WHAT IS KICKBOXING?
There have been multiple forms of Martial Arts used in professional combat matches like MMA. The combination of striking and grappling has paved the way for a new hybrid version of combat sports athletes. Inside of the cage, athletes will use elements of Boxing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Wrestling, Judo, Muay Thai, and Karate. Striking arts are extremely important to the common Mixed Martial Artist, and having a formidable style of striking is pivotal in dictating how the fight will go. It can become increasingly hard for grapplers to close the distance on a world class striker, so the importance of striking for all Martial Artists becomes extremely significant.
What this article covers:
- Where Did Kick Boxing Originate From
- Different Forms of Kick Boxing
- How Popular Is Kick Boxing
- Can Anyone Train in Kick Boxing
- What Are the Benefits of Kick Boxing
- What Is the General Kick Boxing Form
Kick boxing arts like Karate, Taekwondo, Muay Thai, Savate, and Shoot Fighting are all exceptionally beneficial to a combat athlete. The act of using fists, and feet as a weapon can be extremely dangerous to an opponent, and with the high calibre of kick boxing training available these days, all combat athletes are becoming increasingly skilled within their own art forms. Kick boxing involves a high degree of skill, combined with extensive physical conditioning, and mental toughness. The evolution of kick boxing into a mainstream Martial Art form has gained worldwide notoriety, and with the rate of innovation within the striking community, kick boxing has room to grow and develop.
WHERE DID KICK BOXING ORIGINATE FROM
Kick boxing has been around for centuries as this brutal form of striking was well known throughout ancient Greece, and ancient India. The epic battles of pankration would incorporate grappling, along with many different styles of kicking, and punching, as athletes would compete in hand to hand combat matches. There were also other origins that date back to the thirteenth, and the fourteenth century where Siamese soldiers in Thailand, practiced their own form called Muay Boran, which eventually filtered into what we now know as Muay Thai boxing. These ancient styles of kick boxing have become legendary throughout the rise of Martial Arts in the modern era.
By the 1950's a Japanese Karate expert named Tatsuo Yamada, began testing the boundaries of combat sports. Competitions began between Muay Thai boxers, and Karate experts, and as they battled to see which art was more fluent, Tatsuo began developing a new style of Martial Arts. Japanese kick boxing became a combination of Karate and Muay Thai, and also with some other influences from Boxing, Savate, and Taekwondo. In the late 1960's kick boxing competitions took place in Osaka, Japan, before culminating into the first ever World Championships in 1974, held by the Professional Karate Association. From a historic viewpoint, kick boxing is widely considered as a hybrid Martial Art, and with the cohesion of various other styles of combat the popularity of the sport increased dramatically.
Throughout the 1970's kick boxing routines became extremely favourable to the public, and this was due to the abundance of Martial Arts movies on the big screen. Martial Artists like Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, Lieh Lo, and Sheng Fu all showcased dynamic kick boxing kicks during their rise to fame. This Martial Combat heavily influenced the generations to come, as kick boxing became synonymous with mental toughness, and physical superiority. Eventually kick boxing went on to contribute to the emergence of Mixed Martial Arts, and the UFC, and throughout the 1990’s and beyond, the rise of world class strikers grew exponentially.
DIFFERENT FORMS OF KICK BOXING
Kick boxing has many different forms, and one of the main versions is Karate. This ancient form of kick boxing dates back centuries, and was seen in feudal Japan, and ancient Chinese culture. It was developed from the indigenous Ryukyuan in the seventeenth century, who spent generations perfecting their artform. The modern form of Karate is known for its high quality of striking ability, and their expertise in spinning kicks, punches, knee strikes, and elbow strikes. Karate was first considered for the Summer Olympic Games in 2016, and was included for the first time in 2020. Karate is one of the most popular forms of combat as the World Karate Federation claims over one hundred million practitioners throughout the world.
One of the most formidable full contact forms of kick boxing is Muay Thai Boxing. This traditional sport derives from Thailand, and incorporates a brutal nature of hardcore striking impacts. Among using their fists, and their feet, a Muay Thai boxer will incorporate knee strikes, and elbow strikes from the clinch position. The Thai clinch is a neck tie that athletes will set up by cupping the back of an opponent's neck. This technique is used to control the posture of an opponent, as the Thai boxer will commonly set up hard and accurate knee, and elbow strikes. Muay Thai boxing is a highly professional style of Martial Arts that has become extremely popular all over the world. The brutality of the kick boxing moves are world renowned, and are used by many fighters in various forms of combat sports.
Another highly efficient form of kick boxing is the French foot fighting version called Savate. This Martial Art is more elegant in its nature, as it shares similarities with karate. The side on style of Savate is a proficient form of kick boxing combos, that incorporates an evasive foundation, combined with a dynamic style of fast punches and kicks. The art of Savate has been showcased across the globe with some of the world's most influential fighters like Erik Paulson, Christian M'Pumbu, and Cheick Kongo have all delivered an efficient, and exciting style of kick boxing to watch. Savate has played a part in the initial formation of Mixed Martial Arts in America, and continues to innovate and combine with other styles of Martial Arts.
Japanese kick boxing has become one of the most popular brands of striking Martial Arts across the globe. This form of combat sports was heavily influenced by Seidokaikan Karate, and through the popularisation of this form of Japanese combat, the K-1 organisation rose to great heights. Some of the world's most infamous strikers Like Bob Sapp, Masaaki Satake, Hong man Choi, Alistair Overeem, Buakaw, and Mirko CroCop have lit up the stage in the Japanese K-1 organisation. This form of combat is slightly different to other well known styles of kick boxing, as this full contact form of combat includes striking to any part of their opponent's body. K-1 has also recently added the use of the Thai clinch, and other dangerous strikes like elbows, and knees, as they look to compete against a growing interest in Muay Thai boxing.
During the 1970's there was a massive influx of kick boxing techniques that filtered the airways for many upcoming athletes. Combat sport was beginning to become popular throughout Japan, and America, as iconic athletes like Karl Gotch, and Antonio Inoki began teaching different styles of grappling, which was used as a basis for early Mixed Martial Arts style. Bart Vale, was an American athlete with a background in professional wrestling, and a champion on the Japanese Pro Wrestling circuit. Bart would go on to develop his own hybrid style of combat, which he described as shoot fighting. This style incorporated elements of Shoot Wrestling, Japanese Jujitsu, Muay Thai boxing, and Kenpo. Bart also founded the International Shoot fighting Association, as he persevered to promote his style as a combat sport.
Another highly competitive form of kick boxing is called Sanda, which was formerly known as Sanshou. This Martial Art is a full contact form of Chinese kick boxing that was originally developed by the Chinese military, and was based on the traditional practices of Kung Fu, combined with more modernised fighting techniques. The combination of boxing, and kick boxing into one highly successful art form, is why Sanshou was one of the most feared Martial Arts in existence. This Art form incorporates close range hand to hand combat in an extremely fast, and direct manner, which involves punches, kicks, elbows, and knees, along with Wrestling takedowns, and Judo throws. Sanda became a competitive event that was developed by the military, so their soldiers could test their hand to hand combat skills in a real life situational manner. As the art evolved over years, extra rules were put in place, which took more of the brutality out of the sport.
HOW POPULAR IS KICK BOXING
Kick boxing is one of the most popular forms of combat in the world today. Grappling Martial Arts like Wrestling, Judo, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu can be very claustrophobic, and commonly people are uncomfortable by other people intruding on their personal space. This is why striking Martial Arts are more mainstream, because people can train in a kick boxing art without the fear of being smothered by an opponent within their personal space. As a result of kick boxing Martial Arts, and its popularity throughout the big screens of Hollywood, people all over the world began lining up to learn some of these intricate kicking styles that have infiltrated our way of life. Once kick boxing was introduced to western society, the influence it had over further Art forms like Mixed Martial Arts became increasingly important.
Nowadays the popularity of kick boxing has become a worldwide phenomenon, as countries all over the world are starting to produce world class strikers in all forms of combat. In America alone, nine percent of Americans, which translates into roughly thirty million Americans, all say that kick boxing is a part of their everyday workout routines. A further thirteen percent of Americans say they would like to try out kick boxing one day. This means that in the future there could be as many as sixty million plus people in America alone, practising kick boxing, making this combat sport one of the most popular styles worldwide. Even the modern day Mixed Martial Artists will use comprehensive skills in kick boxing, as they look to implement their will on their opponents inside of the cage.
CAN ANYONE TRAIN IN KICK BOXING
Kick boxing is an iconic form of Martial Combat that does take hard work, dedication, perseverance, and consistency to become proficient in. This is in terms of becoming a world class athlete, and for most people they are really only looking for an exciting way to stay fit, and increase their level of self defense. Any person can train in kick boxing, because the art form does not have to be real life competitive sparring. In a striking Martial Art there really is no opponent, because each athlete will be training against their own technique. This means that anyone can train, from children all the way through to elderly people, and because of the dynamic nature, everybody that trains in kick boxing will build a proficient system of striking, coupled with a more enhanced ability for strength and conditioning.
Of course to become a world class striker, or a professional athlete that competes in K-1, or Mixed Martial Arts, will need to have special talents, an enhanced athleticism, and an extremely tough mental fortitude. Not everyone can train to this standard, which means becoming a high level professional athlete is not on the cards for everybody. The fact remains that kick boxing can be utilised just for fun, and fitness, as people from all walks of life can practice punching, and kicking form on the boxing bag, into the focus mitts, or even just shadow boxing by themselves in their own home workout area. Kick boxing promotes a healthy and active lifestyle, where people can build a greater cardiovascular ability, increase their overall core strength, and learn how to sharpen up their striking ability, which can only help them for self defense purposes.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF KICK BOXING
Training in kick boxing can offer athletes some extensive benefits, which can only help them to become a more capable athlete, and Martial Artist. The physical benefits include a greater cardio respiratory endurance, improved strength and conditioning, and many skills based benefits like improved balance, a greater range of flexibility, better hand and eye coordination, quicker reflexes, an improved agility base, a more fluent form of striking ability, more increased power within their punches and kicks, and a resilience like no other. All of these attributes that will be gained from kick boxing are highly beneficial, and will help athletes become more capable strikers, with a greater ability to last longer in a real life fight situation. There are also a range of mental health benefits, which is why people that suffer from depression, anxiety, or various forms of mental health conditions, will train extensively in kick boxing Martial Arts. Becoming a more capable fighter will help an athlete gain self esteem, a greater sense of confidence, it will also give the athlete a sense that they have accomplished something, and all while making friends, and releasing any built up frustrations they may have, which will result in a happier and healthier lifestyle.
WHAT IS THE GENERAL KICK BOXING FORM
There are many different styles of kick boxing, like American kick boxing, Japanese kick boxing, Muay Thai kick boxing, French kick boxing, and even various forms of Karate. The general form of kick boxing starts with different ways to utilise a kick boxing stance, and in combat sports there are two main stances that athletes will need to learn, the orthodox stance, and the southpaw stance. The orthodox stance is where an athlete will stand with their left foot forward, and their right foot backwards, with their left hand forward as the jab, and their right hand cocked back as their power punch. The southpaw stance is basically the same stance in reverse, and is commonly used by left handers, or athletes that are looking to mix up their form. Muay Thai boxing is slightly different from kick boxing, as they will commonly stand more squared up to their opponent, and that is because they are looking to execute Thai clinches so they can deliver elbow, and knee strikes. The kick boxing stance is more of a side on Karate stance, and this is because of their ability to deliver highly dynamic kicking techniques.
Kick boxing is not just purely about kicks, hence the term boxing in the arts title. All kick boxing arts utilise boxing combinations like jabs, crosses, hooks, uppercuts, and overhand punches. Building a reputable kick boxing arsenal involves diving deep into boxing footwork, which will open up different ways that athletes can set up their opponents with punches. What makes kick boxing so powerful is apart from the surprise element of high calibre boxing combinations, athletes can utilise a variety of devastating kicking techniques. The most common kicks are front kicks, rear body kicks, switch lead kicks, and roundhouse kicks, but due to the intricacies of kick boxing techniques there are even more complicated kicks that are highly impactful. Athletes can utilise spinning back kicks, question mark kicks, spinning hook kicks, cartwheel kicks, and axe kicks. Building a formidable system of highly intense kicking actions will make an athlete extremely tough, giving them a greater sense of confidence, and accomplishment.
Enjoyed what you just read? Explore these related topics:
- Can You Kick in Boxing?
- Kickboxing Drills
- Kickboxing Tips
- How to Start Kickboxing
- Kickboxing Circuits
- Kick Boxing vs Muay Thai
- Kick Boxer vs Marine
- Kickboxing vs Boxing
- Kick Boxing vs MMA
- Taekwondo vs Boxing
- Shadow Boxing Combos
- Shadow Boxing Techniques
- Muay Thai Shadowboxing
- Best Boxing Footwork
- Boxing for Beginners at Home