Respect Your Elders: A Look Into Kickfighting History with David Leonardo Barcena (Pt. 1)

In the last two or three years kickboxing and muay thai has undergone somewhat of an explosion in the western world. With the introduction of massive organizations like GLORY, Lion Fight, Superkombat, MAX, and Thai Fight, kickfighting is experiencing a surge of popularity that nearly rivals its golden age appeal.

Contrary to what youtube may lead us to be believe, the sport of kickboxing did not begin with K-1. Before the original continent spanning promotion changed the perception of what kickboxing was, certain legendary fighters from around the world helped establish the sport we know today.

David Leonardo Barcena is a longtime student of kickboxing history. A resident of Spain, David is currently in the midst of composing a book on the history of kickboxing. In this new bi-weekly segment on Fight Sport Asia, David Leonardo Barcena will give us a glimpse into the heart this sport’s storied and (mostly) unwritten past. We might see fighter highlights, organization highlights, or stories from an era most of us weren’t around to remember.

We sincerely appreciate David granting us his insight into a near forgotten aspect of sports lore, and would like to thank him by encouraging the progress of his new book, set to be released at an undefined date.

Lucien Carbin, the first European legend .

Carbin 01

Many of you know Lucien Carbin as a great trainer. In fact, his pupils have always been among the best in the world within the sphere of kick boxing. He has trained some of the greatest champions all time; Alistair Overeem, Tyrone Spong, Rob Kaman (in his early years), Ilonka Elmont, Gilbert Yvel, Frank Lobman, Sergio Wielzen, the next star Andy Ristie and many, many more …

Despite his wide-spread fame as a trainer, Lucien Carbin had an equal amount of success as fighter, and he was an extraordinary fighter at that. In a time where earning fame through kickboxing exploits was difficult at best, Carbin became one of the first well known kickboxing stars in Europe.

Lucien began training Kyokushinkai Karate with the European Karate pioneer, Jon Bluming, and then began his kickboxing training with Jan Plas, who was the one of first famous Kickboxing trainers in the world. (Jan Plas and the frenchman Patrick Brizon were the first duo to teach Kickboxing in Europe).

During his time in Kyokushinkai Karate, Carbin won the First European Kyokushin Championships, which was held in London in 1978.

From 1976 onwards Carbin was among the first kickboxers to make a name for himself in Europe. He was the star on every fight card, and became known as an absolute terror in the ring. Carbin dominated the sport during the 70’s and 80’s, with few challengers who stood to oppose him. He also inspired great champions like Rob Kaman, who became interested in kickboxing after seeing Carbin fight.


Lucien was champion in many styles; Dutch champion in Kyokushinkai, Kick boxing and Full contact,
European champion in Kyokushin, Kick boxing and Savate champion, and world Kick boxing champion.

Lucien Carbin was a legend of kickboxing.

By: David Leonardo Barcena.


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Categories: Kickboxing


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