ABOUT THE FOUNDER OF WAKO-PRO
Ennio Falsoni was born in Mantua (Italy), on April 4, 1946.
Following his parents who moved to Milan shortly after World War II, he got a degree at Bocconi University in 1971 in Modern Languages and Literature.
In 1965 he began to practice Shotokan Karate with the first Japanese teacher who came to Milan, Mr. Hiroshi Shirai. Soon Falsoni started competing and in 1967 he became Italian champion (in those days there were no weight classes in the sport). In 1968 he was captain of the Italian national team which captured the gold medal at the first European Shotokan Championships. He won the European title in Kata and took second in individual Kumite in Vienna, Austria, a title that he would win in 1970 in Brussels, Belgium. In 1968 he was a member of the European karate team that travelled to the USA and Mexico to participate in the first ever World Karate Championship under the sanction of the Japan Karate Association (JKA). He finished fifth in the individual kumite competition held in San Francisco and third in teams in Mexico City. Among his other karate successes, he won second place at the WUKO World Karate Championships held at “De Coubertin de Paris” in France in 1972 when he was captain of the Italian national team. He closed out his karate career as a fighter in 1976, winning, again as captain of the national team, at the World Sankukai karate Championship held in Montecarlo.
Ennio Falsoni has also been a successful teacher, promoter and martial arts writer (he has produced 12 books so far). In 1974 he had 14 karate schools of his own and many of his students, like Flavio Galessi, Alessandro Ortelli, Franco Franchi, Federico Milani and Maurizio Facchinetti – just to name a few – dominated the Italian karate scene until 1977 when they switched to “contact karate” and became WAKO European and World champions as well.
In 1976, together with 3 friends, he launched “Samurai” magazine in Italy, the first ever martial arts magazine in the country. He became a journalist and later on the chairman of “Sport Promotion”, a publishing house he owned for many years.
While with Sport Promotion, he produced, acting also as announcer, the famous “Pasqua del Budo”, a real Martial Arts Festival with which he toured Italy in the spring for 20 years, introducing some of the best known and most respected masters in the world to Italian audiences.
In 1977, thanks to an old karate friend, Mr. Geert Lemmens, a famous Belgian karate fighter living in Germany, he met Mr. Georg Bruckner and was a guest at one of his German tournaments in Hamburg. He was very impressed by what he saw.
There were martial artists coming from Kung Fu (the Al Dacascos students), from different karate styles, from Taekwondo and Ju Jitsu who, using simple and easily understandable rules and wearing safety equipment, were competing together. It was something he had never seen before.
“Contact Karate”, as it was known in those days, was the magic formula which could bring all people together. His martial arts life changed completely and he devoted himself to this new cause called WAKO.
He entered the organization immediately, becoming the Italian representative, then WAKO General Secretary in 1979. He produced both European and World WAKO Championships in Italy (respectively in 1979 and in 1981) and was elected president of WAKO in 1984, a position he still occupies to this day. When asked why, he answers, “probably because I am not the worst”. Joking aside, Ennio Falsoni has proven to everybody to be a man of vision, a great martial arts expert and a kickboxing lover.
For more information about how the kickboxing sport developed, please go to www.wakoweb.com
and click on “history”.