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There have been many forms of striking that have infiltrated modern Martial Arts, and utilising forms like taekwondo, karate, muay thai or boxing gives athletes an extremely versatile platform for improvement. Combat sports has become increasingly popular worldwide, and in the United States of America, boxing vs mma who would win is a common question asked by viewers. The UFC has become a platform for all combat athletes to test their abilities, and even though the art has wrestling, and grappling heavily embedded into its make up, it is the striking arts that brings in the excitement, and the fans.

What this article covers:

Professional boxers have incredible skills in the striking arts, which makes them a hard proposition for any combat athlete. The same can be said about kung fu specialists, as they also have an incredible ability to use a diverse range of kick boxing skills. Pitting these two art forms against each other is similar to a fight between taekwondo vs boxing, and commonly a puncher versus a kicker can go either way. Boxing, and kung fu both have highly effective methods of combat, and any art form that uses a series of fast, and accurate striking techniques is going to be a dangerous prospect.


Boxing has a dubious history, with its brutality dating back to Mesopotamian times. Ancient depictions show men engaging in battles with their fists, which shows that boxing was a part of the early times of human history. Ancient India, and Ancient Greece have many links to early forms of boxing, as contests between these athletes would often end in death, and disfigurement. Many cultures worldwide have ties to boxing, with places like Egypt, Iraq, India, Greece, Rome, Indonesia and Ethiopia having all shown ancient forms of boxing. Combat sports have been around since the beginning of man, and the evolution of this brutal form of combat has taken many turns along the way. 

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kung fu vs boxing

The evolution of Martial Arts will always improve the standard of combat, and boxing has come from a brutal past to a more modern, and civilized art form. Boxing has infiltrated the modern world, as countries like France, Mexico, America, and Great Britain all have claims to a rich history of the sport. In England and the United States of America, boxing was outlawed due to its bare knuckled, and brutal form of combat. Underground prize fights were regularly put on by dubious casino organisations, and these fights were often broken up by the authorities. With the rise of many combat athletes, the illegitimate sport was pushing to become a more prominent, and civilised combative form. In 1867 this dream was realised, as the introduction of the Marquess of Queensberry Rules system helped to drive the sport towards a future of legitimacy. 

Finally boxing was on the move, as the art began using timed rounds, boxing gloves, and a boxing ring, which turned the thuggish bare knuckled fight into a civilised combat art. Even though boxing was heading in the right direction there was still a worldwide disgust in a sport that allowed two men to pulverize each other's faces inside of a ring. This contributed to a slowed down progression of the sport, and it wasn't until the late nineteenth century, and the push from various promoters, that the art finally became legitimised. The culmination of the first ever boxing world championship in 1892 led to a whirlwind of interest from many up and coming athletes. Boxing was now turning into a comprehensive art form, and many spectators were drawn to the sport, as the evolution from the previous brutal fights to the death had now become a multi billion dollar commercial enterprise.


Kung Fu, and other forms of Chinese Martial Arts including Chinese wrestling have links to thousands of years before the construction of the Shaolin Monastery. There are misconceptions that say kung fu began In 495 AD, when the Shaolin temple was built in the Song mountains in Henan province in China, but this information is untrue. The art had already been around previously, but many developments over the years were engineered by Shaolin monks. The first monk who preached Buddhism was an Indian monk named Buddhabhadra. It was here that the development of many kung fu traits began, and the use of weapons like the staff indicated that Buddhabhadra, and his disciples were military men, before they took their vows in front of their monastery.

Bodhidharma, who was known as Daruma to the Japanese, was a Shaolin monk who began the physical training of Martial Arts at the Shaolin Monastery, which led to the creation of Shaolin kung fu. During the period of the Sui dynasty between 581 and 618, Shaolin Kung Fu began taking a more prominent form. Shaolin monks would begin to create their own systematic form of fighting called the eighteen methods of Luohan,  which was strong with Buddhist philosophy. This led to more advanced systems of kung fu, as these powerful skills were showcased throughout the Sui dynasty. Shaolin kung fu became folklore as it entered the Ming dynasty, and beyond, and the art of kung fu evolved throughout the generations. 

During the sixteenth century military experts were traveling from all over China to visit, and learn the ways of Shaolin kung fu. Learning this dynamic, and spiritual Martial Art gave strength to many Chinese warriors, as they extended their knowledge beyond the teachings of traditional Chinese Martial Arts. By the start of the seventeenth century a Martial Arts manual was written called the 'Exposition of the Original Shaolin Staff Method' and this referred to ten years of knowledge from a monk living within the Monastery walls. Shaolin kung fu was breeding at a rapid rate, and many disciples of Shaolin continued to develop these masterful ways of the warrior well into the modern era.


Martial Arts became extremely favourable in the 1970's after the influx of kung fu movies. Movie stars, and Martial Artists like Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, and Lieh Lo starred extensively in famous films that inspired many fans in western culture. Movies like Enter the Dragon, Five Fingers of Death, Fists of Fury, and Duel of the Iron Fist all made waves in western society, which led to an influx of people wanting to learn the art of kung fu. This became a prominent influence on modern Martial Arts, as the resurrection of cultured Martial Arts was born again. This led to decades of Martial Artists fighting for supremacy, as the question of which art forms were the best, grappling martial arts or boxing martial arts.

The culmination of different styles of Martial Arts made way for the inaugural Ultimate Fighting Championship, which was located on American soil. Artists from kung fu, boxing, jiu jitsu, Judo, wrestling, kick boxing, shoot fighting, savate, sumo, sambo, catch wrestling, and karate all battled to display their form of combat. Many onlookers expected kung fu or boxing to take precedence, but the unlikely hero of jiu jitsu showcased the supremacy of the grappling arts. This only fueled the fire, as all styles of Martial Arts began adding layers to their game style. This was the birth of modern Mixed Martial Arts, and as these combat athletes evolved with the times, so did their comprehensive styles of combat.


In the modern form of Mixed Martial Arts combat athletes have a wide range of Martial Arts skills, and because of the ability a combatant has to take down their opponent, this has the capacity of changing the very nature of any striking Martial Artists style. All striking arts utilise certain stances in order to execute punches or kicks, but in Mixed Martial Arts this goes out the window due to the nature of the takedown game. Boxing probably has more prominence in Mixed Martial Arts than Kung Fu does, and this is because the art of boxing can be adapted to MMA easier than Kung Fu can. Kung Fu is a lot like Karate, and has a side on style that was developed to utilise high calibre kicking techniques, and even though this can be extremely effective in Mixed Martial Arts, there are always dangers associated. The great aspect about Boxing is that an athlete can change their stance to account for the takedown game, which gives boxing a clear advantage over Kung Fu in terms of Mixed Martial Arts.

In Mixed Martial Arts many fighters use both of these styles of combat, and famous names like Connor McGregor, Junior Dos Santos, Nate Diaz, Francis Ngannou, Stephen Thompson, Anderson Silva, George St Pierre, and Tony Ferguson all represent their respective form of combat. These experienced strikers have employed boxing, and kung fu techniques for years in the UFC, and their formidable styles of striking have outlasted many other forms of combat in Mixed Martial Arts. The fans of MMA all respect a good knockout, and the dynamic nature of a good striking art has vastly improved the quality of the fight game within the cage.


All striking Martial Arts require athletes to be extremely  conditioned in both strength, and cardiovascular ability. Improving an athlete's strength and conditioning is a critical aspect in becoming a more proficient striker in any combative art. Using traditional weight lifting regimes can always help athletes gain considerable amounts of strength, but in terms of combat sports it makes more sense to use functional strength exercises. This means performing workouts like squats, or jump squats, push ups and sit ups, multi directional lunges, and other various exercises like rotational leg and arm swings, switch punch extensions, or shoulder raises. Increasing cardio ability is crucial, and athletes can do this by simply running, interval sprinting, and other exercises like skipping, which promotes an extensive amount of cardiorespiratory endurance.

Improving striking skills is more than just conditioning, it involves technical skills in punching and kicking. Utilising different methods like hitting the focus mitts, or kicking the Thai pads is a pivotal part in becoming an experienced striker. Athletes will often throw various combinations, and work on their accuracy, their form, and their power. Boxing bags are also critical for developing power, speed, and evasive maneuvers, as the heavy bag is used to develop hard combinations, and other bags like the double ended bag, and the speed bag are used for mastering evasive movements, and working on timing, and speed, respectively. All good strikers will also work prominently on sparring skills, as there is nothing like real life training partners to help bolster an athlete's skills in the striking arts.

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boxing vs kung fu in mma

One of the most important aspects in striking is footwork, and all athletes can improve their footwork skills by using different training methods. Lateral movement is crucial in the striking art, and is used for moving into more advantageous positions in order to execute punches, and kicks. Athletes can improve these skills by working on shadow boxing exercises, which will force an athlete to use their feet in a coordinated manner, so they can execute a clinical, and efficient style of striking. Head movement is also important, which can be combined with striking combinations in shadow boxing workouts, and using slipping, rolling under, ducking, and feinting is a great way to practice evasive maneuvers in conjunction with good footwork skills.


Combat sports can be extremely fickle, and on any given day any athlete from any style of Martial Arts can win in a fight. Some styles of Martial Art forms are superior to others, but at the end of the day it does come down to the athlete's individual skill, athleticism, aggressiveness, composure, and resilience. Boxing versus kung fu is a lot similar to boxing vs karate, and both of these two Martial Arts are extremely resilient, and have a reputation for being extremely energetic, and formidable. Both of these forms of combat have different strengths, and weaknesses, which can dictate the winner of this fight.

Boxing has a clear advantage in their punching ability, as commonly boxers will use footwork skills to get in close, and use rotation of their hips to administer fast, accurate, and heavy punches to their opponents. Kung Fu also has good punching ability, but is more favoured towards the lighter style of punches, but the Shaolin art has a well documented prominence in kicking ability. It would be extremely hard to pick a winner between these two combative arts, and in the modern day Kung Fu artists would have to have the advantage. This is because they also have exceptional skills in boxing, coupled with their ability to use hard leg kicks, and other various kicks like spinning back kicks, side kicks, and high kicks to the head. This makes Kung Fu the winner of this fight, but a boxing athlete is definitely no slouch in the combative arts. 

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