Mousid Akhamrane, Lucia Rijker and Ivan Hippolyte, the Vos Gym began to compete with the other two big gyms in Amsterdam; Chakuriki and Mejiro Gym.
Currently, retired World Champion Ivan Hippolyte, a student of Johan Vos, runs the Vos Gym.
2010 Antoni Hardonk, Dynamix MMA
In 1990, Jan van Looijen introduced Antoni Hardonk to martial arts. Van Looijen was one of the pioneers of Dutch Kickboxing, who learned Kickboxing in Tokyo from Kenji Kurosaki, and trained his sons along with Antoni. Hardonk developed a passion for the art of kickboxing and became interested in competition and joining a gym with a fight team. He decided to join the Vos Gym, which at the time was one of the most dominant teams on the kickboxing scene. At the Vos Gym he had the opportunity to train among and learn from kickboxing legends Ivan Hippolyte and Ernesto hoost, and even receive instruction from Jan Plas himself. Soon after, Antoni started his competitive career and began to progress through the kickboxing ranks. At the same time, his eagerness to learn lead him to study other martial arts such as Kyokushin Karate, Savate, Boxing, and JuJutsu, as well. As he became a more proficient striker, he was taken under the wing of head coach Johan Vos and had the opportunity to study the art of standup in great detail. It was during this time that he developed an understanding of the concepts that form the basis of the Dynamix Striking System–concepts of body mechanics, balance, distance control, and movement patterns. In 2000, Antoni reached the highest level of professional kickboxing competition by winning his K-1 debut with a second round knockout. In the following year, Antoni made it to the finals of the K-1 Scandinavia tournament.
Antoni Hardonk with Johan Vos, 2001 K-1
In 2002 Hardonk was exposed to the Brazilian style of Jiu-Jitsu as developed by the Gracie family. His desire to further develop as a martial artist made him travel to Los Angeles, Califiornia, to study under the Jiu-Jitsu legend Rickson Gracie. He would regularly travel to LA for half of the year to train at the Rickson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Acadamy. It was at Rickson’s school that he became friends with Rickson’s head instructor and black belt prodigy; Henry Akins.
Antoni Hardonk training with Henry Akins, BJJ Black Belt
Shortly after, Hardonk started wrestling with Soviet wrestling champion and UFC veteran, Vladimir Matyushenko. It was through this cross-training that Hardonk evolved from a striker into a complete MMA fighter. In 2006 Antoni signed with the most prestigious martial arts organization in the world, the Ultimate fighting championship (UFC) and became known as one of the most technical strikers in the heavyweight division.
Antoni Hardonk vs Chieck Congo, UFC 97
In 2010, Antoni Hardonk decides to retire from competition and open up a gym where he can pass on his martial arts knowledge. Together with Rickson Garcie Jiu-Jitsu black belt, Henry Akins, he starts Dynamix MMA in Los Angeles, CA. Although Antoni transitioned from a fighter into a coach, he never stopped developing his own martial arts knowledge. In the years that followed he made adjustments to the different styles he learned to combine them into a single, effective fighting system for modern-day MMA and self-defense. Antoni and Dynamix MMA have helped and trained many UFC fighters, reputable kick boxers and grapplers along the way.
Antoni Hardonk trains Stefan Struve, UFC heavyweight