The International Shootfighting Association (ISFA) is the highest sanctioning body and world governing body for the sport of Shootfighting. The sport is a type of martial art and combat sport. Charles Istaz, born in Belgium and raised in Germany, was a professional wrestler and trainer and went by the ring name of Karl Gotch. Charles is widely regarded as the one who can be credited with the initiation of the sport. He taught Japanese professional wrestlers catch wrestling techniques. This type of wrestling is a hybrid grappling style with its own unique submission holds or ‘hooks’. Charles was known as the ‘god of wrestling’ as a result of how he shaped the Japanese professional wrestling style. One of his students, Muhammad Hussain Inoki, a retired professional wrestler and promoter of professional wrestling and mixed martial arts, created a series of mixed martial arts matches in 1976. From here the interest increased and directly led to the formation of the sport shoot wrestling. Bart Vale, an American former kickboxer and with a background in Concocted Combat, coined the world ‘shootfighting’. Vale was the Japanese Professional Wrestling Fujiwara Gumi champion for three years.
When Vale moved back to the States, he used techniques from shoot wrestling learned in Japan and combined it with his own experience in jujutsu, Muay Thai and kenpō to create the hybrid fighting style of shootfighting. He also founded ISFA with the specific purpose of promoting it as a combat sport. ISFA regard shootfighting as the ultimate martial art, combining Muay Thai and total body Submission Grappling. Participants can transition from a stand-up position to the ground. Fights are won when an opponent is knocked down for a ten-count. During a submission hold, an opponent may use the rope of the ring to break the hold. Once this is done up to 15 times, a player loses the fight. Bouts that go to the full-time limit are declared a draw. Shootfighting, through the promotion of ISFA, is a fast-growing combat sport that is known for its development of a participant’s stamina and self-defense skills. The federation is based in Sunrise, Florida.