Top Dutch Kickboxers: Legends & Rising Stars

Finn Mitoma
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dutch kickboxers

Dutch kickboxers have made a significant impact on the world of martial arts, especially in kickboxing. The Netherlands has a rich history of producing top kickboxing talent, with many legendary champions and rising stars making their mark in the ring. From the pioneers of Dutch kickboxing to the current generation of fighters, this article explores the achievements and contributions of these remarkable athletes.

Key Takeaways:

  • Dutch kickboxers have a long history of excelling in the sport, producing both legendary champions and up-and-coming stars.
  • The unique style of Dutch kickboxing combines elements of karate and muay thai, creating a formidable fighting technique.
  • Jan Plas is considered the father of Dutch kickboxing, laying the foundation for the sport’s success in the Netherlands.
  • Rob Kaman’s devastating low kicks and Peter Aerts’ powerful high kicks have become iconic elements of Dutch kickboxing.
  • Semmy Schilt’s dominance in the heavyweight division showcased the technical prowess and physical advantage of Dutch kickboxers.

A Brief History Of Dutch Kickboxing

Dutch kickboxing has a unique history that sets it apart from other styles of martial arts. It all started in the 1970s when Dutch fighters like Jan Plas traveled to Japan to train at Kenji Kurosaki’s Mejiro gym. Inspired by the techniques they learned, these fighters went on to develop the Dutch style of kickboxing, which combines elements of karate and muay thai. Over the years, this style has produced a long list of legendary fighters who have made their mark on the sport.

Jan Plas

Jan Plas is widely recognized as the father of Dutch kickboxing, having played a crucial role in shaping and establishing this renowned martial art form. He founded the Amsterdam branch of the Mejiro gym, which became a central hub for kickboxing training and development. Additionally, Plas played a pivotal role in the creation and establishment of the Dutch kickboxing association, further solidifying the sport’s presence in the Netherlands.

Throughout his career, Jan Plas excelled as a trainer and coach, working closely with some of the most celebrated fighters in the discipline. His expertise and guidance were instrumental in the success of renowned kickboxers such as Rob Kaman and Peter Aerts.

Jan Plas’s commitment and contributions to Dutch kickboxing have left an indelible mark on the sport. His untimely passing in 2010 was a great loss to the kickboxing community, but his legacy endures, continuing to shape and influence the Dutch kickboxing scene to this day.

Rob Kaman

Rob Kaman is an iconic figure in Dutch kickboxing, renowned for his impressive career spanning 21 years. His devastating low kicks have become a trademark of his fighting style and have earned him numerous titles in both muay thai and kickboxing disciplines.

Kaman’s journey in martial arts began when he transitioned from a football career to pursue a path in combat sports at a young age. Through his dedication and skill, he quickly rose to the top of the sport, ultimately becoming the world kickboxing champion in 1983.

Rob Kaman’s contribution to Dutch kickboxing goes beyond his championship titles. His technique and fighting style have significantly influenced the development of the sport, shaping the way future generations approach the ring.

Rob Kaman’s impact in the world of Dutch kickboxing is best captured by his impressive list of accomplishments and his ability to inspire fighters around the globe.

Titles Discipline Years
Dutch Open Kickboxing Championship Kickboxing 1982-1984
Professional Karate Association World Lightweight Championship Kickboxing 1984
IFMA World Muay Thai Championship Muay Thai 1984
World Kickboxing Championship Kickboxing 1983, 1985

Rob Kaman’s remarkable career and technical prowess have solidified his place as one of the greats in Dutch kickboxing. His influence continues to resonate in the sport, shaping the techniques and strategies of aspiring kickboxers who seek to follow in his footsteps.

Peter Aerts

peter aerts

Peter Aerts is a legendary heavyweight kickboxer who has established himself as one of the most revered Dutch kickboxing champions in history. Over his illustrious career spanning two decades, Aerts showcased his exceptional skills and secured three K-1 Grand Prix titles, solidifying his status as one of the sport’s greats.

Aerts earned the nickname “The Dutch Lumberjack” due to his powerful strikes and aggressive fighting style. He possessed a diverse arsenal of techniques, but it was his dynamic high kicks that truly set him apart in the ring. His ability to execute devastating knockout blows with precision and flair consistently thrilled audiences around the world.

One of the defining moments in Aerts’ career came when he faced off against Rico Verhoeven, a rising star in the sport. This memorable fight marked a symbolic passing of the torch from one generation of Dutch kickboxers to the next, highlighting Aerts’ status as a legend and paving the way for the next wave of talent.

Peter Aerts’ tenacity, skill, and undeniable talent have left an indelible mark on the world of kickboxing, firmly placing him among the pantheon of Dutch kickboxing champions.

Semmy Schilt

Semmy Schilt is one of the most accomplished Dutch kickboxers in history. Standing at nearly 7 feet tall, Schilt dominated the heavyweight division with his precision and technique. He won four K-1 Grand Prix championships and also held the GLORY heavyweight title. Schilt’s success can be attributed to his background in karate and MMA, as well as his superior skills in the ring. Unfortunately, he retired in 2013 due to health issues.

Despite his early retirement, Semmy Schilt made a lasting impact on Dutch kickboxing. His imposing stature and technical prowess made him a formidable opponent. Schilt’s ability to utilize his reach advantage and deliver devastating strikes set him apart from other fighters. Throughout his career, he showcased his skills against top contenders in the heavyweight division, leaving a lasting legacy in the sport.


Dutch kickboxers have left an indelible mark on the martial arts world, showcasing the unique style and techniques of Dutch kickboxing. From the pioneers like Jan Plas and Rob Kaman to the champions like Peter Aerts and Semmy Schilt, these athletes have brought Dutch kickboxing to new heights.

The legacy of Dutch kickboxing is built on the foundation of its distinctive techniques. The Dutch fighters are known for their impeccable blend of karate and muay thai, incorporating powerful strikes, devastating low kicks, and high kicks that can deliver knockout blows. It is these techniques that have set them apart and made them a force to be reckoned with in the ring.

As the current generation of fighters emerges, the future of Dutch kickboxing looks promising. Rising stars such as Rico Verhoeven, Robin van Roosmalen, and Nieky Holzken have already made their mark in the sport, showcasing their skills and determination. With their remarkable talent, they are on track to continue the legacy of Dutch kickboxing and make a name for themselves in the international arena.

With a rich history of legendary fighters and a new generation of rising stars, Dutch kickboxing remains an exciting and influential discipline in the world of martial arts. As fans and enthusiasts, we can look forward to witnessing the continued growth and success of Dutch kickboxing and the incredible athletes who continue to carry its legacy forward.

Finn Mitoma

Founder @ The Combative

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