KICK BOXING DRILLS
Kick boxing has become one of the most prolific striking arts in the world. With many different types of kick boxing, each of these unique styles have their own prominence within the community of combat sports. The main styles of kick boxing are Muay Thai Boxing, Savate, American Kick Boxing, and Japanese Kick Boxing. Although these combative forms do differentiate from each other, they all do have the same fundamental principles. Kick boxing involves setting up an opponent with various punching, and kicking combinations, and some of these forms also incorporate elbow, and knee strikes.
What this article covers:
Although each of these forms of combat do have slight differences, they do incorporate many of the same kick boxing training systems. Preparing an athlete for competition takes a lot of specialised work, and depending on whether they are competing in K-1, Muay Thai, or Mixed Martial Arts, the training design is altered slightly. There are many different training drills that have extreme amounts of functionality, all while combining strength and conditioning, and cardiovascular workouts. It takes dedication, and perseverance to endure through any type of kick boxing circuits, and this is because they can be intense, which can have a demanding impact on an athlete both physically, and mentally.
THE MOST POPULAR FORMS OF KICK BOXING
Although there are many forms of kick boxing like Karate, Shoot Boxing, Sanshou, Sanda, and Dutch Kick Boxing, the main few are Muay Thai Boxing, Savate, American Kick Boxing, and Japanese Kick Boxing. Muay Thai has become the most popular, as the notoriety of the traditional sport of Thailand has a fierce reputation. Thai fighters are famous for their clinch work, which enables them to land brutal knee, and elbow strikes. A Muay Thai boxer has a different kick boxing stance to most other forms, as they tend to stand in a more squared up position to their opponent. The main reason is so they can attack their opponents with the Thai clinch, with their knees, and their elbows, which is how a Thai fighter will predominantly score points within a fight. Along with the brutal nature of the knee, and the elbow elements, Muay Thai athletes are notorious for their incredible conditioning, as their shins are made of steel, and their resolve is even more unbreakable.
Savate is the French version of kick boxing, and this can also be quite an intense Martial Art in terms of physical conditioning. Savate is more of a graceful kick boxing art, as it only allows punches, and kicks with their feet. Striking with their shins, elbows, and knees are all illegal, and all Savate fighters wear boots during competition. American kick boxing is another different form that emerged in the 1970's, and around the same time as Martial Artists like Chuck Norris, and Bruce Lee were popularising combat sports. The American style of kick boxing favoured more of a western boxing, and karate feel, and this was because of the rule sets. In American kick boxing athletes are only permitted to strike above the waist with punches, and kicks, and other kick boxing moves like elbows, and knees are deemed illegal. This is why American kick boxing favours more of a boxing style, with some added karate style of kicking.
Even though the famous form of K-1 kick boxing is owned by an organisation in Hong Kong, it originated in Japan in the 1960's. K-1 kick boxing has become the most prolific competitive kick boxing organisation worldwide, as it has boasted great fighters like Peter Aerts, Badr Hari, Ernesto Hoost, Semmy Schilt, Mark Hunt, Alistair Overeem, and Mirko Crocop. K-1 has become an extremely brutal form of kick boxing, and especially since more hardcore rules have been allowed like clinching techniques, elbows strikes, and knees strikes. K-1 has achieved a worldwide notoriety, and has been the starting point for a lot of Mixed Martial Arts champions. Lethwei is another form of kick boxing that would have to be the most brutal form out of all the kick boxing arts. This form is also known as Burmese boxing, which is a full contact form of kick boxing from Myanmar, which was formerly Burma. This combat sport is extremely hardcore, as athletes will compete bare knuckled. This combat sport is often labeled the bloodiest form of all the striking arts. Also known as the art of nine limbs, which is similar to Muay Thai boxing's eight limb philosophy, except Burmese boxing has the added brutality of allowing headbutts, as a part of their striking repertoire.
WHAT TO EXPECT AT A TRAINING SESSION
Athletes can expect a considerable kick boxing workout when they join any striking academy. Combat sports like kick boxing, are not for the faint of heart, and the extremely physical nature of kick boxing will condition any athlete beyond expectations. The common training session will start off with an extensive warmup, and this can include anything from a jogging session, to a light shadow boxing workout, or other exercises like skipping, squat jumps, rotating arm extensions, switch punch extensions, lunges, burpees, and a range of other traditional exercise workouts. Shadow boxing can also become more than just a warmup, as it involves a high intensity of cardiorespiratory endurance training. This will effectively help athletes to build a larger capacity of fitness, while honing in on an abundance of other skills training like footwork, punching form, speed, evasion, and the cohesion of all of these elements.
Athletes can expect to sharpen up their skills on the focus mitts, and this means a series of skills based endurance exercises. Running on the spot and throwing repetitive jabs, or crosses will improve the endurance in the muscle, and will help to perfect the technical components. Athletes will then use more footwork based movements like ducking, weaving, slipping punches, while they throw systematic boxing combinations. The Thai pads will also become heavily utilised, and these are iconic pieces of equipment used for kick boxing combos. Athletes can access a more extensive series of high calibre movements like knees, elbows, hard kicks, and a combination of all these in fluent formations. Using the Thai pads will build a considerable amount of technical skills within an athlete's form, and can also heavily condition their shins for combat.
Boxing bags play a pivotal role in kick boxing training sessions, and this can be a light bag, or the heavy bag. Athletes can work on their power striking, which is also a great conditioning factor for their fists, or their shins, while they can also circle around the bag and practice their footwork, and range. Understanding how to stay out of range, and then move into range to attack an opponent, is a crucial element in becoming a high level striker. Another expectation that most athletes can guarantee is that sparring will take place. This can be light sparring drills, where athletes pull their punches, and work on more of their entries, or they will engage in more full contact conditioning sessions where they simulate real combat matches. Not every student is in it for full contact sparring, but the ones that do engage will improve considerably due to the nature of the battle.
There are a multitude of different drills that are extremely vital for an athlete to improve in kick boxing. Striking Martial Arts has a range of different elements like focus mitts, Thai pads, kick shields, punching bags, real life sparring partners, and a high range of functional exercises to promote different movements within the art. This will give an athlete an extensive range of options for improving all components involved with kick boxing. One of the most important drills is shallow boxing, and although this may seem strange to dance around a mat, and punch into thin air, the correlation between these movements, and how a fighter will achieve total proficiency is extremely well documented. Many iconic legends of the sport utilise shadow boxing techniques to improve the quality of their punching, along with how to incorporate good footwork to get in and out of range. This will enable the athlete to improve their quality of evasion techniques, while still being able to implement a high level of striking combinations.
There are many drills that can be performed on the focus mitts, and although they are mainly used for punching combinations, this is still a huge asset to have in the kick boxing game. Having good hands will ultimately set up an opponent for a kick in a real life competition match, and this is why it is imperative to improve in boxing fundamentals. A good trainer will always implement focus mitts in their training, and by enabling the athlete to throw a variety of different punching combinations, they will also be forced into defensive maneuvers. This will allow the athlete to duck under punches, or use different evasive techniques to block, parry, or move out of range of a strike before throwing counter punches back. This drill is all about timing, and accuracy, and all athletes can benefit highly from utilising this drill.
Drilling on the Thai pads, or the boxing bag is another great way to improve a striker's overall skill set. Using Thai pads is essential for the athlete to combine kicking techniques with their boxing moves. This is also extremely important for athletes that compete in Mixed Martial Arts, or in Muay Thai Boxing. Throwing variations of striking combos like a jab, a cross, and a low kick, or a jab, a cross, a hook, an uppercut, and a rear leg kick are easy to replicate, and athletes will gain significant increases in their power, and with their technique and fluency of punches. Thai pads are an iconic piece of equipment used in Muay Thai Boxing, as these incredibly conditioned athletes will utilise a wide variety of different skill based drills, which all incorporate a high amount of cardiovascular fitness and strength and conditioning. Drilling on the heavy bags are vitally important for an athlete to build comprehensive power within their punches, and kicks, and just performing basic combinations can achieve this.
There are many different kinds of drilling games that can be utilised in a hardcore striking Martial Art like kick boxing. Quite often strikers play sparring games, where they can look to pick a spot on the body like the shoulders, or the hips, and throw light and accurate punches to these chosen areas. This is a good way to work on the basic maneuvers, while still attempting to counter punch. These types of drills can also incorporate sprawling after each time an athlete receives a punch, especially when they are competing in Mixed Martial Arts. Athletes in the striking art will also work significantly against the wall, and this means to box against the wall pads, and attempt clinching techniques, and this is good if an athlete is a Muay Thai striker, or an MMA athlete. Utilising wall work can also be beneficial to someone that is looking to improve their self defense in a real life street application.
Fight conditioning is something that can only be achieved through consistency on the mats, and dedication to combat sports. There are four major aspects outside of skills training, and they are cardiovascular ability, muscular strength, muscular endurance, and the conditioning of an athlete's bones. Raising an athlete's level of cardio is extremely vital, and this can be done through many training systems like skipping, running, repetitive pad work, and shadow boxing. Building a much more comprehensive level of cardiovascular fitness is one of the most important aspects of any combat sports. Striking arts like Muay Thai kick boxing, and Mixed Martial Arts will especially rely on an extremely high fitness level, and this is due to the necessity of clinch work in Muay Thai, and the takedown aspect, and the ground game of MMA.
Conditioning an athlete's body for muscular strength, and muscular endurance is critical for having the ability to withstand multiple rounds, while still having enough power, and energy to damage an opponent. Striking arts like kick boxing use an extensive amount of energy, and athletes will need to have high levels of strength. Firstly to be able to match the intensity of their opponent, and secondly to administer the strength required to finish a fight. Building resilience inside of an athlete takes multiple sessions per week over a long period of time, and this is ultimately how an athlete can condition themselves. Kicking numerous times into the heavy bags, or the Thai pads will help condition an athlete's shins, and receiving multiple kicks and punches during training sparring sessions, will build a higher amount of resilience, giving the athlete the necessary requirements to become successful inside of the ring.
COMBINING ALL KICK BOXING ELEMENTS
There are a lot of different components to becoming professional in kick boxing, and any striking Martial Art takes the same amount of time, and energy. Usually athletes will break down each concept of the art, and master certain elements individually. This is a great way to improve every technical component involved within the striking game, but essentially all athletes need to learn how to bring it all together. Cohesion of all kick boxing elements can be daunting to a beginner of the art, but an athlete that has had continuous experience in training will begin to understand how the flow of striking goes. Aside from full contact sparring, shadow boxing is one of the most reputable ways to combine all the elements of kick boxing together into one proficient style. Using a non impactful way to practice form, and technique, along with speed and movement, is vital for improving within the sport, but also for achieving longevity.
Kick boxing, or other forms of striking can have a grueling impact on an athlete's body, so injury prevention methods become increasingly important. This is why strength and conditioning, cardiovascular improvement, along with all of the skill based training systems, are vital in cohesion with each other, and this is so an athlete can be best prepared for combat. This means they will have a strong body, and a high level of cardiovascular ability, which can also help the athlete to implement a more systematic regime of staying injury free. Using the right techniques, and being extremely fluent at them is something that shadow boxing can teach, and is another important way of staying safe, and achieving longevity within the striking art.
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