What is kickboxing and is it the sport for you? This guide will share all you need to know about it.
Are you ready to have a full-body workout that kicks some serious butt?
Combining the sharpness of martial arts with the agility of boxing and the fitness regimen of a full cardio workout, kickboxing is a complete package sport.
What is Kickboxing?
Kickboxing is a stand-up combat sport that is a mix of Karate, Muay Thai and Western Boxing. It combines powerful kicks from Karate and agile handwork from boxing and is practiced as for fitness, self-defense and also as a contact sport.
Also, kickboxing is essentially a term that is used to describe a number of sports that include a mix of kicking and punching. Pardel Serey from Cambodia, Lethwei from Burma, Yaw-Yan from Philippines, Laotian Muay Lao, Indian Mushti Yudha, French Savate and the immensely popular Muay Thai are all forms of kickboxing.
Deciding which one to take up will depend on:
- your personal goals (Do you want to specialize in a particular type of self-defense or want to add a kick to your workout?),
- finding the right instructor (instructors most likely specialize in 2-3 forms so you need to find one near your home or office who specializes in the sport),
- and being honest about how much you can handle (it is one of the toughest workout regimens out there with advanced exercises that can take the wind out of you if you aren’t prepared).
Why Boxing Is The Best Fitness Routine [Infographic]
Besides being a wonderful sport, boxing is now taken up as a fitness routine by a lot of people. Some of the top Victoria’s Secret models incorporate boxing into their workout routines.
The following infographic lists down the top 10 reasons why boxing helps you and your body. According to it, boxing works as a very good stress buster as it does not let you think about anything else than fighting while you are on it.
History of Kickboxing
What is kickboxing and what’s its origin? One of the earliest origins of kickboxing can be traced back to the Indochinese martial arts form Muay Boran which developed into the modern Muay Thai.
However, it was during the 1950s that Japanese karateka Tatsuo Yamada first established an outline of a new sport that combined Karate and Muay Thai as a competition-level sport.
Eventually, competitions between Karate and Muay Thai, which allowed rule modifications, led to proper kickboxing events being held in Osaka.
In 1970, kickboxing reached America and slowly spread into parts of Europe. After a period of high, kickboxing vanished from popular notice.
Interestingly, the media popularity of the K-1 series produced in 1993 by Kazuyoshi Ishii brought the sport back to the limelight and “Glove Karate” eventually became the fastest-growing armature sport in Japan.
Full contact karate was officially separated from kickboxing with the formation of the Professional Karate Association (PKA) in 1974 and the World Kickboxing Association (WKA) in 1976.
They were the first organized body of martial arts on a global scale to sanction fights, create ranking systems, and institute a development program.
The rules of kickboxing vary largely depending on their origin and adaptation. There are full contact rules, semi-contact rules and international or freestyle rules that define how you are supposed to strike your opponent.
Boxing vs. Kickboxing
Though they belong to a relatively same category, boxing and kickboxing have shared advantages and disadvantages.
The basic one stems out if both are practiced as sports. Sports come with a set of rules but when fighting in the street, rules get tossed out.
None of these sports allow to bite, gouge or hit the groin – all of which are common mechanisms of offense during a street fight.
The shared advantage of both sports is that the players spend a lot of time taking a good beating which means they don’t panic when that happens in real-time.
What is kickboxing? It allows the use of hands, feet, elbows, and knees as striking weapons increasing the range of offense and defense mechanisms.
Boxing is considered as a very good fitness routine. Boxing focuses only on punches and sometimes a single good punch is enough to seal the deal. Boxers may tend to be slightly faster than kickboxers because they practice lightning-fast reaction times to jaw splitting punches.
No one sport is better than the other as it depends on the practitioner’s execution abilities. When fighting in the street, you may come across styles you’ve never seen and your ability and mastery of your own art will determine the winner or the loser in the fight.
Health Benefits of Kickboxing
Kickboxing provides the combined benefits of martial arts and a killer workout. It improves flexibility, keeps you focused and builds you for both competition level fights and street self-defense.
- Kickboxing for the body
Kickboxing is one of the most intense workouts out there. From cardio conditioning to strength building, a half hour kickboxing workout a day can work every muscle and bone in your body.
- Kickboxing for the mind
Like any other form of martial arts, kickboxing helps coordinate your mind and body making it ready for offense and defense.
It combines the speed and techniques of karate with the agility and power of boxing, making it one of the most followed martial art forms. It can convert your body into the effective fighting machine that your mind imagines it to be giving you strength, flexibility and confidence to take on those physically taller or stronger than you.
- Kickboxing for the soul
Meditation is an important part of any martial art as it improves focus and reaction time which can give you an edge over your opponent when sparring or in a real fight.
Once you are in an advanced stage, you can even reach a heightened state of awareness of your surroundings, cutting out the noise from the background and being able to capture the smallest details.
Some facts around kickboxing:
If it wasn’t for the medium of television, kickboxing wouldn’t have reached the mass popularity that it enjoys today. And if it weren’t for the movies and Jean Claude Van Damme, it wouldn’t have made its mark in folklore.
The movie ‘Kickboxer’ starring Jean Damme from 1989 is among the top 10 best Hollywood action movies of all time.
So is Bloodsport (1988) which epitomized the ‘blindfold’ fight between Chong Li and Damme which has been copied in numerous movies thereafter.
After that the Bloodfist series and movies like Never Back Down continue to popularize the sport among viewers inspiring the next generation of fighters to make this a sport of choice.
Now that you know everything important about kickboxing, what’s your experience with it? Or if you haven’t given it a try, are you going to?
About The Author
This is a guest post by Prabhat – an avid lover of technology, who likes to blog about fitness and how technology can help us in maintaining health and fitness. He is an active contributor to Health Listed. Apart from blogging, his hobbies are photography and cooking.