Founded in 1986 the International Sport Karate Association (ISKA) was restructured in 1988 as a Florida corporation, and since that time has developed sport karate, and kickboxing in particular, beyond any level previously achieved.
Launched in Europe on October 9th, 1986 its growth has spanned across the political map reaching into countries formerly located behind the Iron curtain. The first sanctioning body in eastern Countries and South Africa it is also established as the only body to sanction Muay-Thai fights in Thailand.
Holding a 55% market share of World Wide market in Kickboxing sports, outside of Thailand, ISKA has a presence on all continents.
ISKA events have been televised around the world by companies such as ESPN, SKYSPORT, CHANNEL+, NETWORK 7, SKY, FOX TV and EUROSPORT along with many other TV companies around the world. There is no doubt ISKA has become the most televised sanctioning body in the world.
Active in about 60 countries ISKA boasts 3 world council representatives, and more than 100 officials. Combine this with 4000 plus professional fighters and it becomes obvious that the ratings are the largest for this sport.
The directors of ISKA have been involved in the development of the sport as promoters, judges, referees, managers, rule makers and more, since the beginnings of professional karate-kickboxing in the 1970’s.i
As a sanctioning body, three major responsibilities of ISKA are:
- The establishment and constant updating of the rules under which the sport is conducted.
- The maintenance of accurate world ratings (along with supporting regional, national and continental ratings), including awarding of titles at all levels and maintenance of appropriate title defense policies.
- The training, updating and upgrading of referees, judges and other officials.
In addition to sanctioning, ISKA also functions as a matchmaker, event coordinator and television broker. Accreditation of approved clubs, and networking to assist these clubs to best achieve their goals is a primary function of ISKA.
In order for martial arts to achieve status in the World as a mainstream sport, it is essential the best title matches have consistent coverage on live television and in sports pages of major newspapers and magazines. ISKA Entertainment Company (IEC) has the experience and talent to drive world class kickboxing into the forefront of sport entertainment television and pay-per-view arenas!
In Australia ISKA operates as the International Sports Karate Association Australia Incorporate. We are Incorporated in NSW and Registered as and Australian Body (re-established in 2015 via dissolving all existing entities representing ISKA). The Aim of ISKA in Australia is to be the peak body for sports martial arts competition. Our Constitution is available here
More recently under its current leadership in Australia ISKA has taken maters concerning martial arts competition to the highest levels of state and federal government to ensure that the correct governance is in place for continued growth of the sport. To that end the board of ISKA has set its sights on the goal of becoming and NSO for sport martial arts
Meet the Team
Board of Directors
In Australia ISKA is currently lead strategically by a board comprised of 7 roles elected by its members, and 1 appointed manager
Mr Paul Zadro Chairman, Non Executive Director & International Representative
Paul started Martial Arts training in the early 70’s, running his first martial arts tournament during the 80’s. He was key to the initial establishment of ISKA in Australia in 1995 after the decision to reorganise ISKA Australia was made in 2014 he became a caretaker until the first AGM of the new ISKA was held in 2016 at which point he was nominated as a Non-Executive Director and also Chairman. He currently acts as the International Representative for Australia to ISKA globally. Paul runs one of the largest and most successful professional martial arts schools in Australia with multiple locations across Western Sydney.
Mr Jonathan Gleeson Executive General Manager & Managing Director
Jonathan has close to 30 years experience in the Martial Arts and has been involved with the administration and operation of ISKA since 2000. He holds a Masters in Business Administration and a Bachelor of Information Technology Degree. Professionally he leads the Operations for one of Australia’s largest telecommunication providers, He is been a Director of several tech industry entities. He was appointed to the position of Managing Director of ISKA in 2013 and has since established the organisation as an incorporated sporting body operating across Australia which has seen major shifts in the operations of ISKA including the establishment of events in several states, a complete uplift in marketing, an improved financial state as well as the addition of several large corporate sponsorship deals.
Mr Kip Stavrou Executive Director & Head Referee
Kip has studied in various styles of martial arts over the years. Professionally Kip is a calibration manager dealing with precision scientific equipment. As Non-Executive Director Kip was appointed to the board at the 2016 AGM. He has however been involved with the operations of ISKA since the early 90’s, Currently he additionally serves as the Head Referee for Sports Karate and as a result also Chairs the Sport Karate rules sub-committee and oversees the referee training and accreditation programs.
Mr William Wakefield Non Executive Director
Bill, has spent his life traveling and studying martial arts around the world. With his many years of knowledge he pioneered the introduction of martial arts into schools and the community of the Gold Coast in Queensland. He currently operates a successful full time martial arts school in the Gold Coast and has several times been recognized by the Queensland state government as sportsman of the year for his contributions to martial arts as a sport in the state. He was appointed as a Non-Executive Director at the 2016 AGM.
Mr Ian Pollet Non Executive Director
Mr Graham Macdonnell Non Executive Director
Ms Jen Marsham Non Executive Director
Jen was elected to the board at the 2018 AGM. She run’s a successful Martial Arts school in Geelong Victoria and is an active ISKA promoter hosting the Geelong Classic annually. She is keen to see a growth of sports Martial Arts with a particular focus on her home state of Victoria.
Ms Kristy Kirkwood Non Executive Director
Kristy was elected to the board at the 2019 AGM. She run’s a successful Martial Arts school in the south western Sydney region and actively co promotes the ISKA Australian National Championship.
- Kip Stavrou 2016 – 2019, 2019 –
- Paul Zadro 2016 – 2019, 2019 –
- Vincent Busuttil 2016 – 2017
- John Tooby 2016 – 2020
- Ali Cetindag 2016 – 2020
ISKA Executive Team
In Australia the ISKA Executive Team is responsible for the operations of ISKA, essentially ensuring the strategic direction set by the board is turned into a reality.
Jonathan Gleeson Executive General Manager & Managing Director
Katherine Emerton Head of Policy and Compliance
Alex Kirkwood Head of Brand, Marketing and Communications
Kip Stavrou Head Referee
Sport Karate Rules Advisory Subcommittee
The Sport Karate Rules Advisory Sub-committee (SKRA) is responsible for the establishment, maintenance, enforcement and arbitration of the ISKA sport karate rules.
- Kip Stavrou – Committee Chair
- Jonathan Gleeson
- Ross Jackson
- Ali Cetindag
Our Arbitrators are responsible for resolution of issue as a result of violations of rules at our events, One of the following people will be designated Arbitrator at each event and will address all issues, complaints etc that may occur. Additional they are also the event safety officer.
- Kip Stavrou
- Jonathan Gleeson
- Kristy Kirkwood
- Ross Jackson
- Ali Cetindag
- Geoff French
- Ray Gardiner
- Dave Phipps
Promoters are the individuals behind the organisation of our events. Without them none of the events are possible, Our 2020 event promoters are –
Jonathan Gleeson – Australian National Championship, Victorian Championship, Battle of Canberra
Kristy Kirkwood – Australian National Championship, Victorian Championship, Battle of Canberra
Paul Zadro – NSW Open, CCP
Ian Pollet – NSW Western Open (Bathurst NSW)
Ali Cetindag – Sydney City Open
Bill Suckling – VIC Open
Bill Wakefield – Gold Coast Cup, Queensland Championship
Graham Macdonnell – Perth Open, WA Open
Jen Marsham – Melbourne Open, Geelong Classic
Ross Jackson – NSW Winter Open
Peter Kirkwood – Valley Open (Hunter Valley NSW)
Jeff French – Kingaroy Open
Paul Hart – Toowoomba Open
Ray Gardiner – Battle of the Bay (Moreton Bay / Morayfield QLD)
Bill & Natalie Young – Central Coast Open
Kip Stavrou – Central Coast Open
Isa Bektatrovski – Illawarra Championship (Wollongong NSW)
Combat / Ring Sports Sub-committee
The Combat / Ring Sports Sub-committee (CRSS) has been established to govern Combat / Ring sports operations conducted on behalf of ISKA under the umbrella of ISKA Combat & Ring Sports PTY LTD (an entity whole owned by International Sports Karate Association Australia Incorporated)
- Jeff Bullock (Chair, National Ring Sport Operations, QLD Operations)
- Fari Salievski (NSW Operations)
- Robert Murdoch
- Jonathan Gleeson