Learn self-defense moves while boosting endurance, building muscle tone, and burning calories
Kickboxing is a popular form of competitive fighting, but it really encompasses many different combat disciplines. Read on to learn more about this martial arts—and fitness—mainstay.
1. Kickboxing is many disciplines in one, incorporating moves and techniques from many martial arts. Punches, kicks, elbows, clinches, and takedowns are all fair game. As such, styles can vary widely among martial-arts purists, boxers, and fighters who work to cultivate a unique approach.
2. Its versatility translates well to fitness. Kickboxing balances upper- and lower-body flexibility with cardiovascular exercise, making for an effective full-body workout. Practitioners also get the benefit of learning self-defense techniques, getting a leg up on their peers who only know how to chuck a treadmill at an attacker.
3. It’s not that old. Kickboxing is quite popular in Thailand, which is also home to Muay Thai—a form of boxing, practiced as a regulated sport since the late 19th century, in which fighters don gloves and other pads. In 1966, a Japanese karate promoter became infatuated with Muay Thai—and particularly the full-contact striking that’s not allowed in karate—and saw an opportunity to blend the styles. He prepared three karate fighters to take on Muay Thai specialists, and the competition was fierce enough to inspire the birth, a few years later, of kickboxing as an organized sport.