Judokickbox (JKB) is the first Cuban Mixed Martial Art developed by Cuban-American martial artist Carlos Finales. He recruited Eric “El Tigre” Castanos a former world kickboxing and Muay Thai Champion as the co-founder. They mixed the best of Cuban Judo with Cuban style kickboxing and boxing.
It was developed in America yet has grown incredibly throughout Cuba and the world. While visiting Cuba friends and trainers in the martial arts they would ask them questions about the fastest growing sport in the world MMA and the UFC. Finales and Castanos explained that it was the fusion of standup fighting and grappling. They started training Cuban fighters and coaches in Judokickbox. It has grown incredibly with a Judokickbox MMA national championship held each year in Cuba. Today there are thousands of fighters in Cuba training in this Cuban style of MMA. There are also affiliates throughout the world.
Let me tell you how I got started with JKB. My first martial arts in my early teens was Judo. It was also in a Judo tournament where I won my first trophy. Yet, my first black belt was in a street fighting style of kung fu, Hung Gar. Which I hold the rank of master. Being a student for life I’ve trained in and became a certified instructor in Muay Thai Kickboxing, Krav Maga, Jeet Kune Do and Haganah. I also train in Gracie Jiu Jitsu. For years I wanted to learn judo since I felt that it would be a great link from my striking to throws or sweeps to ending the fight in a submission hold.
In the last few years my interest in judo got even stronger watching Ronda Rousey outclass her opponents with those vicious judo throws and submitting them within seconds with her signature arm bar. I felt that the missing link in my MMA was going from striking to the ground and submission. Judokickbox trademark was making contact with strikes or blocks followed by judo throws to submissions. I was fortunate enough to find Fraibel Hernandez the U.S.A director of JKB and began my instructor training under his guidance.
On Friday, September 11, 2015 for the first time Judokickbox champions from the island of Cuba competed in a professional MMA card, ULTIMATE COMBAT CHALLENGE 25 at the
Hard Rock Hotel Panama Megapolis. JKB fighter Luis Raul Gomez won his match against a veteran fighter in 18 seconds of the first round by a hip throw and to a submission.
Even though there is no relationship or affiliation with the best way to describe Judokickbox MMA style is by watching UFC champion Ronda Rousey, pound for pound the best UFC Fighter. The only relationship between the two is that Ronda mixes Judo with kickboxing to devastate her opponents. Watching Ronda fight you can understand what Judokickbox calls the chain reaction. In the chain reaction you might attack with hands or feet to make a connection with your opponent, from there you can throw them or sweep them and go straight into an arm bar for a submission.
Cuban’s are known for being world class and Olympic champions in boxing, judo and wrestling. There is no doubt in my mind that in the near future there will be numerous Cuban MMA and UFC champions coming from the ranks of Judokickboxing. Judokickbox motto is “No One Can Stop Us.” I was blessed to have discovered this amazing Cuban Martial Art. It is making me a better martial artist and instructor.
I am now teaching Judokickbox at my martial arts training center Anta’s Fitness and Self Defense, 10721 NW 58 St. in Doral. For more information call us at 305 599-3649