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Standardized Tournaments And Ratings System

Historic Kickboxing Ring Records

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Paul Maslak Credits
John Corcoran Credits

The first national newsstand editor of Inside Kung-Fu magazine, Paul Maslak created the STAR (Standardized Tournaments And Ratings) System in 1980 initially as a mechanism for pressing tournament karate directors to adopt the same minimal safety procedures. With the help of colleague John Corcoran, a former PKA events coordinator and then editor of KICK Illustrated, Maslak expanded the STAR ratings into professional kickboxing in response to the organizational partisanship of the contender rankings generated by the sport’s major sanctioning bodies. 

He also wrote the first Official Rules of the World Karate Association in 1980 as well as the revised Official Rules of the World Kickboxing Association: Third Edition, in 1987. After leaving Inside Kung-fu in late 1981, he discontinued the STAR tournament ratings.

Focusing thereafter on the professional ring, the STAR System became the premier rating service for international kickboxing throughout the 1980s, syndicated in some 15 martial arts and sports magazines across the world. Maslak served as ratings commissioner and the STAR System ratings were recognized as the official ratings source for two of the sport’s three major sanctioning bodies, the WKA and KICK


Concurrently with the STAR System, Paul Maslak began to work in the motion picture industry first as casting director for New World Pictures’ No Retreat, No Surrender, in connection with which he helped give industry entrée to Jean-Claude Van Damme, Cynthia Rothrock, Kurt McKinney and Ernie Reyes, Jr. While rising through the ranks of low-budget filmmaking, he co-wrote six produced screenplays and subsequently produced a dozen motion pictures for cable television, including: The Right Temptation starring Kiefer Sutherland and Rebecca DeMornay, Kiss Toledo Goodbye starring Christopher Walken, Red Sun Rising starring Don “The Dragon” Wilson and Sworn to Justice starring Cynthia Rothrock.


Maslak dissolved the STAR System World Ratings for Professional Kickboxing in early 1989 when his business and family obligations became too demanding of his time. He authored two books, Strategy in Unarmed Combat and What The Masters Know (Unique Publications, 1980), based on a statistical study he undertook of professional boxing, full-contact karate (early kickboxing) and Japanese kick-boxing. Having competed in high school wrestling and amateur boxing, while attending college he also studied judo, taekwondo, isshin-ryu, bando, northern shaolin and shorin-ryu. He graduated from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Science in business administration, followed by film school at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA).



As formerPKAevents coordinator and editor ofKICK Illustratedmagazine,John Corcoranco-founded the STAR System kickboxing ratings, lending his expertise and industry connections to establishing the crucial premier edition of the STAR world rankings. He maintains the STAR System’s complete archival history of world title bouts for his publications.


Corcoranis recognized as a foremost reference authority for the martial arts, having been selected by the editors of bothThe World Book Encyclopediain 1986 andMicrosoft’s Encarta (Electronic) Encyclopediain 1996 to write their inaugural entries for martial arts. He also authored elevenbookson the subject, all but two with major New York publishers, which have collectively sold over 400,000 copies worldwide, including: The Complete Martial Arts Catalogue(Simon & Schuster, 1977),Martial Arts: Traditions, History, People (with Emil Farkas, Gallery Books, W.H. Smith Publishers, Inc., 1983),The Overlook Martial Arts Dictionary(with Emil Farkas, Overlook, 1985),The Martial Arts Companion: Culture, History and Enlightenment (BDD Promotional Books, 1992), The Original Martial Arts Encyclopedia: Tradition, History, Pioneers(with Emil Farkas and Stuart Sobel, Pro-Action Publications, 1993),The Martial Arts Sourcebook(Harper, 1994),ACMA Instructor Certification Manual(with John Graden, Graden Communications, 1998), The Ultimate Martial Arts Q&A Book(with John Garden, McGraw-Hill, 2001) andThe Unauthorized Jackie Chan Encyclopedia(McGraw-Hill, 2002).


In 1993, Corcoranwrote the screenplay forAmerican Samurai, starring Mark Dacascosin his film debut. He was a primary technical consultant for the A&E channel’s 1998 landmark TV documentary,The Martial Arts, and worked in that same capacity for 2002’s Modern Warriors, produced by Oscar-nominated documentarianPeter Spirer.


A veteran karate black belt,Corcoranbegan his training in 1967. He credits legendary heavyweight karate champion Joe Lewisas his chief martial arts mentor since 1977. His literary mentors were the late Academy Award-winning screenwriter Stirling Silliphant(In the Heat of the Night,The Towering Inferno, Charly), who was also Bruce Lee's main Hollywood mentor, and best-selling author Joe Hyams(Zen in the Martial Arts,Bogie). He received Gary Lee's Living Legends Hall of Fame Award in 2000, Battle of Atlanta's Hall of Fame Award in 2002, and the Martial Arts History Museum's Funakoshi Awardin 2004.


Over three decades, John Corcoranserved as a founding editor or editor of the most influential martial arts magazines in the industry, starting in 1973 withBlack Belt, followed by Professional Karate, Official Karate,Inside Kung-Fu,KICK IllustratedandThe Fighter International. He is currently editor of Martial Arts Success.