Kickboxing: A Descendant of Martial Arts
Fighting sports, with the elements of rules and sportsmanship, have been around for millennia. Simply look at the number of ancient arenas and fighting pits that have been discovered, dating back to the oldest human cultures. But these days, popular fighting matches are about more than some quick bets on your favourite gladiators. From those old traditions come some of the most common and recognizable disciplines we see today, including kickboxing.
Where Does Kickboxing Come From?
In a previous post, we talked about the origins and forms of karate. As it turns out, that martial art is directly related, because it’s the original form that helped shape and influence kickboxing. Though it may seem like a natural offshoot of a fighting style – after all, kicks are more powerful than punches – it actually was not until the 1950s that the sport we now know as kickboxing began to take shape in Japan.
Drawing not only from traditional karate, but also from muay thai, a man named Tatsuo Yamada began outlining the forms of the new sport throughout the early 1960s. Soon, it took hold in students of both disciplines. As more people learned the rules of the sport, the first competitions and events were organized. By the 1980s, kickboxing was expanding around the world and had grown into North America and Europe. Moving back and forth in popularity since then, and with very broad scope of rules and styles, it is one of the most enduring schools of modern martial arts for people of all skill levels.
Rules of Kickboxing
There are many different styles and rule sets for kickboxing, and there are many international governing bodies for different styles of the sport. The bouts that most people are familiar with are generally based on full-contact karate, where the opponents fight through rounds until one of the fighters is knocked out or submits.
Usually, no specialized equipment or weapons are used aside from a mouth-guard, hand wrappings, and small other protective gear (i.e. light boots, helmets, shinpads, etc). The rules regarding low and high kicks, hits to knees or with elbows, and the use of spins are where most sub-disciplines differ – some allow plenty of freedom to fight, while others restrict strike zones to just the upper body and arms.
In many of these schools, each fighter must learn to be incredibly accurate when they make a move, be able to strike and retreat quickly, and get ready to react to their foe in an instant. As opposed to the more meditative nature of karate and kung fu, kickboxing emphasizes a faster pace with a higher focus on the immediate impact of kicks and punches.
Styles of Kickboxing
There are many sub- or closely related styles of kickboxing. Here are some of the main ones you can find around the world:
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Whatever your personal style may be, if you like to fight, chances are good that there’s a kickboxing genre for you. However, if you prefer something more holistic and meditative, you can’t go wrong with studying kung fu – and we just happen to know the perfect place to learn. Right here at Kung Fu for Life!
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